The Indiana Pacers were one of the NBA’s best teams all season and head coach Frank Vogel was seen as a major reason why the young roster had come together so well. The Pacers started the year 40-11, but now, just a few weeks later, it appears Vogel may be coaching for his job.
The Pacers earned the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference over the two-time defending NBA champion Miami Heat and looked poised for a great playoff run just a few weeks ago. Things were looking great in the Circle City.
But the Pacers fell apart down the stretch and the past three months have been less than encouraging. Then they shockingly fell to the eighth-seeded Atlanta Hawks in the teams’ playoff opener 101-93. While Indiana rebounded for a 101-85 win in Game 2, the team is still looking shaky at best. Which is why reports now suggest Vogel could be gone if he doesn’t right the ship.
The report claims that Vogel wouldn’t be saved merely by beating the Hawks. Pacers president Larry Bird will have the final say, but sources have told ESPN that frustration has mounted within the organization during the team’s late-season nose dive. After that brilliant start, Indiana stumbled to the finish with a 16-15 mark.
The Pacers added Luis Scola and C.J. Watson last summer, then traded for Evan Turner and signed Andrew Bynum late in the year. All of those moves were made with an eye towards a deep playoff run. Expectations have been high all season, especially after such a brilliant start. But the team looks lost right now, and all the focus will be on Vogel if the season doesn’t live up to those expectations.
On top of that, multiple reports have surfaced that players have been clashing with one another. Lance Stephenson has been involved in scraps with both Turner and George Hill in the past few weeks, and center Roy Hibbert complained that some of the team’s players were selfish (sourced claim he was referring to Stephenson).
Vogel will be seen as the scapegoat for all of this, when really it could just be that this collection of players doesn’t work together. Right now it looks like if he doesn’t turn things around, the 40-year-old coach will be looking for work this summer.