FanPost

Pacers hire Popeye Jones as an Assistant Coach

USA TODAY Sports

[From the FanPosts, C2975 has the goods on the Pacers hiring Popeye Jones to round out the coaching staff. - TL]

At the end of the 2012-2013 season, the Pacers had two assistant coaching vacancies to fill. Brian Shaw, as most expected, landed a headed coaching gig with the Denver Nuggets. Meanwhile, the Spurs finalized an agreement with two year tenured, Pacers assistant coach, Jim Boylen. Upon Shaw’s departure, Frank Vogel was quoted as saying, “I think it’s important to have a former player or two on your bench to share some of the experiences that our guys are going through.” As such, the Pacers moved very quickly to hire former player, coach, and Team USA assistant, Nate McMillan. McMillan will likely bring a comparable skillset to the coaching staff as Brian Shaw. He is a 12 year NBA veteran, has coached over 900 games, and won 3 Olympic Gold Medals coaching future Hall of Famers alongside Coach Krzyzewski. Certainly, Dan Burke will remain as the defensive coordinator. So what type of coach would Vogel choose to fill the shoes of Jim Boylen? An analytics guru looking to make his way up the ranks? A former NBA coach looking for redemption? A former college coach looking to break through to the NBA?

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, the answer to that question is another former player. Popeye Jones will be joining Frank Vogel’s coaching staff with the Indiana Pacers. Jones has 11 years of playing experience beginning in the 1993-1994 season and ending with the conclusion of the 2003-2004 season. Of course, it helps that Jones is not a coaching rookie. Jones was hired by the Brooklyn Nets as an assistant to Avery Johnson. When the Nets decided to cut ties with Johnson, he then joined the coaching staff of interim coach, P.J. Carlesimo. After the Nets hired Jason Kidd this summer, Kidd looked to assemble his own staff, thus leaving Jones free to join the Indiana Pacers.

As a player, Jones played on 6 different NBA squads. Over his career as a power forward, he averaged 7 ppg and 7.4 rpg. Ironically, while playing with the Dallas Mavericks, Jones once grabbed 28 rebounds in a game against the Indiana Pacers on January 9, 1996. From that performance, Jones still holds the Mavericks record for most boards in a game. Nevertheless, what this hiring most symbolizes is that Coach Vogel and the Pacers front office truly value having a former player who can help develop talent and connect with the experience of both, being in, as well as, playing in, the NBA. With all of the assistant coaching vacancies filled, Vogel’s freshly assembled staff is now ready to focus on the upcoming season and the goal of winning an NBA Championship.

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