In addition to former Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce and former Butler guard Ronald Nored, who were already linked to the Pacers as expected assistant-coaching hires, Jenny Boucek and Mike Weinar have left Dallas to join Rick Carlisle’s staff in Indiana, the team announced Friday.
OFFICIAL: We have hired Lloyd Pierce, Ronald Nored, Mike Weinar and Jenny Boucek as assistant coaches for Head Coach Rick Carlisle’s staff.— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) July 16, 2021
More Info: https://t.co/CIpYbpN8nE pic.twitter.com/2k6XQKlTft
Boucek, in particular, has known Carlisle for years through the alumni base at the University of Virginia, where she had a standout college career. In 2015, when she was head coach of the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, Boucek visited the Mavericks for training camp, later putting a twist on some of the innovative concepts she picked up with her own squad. More recently, before being hired in Dallas as an assistant to the basketball staff for special projects, she was a player development coach for the Sacramento Kings under Dave Joerger.
Appearing on the Xs and Os-centric podcast Slappin’ Glass earlier this season, Boucek emphasized the importance of striking a balance between the human element of basketball and what the numbers say — an area which reportedly was a weak-spot for former head coach Nate Bjorkgren, as he too often coached from his iPad without regard for intuition.
“The tricky part about analytics, and I’m open-minded about it, but what I’m witnessing is that things that are so very black and white numerically can take a toll on the soul of a player or a team,” she explained.
During that same conversation, when asked to weigh the value of Xs and Os, film study, and player development as assistant-coaching skills, she instead pivoted to the value of what she referred to as “emotional IQ.”
“There’s a lot of people who know basketball,” she explained. “It doesn’t mean they’re going to be a good leader. It doesn’t mean they’re going to be a good teammate on the staff. It doesn’t mean they’re going to be a good soldier for you as a head coach. Those are the things that really lead to championship cultures and sustaining championship contention.”
With regard to the actual machinations of basketball, she also talked about how the game has gone away from sets and much more into flow and principles of play, which was also something the Pacers struggled with this past season while at times becoming too mechanical.
Mike Weinar, meanwhile, joins the Pacers after 13 seasons with the Mavericks, including four as an assistant coach. This past season, in which the Dallas attack on offense was once again crafted with Luka Doncic as a focal point and further nudged toward randomness, he stepped into Stephen Silas’ role as offensive coordinator.
Overall, given some of the friction that was reported to have existed between Carlisle and various corners of the Mavs organization, it is a welcome sight that two members of his prior coaching-team are following him to Indiana, rounding out a staff which, with Lloyd Pierce providing former head-coaching experience and Ronald Nored bringing fresh ideas and bridging a generational gap, appears more experienced and well-balanced than that of last season under Bjorkgren.