Instead of a classic press conference to introduce the new coaching staff, the Indiana Pacers had an informal media session which included a special live edition of Pacers Crate on Pacers.com. So Conrad Brunner and Mark Boyle chatted up the coaches and/or killed time (it really was live) in entertaining fashion.
In doing so, we learned a few things about the coaching staff that have nothing to do with basketball. First and foremost, Jim Boylen was not part of the press session, apparently not quick signed, sealed and delivered yet, although Frank Vogel downplayed the technicality so much it doesn't appear to mean he's had a change of heart.
Other key nuggets of information from the Crate:
- Brian Shaw considers himself computer illiterate and will not be bothering the PR staff for updated statistics in the wee hours of the morning.
- Dan Burke once coached football and has been compared to Clint Eastwood's character in Gran Torino for his no-nonsense style on the court. He also could be mistaken for Ed Harris.
- Speaking of movies, Frank Vogel does a mean Karate Kid "Crane" pose which he demonstrated by facing off with Boyle just after saying, "Am I really doing this?" Yep, and he did Ralph Machio proud staring down Boyle's Crane which I believe he insists was his signature dance move back in the day, well before Karate Kid swiped it.
- Also, Mark Boyle offered to spend his offseason/lockout free time doing any job from garbage collector to brain surgery. You just have to ask.
Oh, they did talk about actual basketball coaching issues. Check out more of those comments in paraphrased form after the jump.Here are some interesting bits of info in paraphrased form that may jump in and out of first person context.
On joining th Pacers: I'm excited to be here, place I want to be. I know Indiana is a basketball hot bed and basketball is appreciated from youth level up.
On Lakers situation:Goes to show, in this wacky business that your never know what is going to happen. Nothing was promised nor did I expect anything because every coach would be interested in that job. I had a gread opportunity to learn from a great coach in Phil Jackson. They made the choice they made and I'm happy with the choice I made.
Other options: I had other options, but I have a long-standing relationship with Larry Bird and have been in communication with him a lot. Feels like everything has come full circle for me. I like this team and how this young team finished off last season and look forward to working with them.
Role here: No specific role assigned, jack-of-all trades, whatever needs to be done I will do. Everyone will be hands on from film work, player development and game planning.
No one to coach with lockout: That's unfortunate but it will enable me to familiarize myself with the players and the style of play used here.
Nothing like Crate out in Hollywood, but so far so good.
First appearance on Crate, but he has been with Pacers for 14 years as an ssistant for 5 different coaches. Keeps a low profile to stick around. Assumed different positions but job is always the same. Prepare for games and prepare players for games and to improve their game.
Specific role for coaches: Not concerned about specialized coaching (offense, defense) you're just a coach, have to be able to handle things on both sides of the ball. Larry has always had a simple rule, just do your job.
Assistants weren't as active on court in practice and games (under JOB):Yes coaches will be more active and we saw that with Frank at the end of the season. Plus, with Brian and Jim we have to have their input and involvement with all of the experience they have. We're all workers so it will work and hopefully that work translates to the team.
Down time: I've been volunteering at Pacers hoops camps refreshing myself on why I got into this business, been a blast working with kids. Also go through all of our plans and terminology and bring Brian and Jim up to speed and start developing plans for the season.
Surviving coaching changes: When Rick came I knew him from Portland, so I knew I would be OK. But when JOB came there was a bit of uncertainty. With Isiah and JOB, Larry said you don't have to keep Dan, talk to him, give him a chance and they wanted to keep me. It is tough on the family but they've always handled it well.
Not an assistant:loved being an assistant coach, but I like this job a little bit more. Wasn't a real press conference since Bruno wasn't there, plus with restrictions it wasn't much of a press conference. Going back to the Jersey Shore soon to spend a little time with family (but not Snooki or Pauly D, regrettably I might add).
On coaching staff: We hit a home run. This is what we do, we shoot for the moon and go and get it done. To bring in Brian Shaw with his playing and coaching experience is just a home run on so many levels, we're just thrilled about it.
How did he get to these three?: Brian is someone from the get go, I didn't think I could get him. He's been a candidate for head coaching positions. Lot of interest in him around the league and the fact that he decided he wanted to work with me and Larry Bird is just indicative of what we're building here. Really exciting.
Coaching roles: Going a bit old school, against trend of compartmentalizing coaches on staff. Each guy has extensive experience in all areas and can coach all areas so that's what they will do.
On Burke value: First and foremost he's brilliant. Incredible basketball mind, picks things up very quickly. He's a lead assistant caliber coach. He is sharp with game situation, time outs, player rotations. I call him my conscience because he can always give a straight answer whenever questioning a decision.
Close to finalizing final position:Boylen not quite locked up yet.
Offseason/Lockout prep; Business as usual, we are getting ready like we would without lockout. We need to get on the same page as a staff, watch our old game tapes and see how best to use our team.
Dealing with locker room issues: Number one thing looking for, guys who have right balance between toughness and positive energy. Can't be overly negative when guys aren't getting it done, but it will be a challenging environment.
Run the staff like a team, we'll all be doing everything, very involved working together.