JOB did so many things as a coach that made absolutely NO sense. His coaching style, substitution patterns, timeouts, game management (especially his end of game mgmt) was just too atrocious on so many occasions over the past 3.5 years. I don’t know HOW Larry Bird didn’t fire JOB at the end of last year. It was SO obvious to even casual basketball fans that JOB didn’t know HOW to manage a typical NBA game and that he had LOST this team!!! It just seemed that JOB couldn’t ‘deviate’ from HIS system and/or couldn’t modify HIS system to the talented basketball players that Larry Bird had assembled for him to coach. It also seemed that he had ‘favorites’ and played non-athletic players way too many minutes over his more athletic (albeit younger) players.
For most Indy fans, it was embarrassing to SEE a Pacer team (with it’s storied history of superior black athletes that won ABA Championships) playing 3-4 non-athletic guys at one time in many games over the past few years. Mike Dunleavy had also appeared to be arrogant due to his ‘veteran’ status and familiarity with JOB’s system (even though he couldn’t stop ANYONE on defense and looked mostly like a bench player). Yes, he had ONE game whereas he scored ‘lights-out’ and made all Pacer fans proud that night against Denver. But, he was and still IS a one-dimensional player. Mike is a player that you give ‘more’ minutes ONLY if he has it going ‘offensively’. Even casual fans know that Mike will always be one of our weak spots on defense that our opponents will look to exploit at every opportunity.
Refreshingly, Frank Vogel substituted in his first game as HC the way JOB should have been substituting the past 3.5 yrs. He gave more minutes to our young studs and kept the young guys in the game instead of substituting for them (as JOB had done even when the young guys had it going). Frank’s philosophy will be if the young guys are making mistakes, they will be (at least) making them while playing hard. Paul George and Tyler Hansbrough and Roy HIbbert, and Darren Collison proved tonite that they can play at a high level despite making mistakes (i.e. turnovers or defensive lapses) like Danny Granger and Mike Dunleavy make themselves. As PG mentioned in tonite’s Post Game interviews, he just needed to learn what works in the NBA and what doesn’t. He now knows that he has to shoot mid-range shots before he attempts any 3pt shots. Any shooter (from 5th Grade up) knows this statement to be true. You have to shoot (and make) a few mid-range shots first to get your rhythm. But, JOB had attempted to park him on the 3pt line from jump street and he couldn’t adjust to this new concept of how he had always shot the basketball. He also didn’t look like the same guy we had ALL seen in college and during preseason.
And what happened with playing the extremely talented Lance Stephenson. He had this big, strong, young, 6’5” body like Oscar Robertson, had a nice shooting stroke in preseason, looked extremely competitive on the basketball court, and had most Pacer fans excited (drooling) about the upcoming NBA Season. Instead of seeing Lance on the court competing night-in and night-out against other NBA teams, we haven’t seen him at all and were told that his defense stunk. Say what? You mean to tell me that Mike Dunleavy plays better defense than Lance Stephenson plays or could play after a few weeks of tutoring by our coaching staff or after playing in a few live games against regular NBA players. C’mon…..what a freaking joke and waste of athletic talent sitting ‘inactive’ every single game this year!!! This alone….turned me OFF completely to JOB and the current Pacer organization!!!
Hopefully, it changes now with Frank Vogel!!!