View Full Version : O’Brien still doing some things right (PhillyBurbs.com)

12-18-2007, 06:16 PM
O’Brien still doing some things right


Jim O'Brien's tenure with the Sixers didn't last long.

Former team president/general manager Billy King fired him in 2005 after he led the Sixers to a 43-39 record and a trip to the playoffs — the only time fifth-year pros Kyle Korver and Willie Green have experienced the postseason.

O'Brien, a Philadelphia native and Saint Joseph's graduate, was known as a taskmaster who made sure his players knew what was expected of them.

Back in the NBA as coach of the Pacers, who play host to the Sixers on Wednesday night, O'Brien is stressing the same things — pushing the ball up-court, shooting the 3-pointer, fronting the post and giving up the 3 rather than the layup — as he did then.

“I'm very happy to see him back in the league,” Korver said after Monday's practice. “He treated me very well. I have lots of great things to say about him. I think he's a fantastic coach.”

Korver, a 3-point specialist, attempted 558 3-pointers in 2004-05, putting him third in the league in that category. He hasn't shot more than 430 in any another season. Korver tied for first in 3-pointers made (206) under O'Brien.

“I shot a lot of 3s that year,” Korver said. “It was fun. He definitely played a system where I fit in well. I enjoyed it.”

O'Brien alienated players such as Samuel Dalembert and Kenny Thomas by cutting their minutes in favor of Marc Jackson and Josh Davis. He also didn't have many fans among Sixers employees, some of whom weren't pleased with the way he treated them.

“I was a little surprised [to see O'Brien go], but that's how it is in this business,” Green said. “Sometimes you can do all the right things and get fired, or you can do all the wrong things and stay with a team.”

O'Brien was also “real big about stats,” according to Andre Iguodala.

O'Brien knew the opponents' shooting percentage with any combination on the floor, as well as any two guards or forwards. He cited how well foes shot with Green and Allen Iverson on the floor as a reason for Green's limited role. He also repeatedly referred to statistics, such as adjusted assists.

O'Brien believed in full practices the morning of games, instead of the customary walkthrough shoot-around.
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“That I don't miss,” Korver said with a smile.

Picked to finish among the NBA's worst teams, the Pacers were a surprising 12-12 entering Monday night's game in New York. They launch plenty of shots beyond the arc and are ranked sixth in the NBA in scoring (103.9), along with 27th in opponents' scoring (105.0) and 3-point percentage (37.6).

“They're doing a great job,” said Kevin Ollie, who spent the 2004-05 season as a backup guard. “I know he's got those guys working hard, playing hard defense and scoring a lot of points.”

Iguodala hopes the Sixers (10-14), winners of five of their last six, can use their knowledge of O'Brien and his schemes to their advantage Wednesday at Conseco Fieldhouse.

“His defensive philosophy was really strict,” said Iguodala, whom O'Brien started as a rookie ahead of veteran Glenn Robinson. “Everything was done one way. Going in, we got kind of a sense what's going to happen, how the defense is going to be set up. Hopefully, we'll be able to pick it apart.”

Cooperative Korver
Korver will receive the “Good Guy Award” at the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association banquet on Jan. 28 in Cherry Hill, N.J. The award honors Korver for his cooperation with the media.
“When I first came to Philly, the big talk was, "Watch out for the media. They're tough,' ” Korver said. “To be recognized by people who you come in and are not sure about as someone positive to work with is an honor. I feel good about it.”

Hill returns to practice
Rookie Herbert Hill went through his first full practice since tearing his left meniscus late in the preseason. Coach Maurice Cheeks said he sees no reason to rush and activate Hill, a 6-9 power forward.


12-18-2007, 06:56 PM
Good read. It's interesting that JO'B hasn't really changed his ways and to see what other players playing under him think of his coaching style.

12-18-2007, 08:12 PM
Interesting, we have another coach with a reputation of not being popular with the franchise employees. Wasn't Rick criticized for the same thing.

More importantly the players, with rare exceptiopns have a lot of respect for O'Brien

12-18-2007, 08:16 PM
What's the +/- after Obie gets a T btw? He REALLY stands up for his guys.

12-18-2007, 08:36 PM
I find it strange how staff members in Philly didn't like how he treated them, yet there are many positive comments from staff in Indiana about Jim.

Did they just not get along there? Misunderstandings? Jim's improved in this area? Rick was that bad in that regard?

Probably a combination.

McClintic Sphere
12-18-2007, 10:22 PM
It seems almost a given that a whispering campaign starts against a coach after he is gone, usually with some completely vague accusations.