Posted on: July 5, 2011 4:17 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2011 4:41 pm
Posted by Royce Young
It only took about three months too long, but the Indiana Pacers will introduce Frank Vogel as their next coach at a press conference Wednesday.
Reportedly, Vogel signed for three years with the team, with the third being a team option.
Interim coach after Jim O'Brien was fired earlier in the season, Vogel helped the Pacers finish strong. They went 20-18 with Vogel in charge and pushed the top-seeded Bulls in the opening round of the playoffs, eventually bowing out in five games.
What was the hold-up, though, in naming him the head man?
Management -- read, Larry Bird -- was concerned with Vogel's ability to oversee a locker room and maintain the respect of his players. According to a report, things like punctuality and discipline slipped after Vogel took over. As a result, he targeted strong-minded assistants, one being Brian Shaw formerly of the Lakers.
Vogel, if you'll recall, is now officially the league's youngest coach at 37.
He seems to be a natural fit for the Pacers, and the team obviously plays hard for him. It's a wise move for the Pacers to retain Vogel. There are other good alternatives, but clearly the team is willing to play for him, and continuity is always a good thing, if it's an option.
When he took over the job in February, Vogel said, "We're changing the identity of our basketball team dramatically. We are a power-post team, blood and guts, old school, smash-mouth team that plays with size, strength, speed, athleticism. We attack the basket."
The Pacers did exactly that, playing a bit more uptempo while also integrating Roy Hibbert in the post. It was an effective strategy and was a big part of the team finishing well.
The Pacers were also interested in Mike Brown and Dwane Casey, but both of those found jobs with other teams. Who knows if they turned down the Pacers or vice versa. What we do know is that Vogel is officially in charge of the team he seemed to connect well with last season.
It's a little funny to me too that Vogel got this job. Back in January when the Pacers were considering canning O'Brien, they hesitated because they didn't feel a good interim replacement was on the current staff. They went ahead with firing O'Brien and then promoted Vogel, a young and raw assistant. He did well, got the team to buy into a system, play hard and make a playoff push.
And now he's the team's full-time coach. Sometimes, the best option is right under your nose.
Posted on: June 29, 2011 3:10 pm
Edited on: June 29, 2011 3:48 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Some are saying the 2010-11 NBA season might've very well been the best in league history. History. What better way to top that off than with a debilitating lockout where players and owners haggle over money? Momentum!
But despite all the depressing lockout stuff, there's no doubt this past season was pretty special. It all started with a wild free agency period that was capped off with a one-hour special and a preseason celebration party in South Beach. It finished in that same place but instead with the Mavericks being the team that took their talents there.
It really was a pretty remarkable season. The NBA grabbed its highest ratings since the Jordan Era, had an amazing All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles, saw the rise of a bundle of young players that will carry the league to great places over the next 10 years and had polarizing teams and figures that had people talking constantly. I don't know that 2010-11 was the best ever, but for sure, it was really darn good.
And what better way to send it off than arbitrarily trying to wrap it all together in a list of 10 neato plays? There's no better way, that's what.
There were some pretty difficult omissions. Like Paul Millsap's 11 points in 28 seconds. Or Emeka Okafor's crazy buzzer-beater. Or that one Brian Cardinal thing he did that one time. Like any top 10, there were some tough cuts and I'm sure you'll disagree. Regardless, here are my top 10 moments from the season and 10 really good reasons why a lockout would totally suck.
10. Touchdown, Wade to LeBron
LeBron was a wide receiver in high school at St. Vincent - St. Mary. But I don't think Dwyane Wade was ever a quarterback. This play is pretty much what people were dreaming about the second LeBron announced he was teaming up with Wade. Two incredibly skilled players with stupid amounts of ability hooking up for a ridiculous play. Hate the Heat all you want, but you know you loved this play.
9. Taj has a moment, or two
It started with one of the ultimate posters of the season. Two hands, right over Dwyane Wade. It was so dirty that even Wade's children were giving him grief over it. Then he went ahead and followed that up with a follow-up finish in punctuate Chicago's Game 1 Eastern Finals win. Every time I watch these two dunks it makes me want to scream like I'm Carlos Boozer.
8. Love sees 30-30
Really, the top Kevin Love highlight from this season is probably his failed high five with Wesley Johnson. But I'll just recognize Love here with his second best moment of the season -- the first 30-30 game in, well, about 30 years. Love humliated the Knicks with a 31-point, 31-rebound effort doing something that no one has done since Moses Malone. Just look at that again: 31 points, 31 rebounds. Love was pretty unreal all season but that is just really outlandish.
7. The game that never ends
With the stakes high, the Thunder and Grizzlies needed 63 minutes of basketball to settle Game 4 of the Western Semifinals. Memphis led the series 2-1 after Oklahoma City blew a big fourth quarter lead in Game 3. What's crazy is that Memphis led by 18 in the first half of this game.
But the Thunder held a seven-point fourth quarter lead and finally lost it after Mike Conley hit an impossible 3 over Kendrick Perkins. Then Grievis Vasquez doubled down on the insanity by dropping another game-tying 3 in the first overtime. Eventually Kevin Durant and the Thunder wore down Memphis and took the game 133-123 and used that to top the Grizzlies in seven to move on to the Western Finals.
6. Indiana starts the third 20 for 20
How does 54 points in a half sound? Pretty good, right? Well, what about 54 in a quarter? That sounds like a pretty good number for an entire game if you're the Butler Bulldogs.
The Pacers started the third quarter against Denver 20-20 and would've had a perfect quarter had Mike Dunleavy not missed with a couple seconds remaining. For a team though to hit 20 consecutive shots? An entire team? If I'm George Karl and the Nuggets, at that point I'm not even guarding them just to see how many in a row they can hit.
5. Reke, from pretty far out
It looked like O.J. Mayo had just hit a nasty backbreaker for Memphis against the Kings. The Grizzlies went up one with 1.5 seconds left and Sacramento didn't have any timeouts left. No bother for Tyreke though as he launched from behind the halfcourt line and drilled a game-winner as time expired.
Still though, the most impressive part of this is the sixth sense from Donte Greene. He's entirely on the court already celebrating before the shot dropped. What would he have done if it had missed? I guess he just knew it wouldn't.
4. Coming back is easy to do for Dallas
Worst thing you can do: Put the Mavericks in a double-digit hole in the fourth quarter. Dallas had already pulled off two impressive comebacks against the Thunder and Lakers, but its Game 2 triumph over the Heat is really what won the Mavs an NBA title. Trailing by 15 points late after a Dwyane Wade 3, the Mavs turned it on with Dirk scoring the team's final nine points in the last two minutes to steal a game in Miami and probably a trophy right out from under LeBron and the Heat.
3. I believe that I just saw a man fly
Don't get in J.R. Smith's way. He won't just dunk over you, he'll dunk through you. With two hands.
2. Durant, Haywood and oh my goodness
Magic Johnson said this was the greatest postseason dunk ever. And considering the circumstances -- Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals -- he might have a point. Durant's Thunder were off to a bit of a slow start against the Mavs and faced falling into an 0-2 hole. But Durant woke up the team by throwing down right over Brendan Haywood.
Durant picked up a technical after the dunk for having some words for Haywood, but if I were the officials, I'd have just kicked Durant and everyone else out, because he basically turned out the lights right there.
1. Blake Griffin
Take your pick. Over Mozgov. Over Gallinari. Over a car. Oops from Baron, oops from Bledsoe, oops from Mo. The 2010-11 regular season was really kind of the season of Griffin and how he took over the world with YouTube highlights. No player has made people buzz quite like Griffin. Night to night, you had no idea what might be coming. When Blake Mania was reaching its peak in January, I think we all thought he might dunk over Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol if Gasol was standing on Bynum's shoulders.
I still don't think we've seen the ultimate Blake Griffin highlight. And when it comes next year, that just means we'll have 2011-12's best moment. If there is one. Oh please for the love of James Naismith, let there be one.
Tags: Blake Griffin, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Dwyane Wade, Indiana Pacers, J.R. Smith, Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, LeBron James, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves, Oklahoma City Thunder, Sacramento Kings, Taj Gibson, Tyreke Evans, Video
Posted on: June 28, 2011 10:24 am
Edited on: June 28, 2011 11:02 am
Posted by Matt Moore
Larry Bird's decision to return to the Pacers came as a mild surprise. Bird's been signaling his way out of town, out of public life, really, for quite some time. He's never much liked the spotlight and has been talking about not wanting to do his job as president of the Pacers forever. Recent comments have made it clear it's not his intention to stick around.
But when push came to shove, with the coaching situation providing instability and the roster at a pivotal point with money coming off the books headed into a new CBA and with the team wanting to build off its success this season, Bird decided to stay.
Before you get lulled into thinking Bird may be swung into staying a while based off how "enjoyable" he said last year was, though, take a gander at what he told the Boston Globe:
“It’s a handshake deal,’’ said Bird, who will be honored tomorrow at TD Garden as part of the Sports Museum’s The Tradition. “I don’t want a [long-term] contract.’’ But they both know a year isn’t a very long time.via Larry Bird may look to slow the pace - The Boston Globe.
Bird has been in the Pacers' front office for eight years. It's no wonder he's getting burned out. In reality, you can tell part of Bird is frustrated by missing what it was like to step out on the floor and knock down the shot, grab the rebound and make the pass himself.
That's the hardest part for legends turned decision-makers: watching someone else try and execute what they know how to do.
The Pacers have a fast, young point guard and a versatile forward, who at the very least will fetch a hefty price on the market. They've got a center with upside (even if he's frustratingly passive), and a number of talented forwards and wings like Paul George, Tyler Hansbrough, and now George Hill to add to the puzzle.
And with a new core being developed, maybe it is time for some new blood in Indiana. Larry Bird's earned a real retirement.
Posted on: June 23, 2011 9:07 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2011 1:02 am
Posted by Matt Moore
Update 12:45 a.m.: Terms of the deal announced also include the rights to Davis Bertans, the 42nd pick, and the rights to a pick from 2005 unlikely to ever head to the NBA, both headed to the Spurs. The Spurs essentially received two draft picks and a foreign prospect for George Hill. Not bad.
CBSSports.com's Jeff Goodman reports that the Spurs have acquired the 15th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, Kawhi Leonard, for George Hill.
The Spurs had been actively trying to trade into the lottery, and wound up with a lottery-quality pick without even needing it to be in the lottery. Leonard is an athletic three that allows them to move Richard Jefferson for quarters on the dollar, and reload with an athletic forward who can rebound, score, and defend and who is ready to contribute now. He's got polish, ability, and resolve. He was underrated coming into the season, underrated coming into the draft, and fell all the way to the Pacers at 15.
The Pacers get a legit combo guard to play the two in George Hill. Brandon Rush has not shown that he can play consistently at that spot. Paul George can operate at the small forward position, and provide defense in relief of Danny Granger, who is also rumored to be on the trade block. Hill can handle point guard duties if called on (though with Darren Collison and A.J. Price the Pacers aren't hurting for that) and will get to focus on offense for once after being asked to do supplementary things in San Antonio.
Once again, the Spurs come out looking shrewd and in command. Leonard's a great pick-up for a great price, but you have to think the Spurs will go guard later in the draft to replace their depth.
Posted on: June 23, 2011 5:49 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2011 6:06 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Brian Shaw was supposed to be first in line to succeed Phil Jackson as head coach of the Lakers. That didn't happen, as Mike Brown was handed the job. The question then was, what's to become of Shaw, who is considered a rising coaching star?
According to the Indianapolis Star, he's set to become the Pacers "associate head coach."
Of course that's just a fancy name for an assistant, but what's so interesting here is that the Pacers still don't officially have a head coach yet. Frank Vogel is expected to get the position eventually, but that's contingent on Vogel putting together a good assistant staff. At least that's what Larry Bird has said recently.
Shaw isn't the most experienced guy in the world, but he's highly respected. One of the supposed issues with hiring Vogel was keeping control of the team as a disciplinarian and Bird wanted Vogel to have a couple assistants that think that way. I don't know if Shaw is exactly that, but he definitely makes the staff stronger.
Shaw will be a head coach at some point. It's obviously his goal. Who knows, maybe that job will come in Indiana if he replaces Vogel. The team hasn't settled on anything quite yet, but I'm sure it'll likely be Vogel. But if things don't go well, the job could easily becomes Shaw's in a hurry.
Posted on: June 21, 2011 11:06 am
Edited on: June 21, 2011 11:15 am
Posted by Royce Young
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com wrote yesterday that if the Timberwolves were to trade the No. 2 overall pick, they'd have to be "blown away" by an offer. Well according to Yahoo! Sports, they got another offer. Does this one blow anyone away?
Reportedly, the Pacers offered big man Roy Hibbert and their No. 15 pick to Minnesota in exchange for the No. 2 pick, which would've been used on Derrick Williams. The Wolves were not blown away and turned that one down.
Wise move, David Kahn. Hibbert doesn't necessarily give you a real building block to success, especially when you consider you're giving up Williams, a pretty quality talent, in the process.
Interesting though that the Pacers offered Hibbert. The Indiana center made some huge strides in his game last season and at 7-3, is the kind of big man most teams crave. But he's inconsistent and sometimes fades out of games and gets in foul trouble. Not exactly worth the No. 2 pick.
But if the Pacers would've taken Williams, that tells me they're also interested in maybe moving Danny Granger. Williams and Granger are similar players playing similar positions. Keepign Granger might've stunted Williams' development which means Granger could've been dealt and some of the Pacers cap space opened up.
Really, that's a much more reasonable deal anyway. Hibbert, Granger and the No. 15 pick for Minnesota's No. 2 pick. Who says no there? The Pacers are probably giving up too much, but considering they want to clear cap space, that would get done in this deal. Now that deal might've blown them away.
Posted on: June 17, 2011 6:51 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2011 6:56 pm
BYU guard Jimmer Fredette has reportedly been invited to the green room for the 2011 NBA Draft. Posted by Ben Golliver.
Jimmer Fredette apparently isn't all hype.
The much ballyhooed guard was a national sensation as a senior at BYU, but many questioned how his game and physical tools would translate to the NBA level.
The early indications are that Fredette will translate at the lottery-pick level.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Fredette has been extended an invite to the green room for next week's 2011 NBA Draft.
Former Brigham Young guard Jimmer Fredette has been invited to the famed green room for the 2011 NBA Draft, which is scheduled next Thursday in Newark, N.J.A green room invite isn't a total guarantee that you'll be picked in the first half of the first round, but those invites aren't handed out lightly.
This news will certainly fuel speculation as to where Fredette will land. Teams that have reported interest in him include the Sacramento Kings at No. 7, the Utah Jazz at No. 12, the Phoenix Suns at No. 13 and the Indiana Pacers at No. 15.
At this point, given all the buzz surrounding his draft workouts, it would be very difficult to see him falling past the Pacers, and the public pressure for the Jazz to take him at No. 12 is immense.
Posted on: June 9, 2011 8:09 pm
Edited on: June 9, 2011 8:23 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Quietly, the Indiana Pacers have been searching for a head coach. That's kind of been overlooked with all the other openings as well as the fact it's kind of assumed that last year's interim coach Frank Vogel would essentially be given the official head coach title.
And that could finally be happening soon. According to Yahoo! Sports, the Pacers are close to reaching a long-term agreement that would make Vogel their coach.
No final decision has been reached, but sources said most of the hurdles have been cleared for Vogel to be offered a multi-year contract in the near future.The Pacers finished strong under Vogel, who became the interim coach after Jim O'Brien was fired earlier in the season. Indiana went 20-18 with Vogel in charge and pushed the top-seeded Bulls in the opening round of the playoffs, eventually bowing out in five games.
However, management is concerned with Vogel's ability to oversee a locker room and maintain the respect of his players. According to the report, things like punctuality and discipline slipped when Vogel took over. His response to that critique has been to go after strong-minded assistants like Porter and Bickerstaff. Vogel, if you'll recall, is the league's youngest coach at 37.
He seems to be a natural fit for the Pacers, and the team obviously plays hard for him. It'd be a wise move for the Pacers to retain Vogel. There are other good alternatives, but clearly the team is willing to play for him, and continuity is always a good thing, if it's an option.