He had me at Hubie Brown.
I love Hubie Brown. For the better part of my NBA-observing life, Brown has been enhancing my experience, usually as an announcer dropping heavy doses of NBA knowledge with a unique style that makes listening a pleasure. But Brown is first and foremost a coach of the game, so Frank Vogel looked to Brown for a coaching blue-print to simplify the playbook and get his team to buy into the basic concepts of defending, rebounding and out-working your opponent.
So while I wasn't buying everything Vogel was selling in his post-game presser last night -- and he was selling hard -- I bit hook, line and sinker for his method of creating a sudden change in attitude and execution for the Pacers. Keeping things simple and playing to the strengths of the talent he has on the roster.
Vogel went over the top pumping up that talent after the game, but cutting through the fluff, the key points of change are interesting, if not exciting. Attacking the glass and the rim. Emphasis on good shots. The Pacers only shot 14 3-pointers last night and went to the free throw line 43 times. They only shot 40% from the field but rolled to a win, not forced to win or die by the perimeter shot.
While it seems like common sense, it hasn't been so common around the Fieldhouse the past few years. The Pacers still have many miles to go on their trek toward the playoffs and more importantly, consistent effort and execution to match what we saw last night. But Vogel has a road map and the Pacers appear to be on the right path to get there.
After the jump, Vogel's press conference transcribed including his comments on Hubie Brown's influence.
Very,very proud of our guys. 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. We only shot 40% tonight but we got to the free throw line 43 times, we kept them off the line, they only shot 22 (Fts). We out-rebounded them by almost 20 again. This is the new identity of our team. Great effort, very proud of our guys.
On effort from bench:
We have great depth. I sat up here at my opening press conference and I said believe in every guy on our roster, 1-15 and it's never a shock to me when our bench comes in and goes on a run. Specifically, Tyler Hansbrough. Nobody wants to play against Tyler Hansbrough! Nobody! Talk about blood and guts, nobody wants to play against that kid. That's fun.
Paul George, not a great shooting night but you wouldn't know it if you didn't look at the stat sheet because he's all over the place. Dahntay Jones, quality minutes. An athlete, defender. Jeff Foster, nobody wants to play against Jeff Foster. A.J. Price, good enough to be a starting point guard in this league.
That's what we got from our bench. James Posey gave us some good minutes in the first half when we needed him, when we needed to go small because they were a zone and we needed to attack the zone.
On three game winning streak:
This is a new team, a new beginning. Fans in Indiana, Indianapolis should be excited. This is going to be a special end of the year. Jump on board, come out and see us.
Mood of team, difference from earlier in year:
Optimism. Positive energy. Enthusiasm, hard work, blue collar, smash-mouth basketball. Old school basketball. I'm the youngest coach in the league, but we're an old school team now. We're simple. We win the war in the trenches with defensive rebounding. I understand that the Portland Trail Blazers are banged up. Their coach is phenomenal. How they're 26-24 with all of the injuries they have, I have no idea. It is just a credit to coach McMillan and the staff that they have. They do a great job.
On old school approach:
One of the guys that inspired this change for me is Hubie Brown when he was with the Memphis Grizzlies. Everyone said, "They're hiring this old guy to come in and he's been out of the league for 10-12 years or something like that." I remember playing them, the first time we played them, I'm responsible for the other team's calls and I'm looking at their play sheet and they got about 5 plays and they're the simplest plays you can run, no action to them. Just spacing, simple pick n' rolls, simple post up. And what did he do with that team? Took them right to the playoffs and they were a factor every year that he was there. That team influenced my approach to this team.
Showing Rocky II scenes:
Who told you that? Twitter told you that. It (the game) had nothing to do with Rocky. (pause) I'd like to keep that with out team. It had to do with the fear that can be generated by a relentless underdog. That was the clip I showed and I showed the clip of Apollo Creed's trainer trying to talk him out of fighting Rocky again. He looked him in the eye and said, "I seen you beat that man like I've never seen no man be beat before and that man kept coming after you."
No matter who we play, up 20, down 20, tied, we're going to keep coming after them. When we get in the playoffs, the final week or two of the season all of the one seeds, Boston, Miami, Orlando, they're not going to want to play this basketball team. That what's this was about.
On Granger's game:
One word: efficient. We don't take bad shots here any more. I took Paul George out of the game in the fourth quarter when it was decided because he had Tyler Hansbrough over in the post and he took a bad, challenged three with about 17 seconds on the shot clock. Danny doesn't take bad shots anymore, we don't take bad shots anymore. We attack the paint and exercise patience for great shots.
On rebounding effort:
Tyler Hansbrough and Jeff Foster. Nothing I'm doing. We have great rebounders on the court. Roy Hibbert is a great rebounder. Josh McRoberts, great rebounder. Playing that big makes Danny Granger a great small forward rebounder. Personnel. We have size, strength and athleticism. We're going to be a great rebounding team.