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View Full Version : So who was the worst coach in Pacer history?



WhoLovesYaBaby?
08-22-2012, 03:25 PM
We recently had a well meaning poster wanting to end the JOB hate. And some excellent points were made.

But was he the worst coach in Pacer history?

Here's a little linky-poo so you don't have to look it up: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Indiana_Pacers_head_coaches

If you go on only winning % then it is no contest, Irvine is by far the worst. Bird by far the best.

And for those of us who remember the forgettable Irvine reign, we concur. Irvine had some good players in Kellogg, Stipo, Fleming, and others. Of course he had duds also, plenty of them. But he simply couldn't win much. Had a totally confusing rotation and insisted on playing guys that shot at the wrong basket and threw the ball out of bounds whenever they touched it or fouled for the fun of it. Not that he can control everything a player does, but he didn't seem to have an issue with poor play.

JOB was a poor coach. He used a style of hard nosed coaching that no longer fits in todays NBA. He might do better in college or High School. I never really understood his handling of players (like TJ and Murphy).

But JOB is a recent memory. Irvine is not, in fact he is not even a memory to most on this board.

QuickRelease
08-22-2012, 03:30 PM
http://www.hollywoodmemorabilia.com/files/cache/dick-versace-pacers-autographed-basketball-card_8740b61aa4a2766dcbf0b56527540cf8.jpg

ChicagoJ
08-22-2012, 03:38 PM
George Irvine was the worst, by a country mile.

His roster was bad, but he was even worse. 52-130 over 2+ seasons.

And think about his roster, both of his starting forwards and his backup C all played together at Ohio State, and managed to go a whopping 9-9 against the Big Ten. Talk about an unimpressive NBA front court. So George didn't have much to work with, but those teams were wretched.

And even then, rumor has it that when George was "fired" to the front office, that he was the one pushing for the Rifleman-Williams for A piece of Pooh and Spare Change trade.

Just awful.

Mr_Smith
08-22-2012, 03:43 PM
Dick Versace didn't coach long enough to be the worst.

Unclebuck
08-22-2012, 04:08 PM
Dick Versace didn't coach long enough to be the worst.

Only coach Walsh fired mid season. It was 1 week before Christmas

adamscb
08-22-2012, 04:14 PM
JOB was a poor coach. He used a style of hard nosed coaching that no longer fits in todays NBA. He might do better in college or High School.

if NBA players won't listen to him, what makes you think teenagers would? he's a terrible coach in any setting, thus getting my vote for worst in pacers history.

oz_pacer
08-22-2012, 04:25 PM
Mel Daniels 0-2 gets my vote ;-)

xIndyFan
08-22-2012, 04:56 PM
http://www.hollywoodmemorabilia.com/files/cache/dick-versace-pacers-autographed-basketball-card_8740b61aa4a2766dcbf0b56527540cf8.jpg

didn't versace get in some kind of 'high school girl fight' [not a PC name, open to a better suggestion] with the IndyStar guys. I remember something about him using practice time to sit in a circle with the team and talk about not talking to the press.

It sounded pretty silly, but so did the Star's coverage.

DangerGranger3pointranger
08-22-2012, 05:02 PM
Probably Dick Versace...

Ransom
08-22-2012, 05:23 PM
Not that I think he would qualify but thought for sure we'd get at least an Isaiah Thomas mention by this point.

I think "frustrating to remember" and bad coaching aren't quite the same. Thomas isn't the worst, but because of the high potential and the knowledge that we could have had Carlise several years early bugs me.

Sandman21
08-22-2012, 05:35 PM
seeing as i was maybe 2 years old when versace was canned......

still JOB.

indygeezer
08-22-2012, 06:01 PM
I've heard some horror stories about how Bob Hill treated players and pitted one against another....but in my book, it's George Irvine with Versace a close second.

BlueNGold
08-22-2012, 06:31 PM
I didn't care for Versace...or maybe it was his hair that irritated me. Anyway, clearly a bad coach. He makes JOb look like John Wooden.

PacerPenguins
08-22-2012, 06:33 PM
just cause im tired of some ppl trying to defend JOB and making countless numbers of threads on basically the same thing im going to say..........

JIM O'BRIEN!! :-p

Pacerized
08-22-2012, 07:57 PM
I'm sure that I'm in the minority, but I didn't think Versace was a bad coach. He had a terrible team that wasn't going anywhere but at least he played his young players. Det and Michael Williams really played well for him.
I'm old enough to remember the ABA but to young to know what I'm talking about in regards to players or coaches. For my money JOB has been the worse coach we've had in the NBA.

beast23
08-22-2012, 08:08 PM
Irvine
Versace
Thomas
JOB
Hill

In that order.

The two that I personally despised the most and respected the least...
Thomas
JOB

In that order.

PacerPenguins
08-22-2012, 09:27 PM
since everyone for some reason wants to defend Jim O'brien then Im gonna defend Dirk Versace. yea he helped the pacers stay in indiana:your argument is invalid

ChicagoJ
08-22-2012, 10:05 PM
I'm sure that I'm in the minority, but I didn't think Versace was a bad coach. He had a terrible team that wasn't going anywhere but at least he played his young players. Det and Michael Williams really played well for him.
I'm old enough to remember the ABA but to young to know what I'm talking about in regards to players or coaches. For my money JOB has been the worse coach we've had in the NBA.

Not to nitpick too much, but Versace was fired 25 games into the 1990-91 season, Micheal Willams' first season with the Pacers. Micheal appeared in 21 of those 25 games for a total of about 250 minutes for Versace. Vern got hurt in January of that season, after Bo Hill took over, and that's when Micheal moved into the starting lineup and blossomed. He did play his young players. The season before, Versace's full season on the job, Reggie was third in the league in minutes played, but really faded down the stretch as the Pacers limped into the playoffs and got slaughtered by the Pistons.

BlueNGold
08-22-2012, 10:06 PM
I have a painful question to ask. If you had to sign a coach to a 4 year guaranteed contract...and only Jim O'Brien and Isaiah Thomas were the options....who would be coach? Both are bad, but I think I'd prefer Zeke. Jim was just too frustrating and at least the players like Zeke (or at least JO).

ChicagoJ
08-22-2012, 10:16 PM
Players developed under Zeke, so I'd go with him. But he couldn't coach, and I give the credit to his assistants (remember, he had 491 of them.)

dewman_32
08-22-2012, 10:21 PM
I have to go with Thomas. He should have done far more with the team he inherited than he did. He had more talent that Versace, O'Brien and Irvine combined.

Pacerized
08-23-2012, 12:20 AM
Not to nitpick too much, but Versace was fired 25 games into the 1990-91 season, Micheal Willams' first season with the Pacers. Micheal appeared in 21 of those 25 games for a total of about 250 minutes for Versace. Vern got hurt in January of that season, after Bo Hill took over, and that's when Micheal moved into the starting lineup and blossomed. He did play his young players. The season before, Versace's full season on the job, Reggie was third in the league in minutes played, but really faded down the stretch as the Pacers limped into the playoffs and got slaughtered by the Pistons.

I'm not bothering to look up minutes or stats, just going off memory. Due to the company I worked for I was able to attend most games for free back then. I remember watching Williams and Det playing some good games under Versace. Versace came in to where I worked several times and it was good to talk Pacers with him. There weren't a lot of fans at that point. He was a good guy and I don't think a bad coach. He just had a bad team that hadn't came together and got on the wrong side of the media.
Like I said, I know I'm in the minority. I can't remember anyone from that era liking Versace.

cdash
08-23-2012, 12:26 AM
In my lifetime (I was born in '85), I think it's a tossup between Isiah and JOB. Me, personally, I would go with Isiah. Putting things into perspective--my basketball viewing lifetime has been pretty good for Pacers coaches. Larry Brown, Larry Bird, Isiah Thomas, Rick Carlisle, JOB, Frank Vogel. Four superb coaches (in my estimation), and two stinkers. I'll take that.

ChicagoJ
08-23-2012, 12:45 AM
I'm not bothering to look up minutes or stats, just going off memory. Due to the company I worked for I was able to attend most games for free back then. I remember watching Williams and Det playing some good games under Versace. Versace came in to where I worked several times and it was good to talk Pacers with him. There weren't a lot of fans at that point. He was a good guy and I don't think a bad coach. He just had a bad team that hadn't came together and got on the wrong side of the media.
Like I said, I know I'm in the minority. I can't remember anyone from that era liking Versace.

See, that's what I don't get. When those two guys were together, they got off to a 3-1 start, then went 6-15 over the next 21. With a team that Versace had led to the playoffs the year before. They made no roster moves after firing Versace and Bo Hill got them back to 0.500 by going 32-25 (56%) the rest of the way. You sure you're talking about Versace?

indygeezer
08-23-2012, 08:24 AM
The memories this thread brings back are making me nauseous. I think I need a drink.

Zeke if I hafta choose.

Unclebuck
08-23-2012, 08:31 AM
I have a painful question to ask. If you had to sign a coach to a 4 year guaranteed contract...and only Jim O'Brien and Isaiah Thomas were the options....who would be coach? Both are bad, but I think I'd prefer Zeke. Jim was just too frustrating and at least the players like Zeke (or at least JO).

I'd hire Jim for sure. but then you probably figured I would say that.

Unclebuck
08-23-2012, 08:47 AM
I'm not bothering to look up minutes or stats, just going off memory. Due to the company I worked for I was able to attend most games for free back then. I remember watching Williams and Det playing some good games under Versace. Versace came in to where I worked several times and it was good to talk Pacers with him. There weren't a lot of fans at that point. He was a good guy and I don't think a bad coach. He just had a bad team that hadn't came together and got on the wrong side of the media.
Like I said, I know I'm in the minority. I can't remember anyone from that era liking Versace.

I too met Versace and actually knew him well. My dad built his house, my mom decorated his house, they knew his young wife.

I went to a closed training camp practice up at Purdue and after went to dinner with Versace, Bob Hill and Bob Ocepka. So it was just me, my dad, and the three coaches. It was an interesting experience. I was 19 years old at the time.

General impressions of the three coaches - just as people. To be clear Versace invited me and my dad up to practice and then to dinner afterward. He knew I was a big Pacers fan so he was being very nice inviting us - so I wanted to like him.

Ocepka - one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. He was seemingly interested in me and my dad.

Bob Hill - while there might be legitimate reasons, he came across as a jerk. Like he didn't want to be there, didn't say much. But I'll give him some credit he didn't act like Versace. (didn't seem Hill and Versace got along well)

Versace - He was a big personality and I used to love his call in radio show and later when he hosted a radio show in Chicago he was excellent.

But my impression from that dinner is hard to describe. He seemed very fake to me, like he'd ask me a question a legitimate basketball question and then obviously not listen to anything I said. But he wasn't mean to me, he wasn't horrible at all, but I think what bothered me more than anything is he hated the team and players he was coaching. Some of his comments: Tank is as dumb as a box of rocks. Versace hated Mel Daniels, he went on a rant about him. I forget some of his other comments, but he was critical of almost all the players.

More than anything Dick just talked and talked and while he was very articulate he just has that personality where he thinks he is the smartest person in the room. The more you are around him, the less you like him.

We did get some great tickets though.

Evan_The_Dude
08-23-2012, 09:16 AM
JOB made me not want to watch the team that I'd give anything to watch any chance I got. I actually started not to care anymore in the season before and the season of his firing (until it actually happened). It was just so obvious to everybody that he needed to go that it was just stupid. I almost wanted Bird fired just so we could get somebody with the guts to fire JOB.

Yes we lacked some talent, but JOB's use of players baffled me at times. However I will give him credit for getting what he could out of Dunleavy and Murphy. I also give him credit for Grangers big scoring seasons, But Grangers defense suffered in the process.

JOB was the worst to me. Zeke is right behind him because he was just clueless about how to coach. The only thing I give Zeke credit for is willingly playing the young guys.

OlBlu
08-23-2012, 09:26 AM
I have a painful question to ask. If you had to sign a coach to a 4 year guaranteed contract...and only Jim O'Brien and Isaiah Thomas were the options....who would be coach? Both are bad, but I think I'd prefer Zeke. Jim was just too frustrating and at least the players like Zeke (or at least JO).

That is very easy. JOB was a well respected NBA man and a very good coach. Thomas had no background indicating he could coach. JOB would have gotten much more out of that team Zeke inherited. JOB started his tenure with not much to work with and it got worse. Only three players remained from his first team when he started his last year. What Pacer homers have never understood is that NO coach in the NBA could have gotten that team to .500 with those players. In fact, some of them would have won ten to fifteen less games per year in my opinion. None of them would ever have taken the job in the first place. JOB is a first assistant coach for Dallas and he may well become a head coach again. JOB is miles better than our current coach although he had to push the edge here with discipline because the team was out of control and the players hated him for that....:cool:

adamscb
08-23-2012, 09:58 AM
i guess it's safe to say O'Brien was the wrong man for the JOB :rimshot:

been wanting to make that pun for a while now

BillS
08-23-2012, 10:03 AM
I have a painful question to ask. If you had to sign a coach to a 4 year guaranteed contract...and only Jim O'Brien and Isaiah Thomas were the options....who would be coach? Both are bad, but I think I'd prefer Zeke. Jim was just too frustrating and at least the players like Zeke (or at least JO).

Wow, hanged or shot?

I'd have to go with JOB. I always at least felt HE believed in what he was doing, even if I disagreed with a lot of it. My frustration with Zeke was that he seemed not to know at all what he was doing and would completely lose track of what was happening, then spin the heck out of it afterwards.

Brad8888
08-23-2012, 11:02 AM
JOB would have gotten much more out of that team Zeke inherited. JOB started his tenure with not much to work with and it got worse primarily due to his inability to adapt his strategy to the talent that he had and his aversion to developing young players who were more talented than his favored vets. Only three players remained from his first team when he started his last year.

...

JOB is a first assistant coach for Dallas and he may well become a head coach again. JOB is miles better than our current coach at having contrasting sideburns although he had to push the edge here with discipline because the team was out of control (and seemed to get worse after his hiring, possibly due to frustrations and rebellion) and the players hated him for his inability to grasp reality when it came to the roster not fitting his system and the damage that his forcing the players to play away from their strengths caused to their careers....:therock:

Adjusted to coincide with what has been observed by many, and hinted at by the players thmselves

Pacergeek
08-23-2012, 11:16 AM
Its not really fair to say JOB was the worst coach. His teams had the worst talent on them and he really didn't have much to work with. Clearly Isiah was the worst. He had talented teams every season, yet did nothing in the playoffs. There was no excuse to lose to Boston in 2003. We had a prime JO, prime Ron Artest, an All Star Brad Miller, a young and productive Al Harrington, and a still effective Reggie Miller. The 02-03 Pacers team you could argue was the most talented team we ever assembled. All Boston had was Paul Pierce and Antwoine Walker. The next season under Carlisle, even with losing Brad Miller, we went to the ECF.

Unclebuck
08-23-2012, 11:25 AM
My frustration with Zeke was that he seemed not to know at all what he was doing and would completely lose track of what was happening, then spin the heck out of it afterwards.

I felt the same way. He also changed things on a whim, significant changes without seemingly much thought.

ChicagoJ
08-23-2012, 11:42 AM
I felt the same way. He also changed things on a whim, significant changes without seemingly much thought.

Did Jalen Rose ever know what was expected of him? He did under Bird, and he thrived. Zeke was all over the board with Jalen, however.

Man, that was just messy.

Kegboy
08-23-2012, 12:14 PM
I can't speak to Versace or Irvine, so I don't feel qualified to answer the question.

In regards to JOB vs. Isiah I'll try and explain how I differentiate them. In regards to the technical side of coaching, understanding the X's and O's, schemes, etc., I think Jimmy has real acumen there, and as such is obviously better than Zeke. On the flip side, Isiah is very good at interpersonal relationships. He's the consumate salesman, even people like SportsGuy who hate him walk away from a conversation liking the guy personally. So from a standpoint of managing people, getting player buy-in I think he's very good, and as such is obviously better than O'Brien.

If pressed on the matter, I think that in a vacuum O'Brien is the better coach, but Isiah did a better job coaching the Pacers. Jimmy's stubbornness was just unacceptable and unforgivable, especially from someone who really should have known better.

Peck
08-23-2012, 12:33 PM
I've lived through them all, heck I've under Irvine twice (thank you Donnie Walsh) but only one coach has ever made me lose interest in the team. Only one coach has ever had me tell my wife that when there was something else on TV when there was a Pacers away game that conflicted that we could just go ahead and watch the other program. Only one coach has ever made me question the very basic fundamental belief in rebounding as being important. Only one coach has ever made my Son tell me that if he is back next season to drop our tickets down to just going to select games.

Jim O'Brien hands down for me is the worst coach I have ever seen.

Now I say that with the odd contradiction that Jim O'Brien may also be the most knowledgeable coach I've ever seen (maybe even rivaling Larry Brown) and that to me is why he is the absolute worst.

Jim knows, understands & can coach almost any style of play you can imagine. I've seen him do it. But he is so fixated on the one style of play that he forgoes all others even when he doesn't have players who can play it or some players who are better than the other players but can't play his style so he won't play them.

Now if you would have come to me 7 years ago and asked me who was the worst coach I would have laughed while saying the name George Irvine (I would have been laughing so I wouldn't have been crying at the memory) but if nothing else Jim has at the very least helped me get over my Irvine nightmare.

No matter how poorly I've thought about Versace and he would be the next worst one about this to Jim, at least he never once took to the airwaves to decry a young player’s good performance as irrelevant. I don't care if he was talking about Josh or if Brandon Rush would have had that game, you don't publicly say any player’s good effort was irrelevant.

I hated his rotations, I hated his offensive schemes, I hated his cliché use of "I'm all about defense" and I hated with the passion of a white hot sun his use of the big men shooting three point shots.

Now understand everything I am saying is just my opinion there is no science here, you can point out w/l records or whatever but I'm not changing my mind.

Only one coach has ever made it so that the P.A. announcer had to change the intros because they knew that the fans could not stand the guy so I think it's safe to say that I'm not alone in my feelings of Jim O'Brien.

Peck
08-23-2012, 12:35 PM
I can't speak to Versace or Irvine, so I don't feel qualified to answer the question.

In regards to JOB vs. Isiah I'll try and explain how I differentiate them. In regards to the technical side of coaching, understanding the X's and O's, schemes, etc., I think Jimmy has real acumen there, and as such is obviously better than Zeke. On the flip side, Isiah is very good at interpersonal relationships. He's the consumate salesman, even people like SportsGuy who hate him walk away from a conversation liking the guy personally. So from a standpoint of managing people, getting player buy-in I think he's very good, and as such is obviously better than O'Brien.

If pressed on the matter, I think that in a vacuum O'Brien is the better coach, but Isiah did a better job coaching the Pacers. Jimmy's stubbornness was just unacceptable and unforgivable, especially from someone who really should have known better.

Very well said.

What kills me is that people who were big Jermaine O'Neal fans don't want to give Isiah the credit that Jermaine himself gives him.

No he wasn't a good coach but as you said he was better at getting players to play for him.

WhoLovesYaBaby?
08-23-2012, 12:55 PM
http://www.hollywoodmemorabilia.com/files/cache/dick-versace-pacers-autographed-basketball-card_8740b61aa4a2766dcbf0b56527540cf8.jpg

He certainly had the worst hair.

Unclebuck
08-23-2012, 01:44 PM
Jim O'Brien has over 35 years coaching experience in college and the NBA. Isiah has never been an assistant coach ever, and has less head coaching experience.

let me ask the question: if Jim is so bad, then why did Rick hire him. I mean there are tons of assistant coaches out there. I would guess the lead assistant coach for the Mavs is very well paid - one of the highest salaries in the NBA for an assistant coach. The last two assistant coaches there are now head coaches. So they probably had there pick of really qualified coaches, and yet they choose the Pacers worst NBA head coach ever? Makes no sense.

Sandman21
08-23-2012, 01:50 PM
Jim O'Brien has over 35 years coaching experience in college and the NBA. Isiah has never been an assistant coach ever, and has less head coaching experience.

let me ask the question: if Jim is so bad, then why did Rick hire him. I mean there are tons of assistant coaches out there. I would guess the lead assistant coach for the Mavs is very well paid - one of the highest salaries in the NBA for an assistant coach. The last two assistant coaches there are now head coaches. So they probably had there pick of really qualified coaches, and yet they choose the Pacers worst NBA head coach ever? Makes no sense.

Probably because Jim can tell you the shooting percentage of any guy in the league when they are shooting left handed, from 18 to 20 feet out, 5 minutes into the game, while being triple teamed, on National TV and Knick Bavetta is reffing.

I can't remember who told the story on 1070 about a month and a half ago (Wells or Kevin Lee maybe), but Jim had these HUGE binders of data on all these players that he'd have the video scouts put together for him.

The dude would seriously make a great color analyst for ESPN.

Ownagedood
08-23-2012, 03:20 PM
Ya, im only 22 so I can only speak from basically Larry Brown on and there's no doubt in my mind JOB was by far the worst in my time.

Eleazar
08-23-2012, 06:04 PM
Maybe I was too young at the time to really notice a good or bad coaching job, but Isaiah never came off to me as being the worst coach ever like JOB did.

vnzla81
08-23-2012, 07:20 PM
JOB

http://images.sodahead.com/polls/001931115/244917052_handsdown_answer_2_xlarge.png

Brad8888
08-23-2012, 07:56 PM
Jim O'Brien has over 35 years coaching experience in college and the NBA. Isiah has never been an assistant coach ever, and has less head coaching experience.

let me ask the question: if Jim is so bad, then why did Rick hire him. I mean there are tons of assistant coaches out there. I would guess the lead assistant coach for the Mavs is very well paid - one of the highest salaries in the NBA for an assistant coach. The last two assistant coaches there are now head coaches. So they probably had there pick of really qualified coaches, and yet they choose the Pacers worst NBA head coach ever? Makes no sense.

The Mavs are about to go through a very quick and painful rebuild once Nowitzki decides to hang them up. That makes coaching there undesireable, especially with the controlling Carlisle dictating the offensive flow. Cuban likely wants to push the tempo more than Carlisle does and is forcing the issue by hiring O'Brien, and likely for a discounted rate compared to what he would have to pay others because it is his final chance to prove that his system works with the correct personnel in place, starting with likely his favorite player of all time in Dirk as the cornerstone of the offense.

Also, my guess is that Carlisle doesn't want to go through the rebuilding process, either, which makes him a likely candidate to move on sooner rather than later. O'Brien also at least has some experience, yet is the perfect coach to tank the team with plausible deniability due to his rigidity once Nowitzki retires.

wintermute
08-23-2012, 08:20 PM
The Mavs are about to go through a very quick and painful rebuild once Nowitzki decides to hang them up. That makes coaching there undesireable, especially with the controlling Carlisle dictating the offensive flow. Cuban likely wants to push the tempo more than Carlisle does and is forcing the issue by hiring O'Brien, and likely for a discounted rate compared to what he would have to pay others because it is his final chance to prove that his system works with the correct personnel in place, starting with likely his favorite player of all time in Dirk as the cornerstone of the offense.

Also, my guess is that Carlisle doesn't want to go through the rebuilding process, either, which makes him a likely candidate to move on sooner rather than later. O'Brien also at least has some experience, yet is the perfect coach to tank the team with plausible deniability due to his rigidity once Nowitzki retires.

Head coaches generally hire their own assistants, but you think Cuban strong-armed his NBA champion coach to hire an assistant he didn't want? I don't think so. Carlisle gives more leeway to his assistants than most coaches do, but I'm not expecting the Mavs to suddenly play Obie ball.

Cuban's plan is well-known - he's keeping a flexible roster not for a long rebuild, but to get another star to pair with Dirk before he retires. It's not easy, as this year's missed FA haul shows, but he seems to be sticking to the plan. There's no way Cuban lets Carlisle go before Dirk retires. And I would think Carlisle is on board with this plan.

BobbyMac
08-23-2012, 08:35 PM
Larry Staverman.

idioteque
08-23-2012, 09:21 PM
Zeke always seemed miles worse than JOB.

JOB did a decent job, at least as far as win-losses are concerned, with a pretty terrible roster.

Zeke took a roster that could have fought for the championship under a good coach and turned it into a fringe playoff team.

Bball
08-24-2012, 04:10 AM
like he'd ask me a question a legitimate basketball question and then obviously not listen to anything I said.

So, like we treat you here on PD?


;)

Bball
08-24-2012, 04:11 AM
let me ask the question: if Jim is so bad, then why did Rick hire him.

I'm figuring Rick lost a bet or Jim found some compromising photos that Carlisle left in his desk....

Bball
08-24-2012, 04:28 AM
At the end of the day I had a hard time telling the difference between Isiah and JOB... They were both pretty dayumed bad. Both seemed more like mad scientists than basketball coaches with a firm grasp of coaching a solid base and melding team chemistry.

As for players wanting to play for Isiah... Perhaps less talking to JO and more talking to Best and Rose might be warranted before that determination is made.

Here's the thing though- Isiah never should've been a head coach. Walsh rolled the dice with Bird and it worked but he went to the well once to often with the Isiah gimmick hire and rolled snake eyes. There was very little reason to think Isiah would be a good coach on a team that had just played in the finals, but one that would be making some changes.

OTOH, O'Brien could've been a scriptwriter for Coach Norman Dale's lines in Hoosiers. But he turned out to be a maddeningly confusing, walking contradiction. He'd talk solid fundamental basketball and then encourage anything BUT solid, fundamental basketball. It was mixed messages for the fans and mixed messages for the team. And then a supreme stubbornness to boot. So he coached a bad brand of basketball regardless of what he spoke. And his use of players was questionable at best.

I suppose for me I'd say the tipping point to choose O'Brien as the worst Pacer coach was his tenure (too long!) and the fact he was experienced enough he should know better. Isiah sucking shouldn't have came as much surprise. It probably would've been a bigger surprise had he not sucked. But O'Brien's 'coaching awfulness' is hard to explain with a man that has been around the game as long as he has. I can only explain it by thinking maybe he thought the Pacers were down enough it was the perfect petri dish for an experiment he'd been building towards with his whacky mad scientist basketball theories.

Or else senility...

BlueNGold
08-24-2012, 07:44 AM
Just looking back through Pacer playoff data...and Jim is the only coach except for George Irvine to never make it to the playoffs...and Jim's tenure was longer than 8 coaches and shorter than only 4. I think that...and Jim's attitude...tells us a lot about why he's not too popular.....

ChicagoJ
08-24-2012, 10:49 AM
O'Brien is clearly the one who drove me away. Irvine didn't, Versace didn't, Isiah didn't. But I was also younger then so I was willing to invest in the team with the hope of a better future. With Jim, I decided I already had plenty of other things to do. I still think those three were worse than Jim.

What's the difference between those three and Jim? - Jim's had some success elsewhere. Irvine, Versace and Isiah have been either (a) such failures that nobody else would touch them, or (b) failures everywhere else they've been.

BillS
08-24-2012, 11:02 AM
O'Brien is clearly the one who drove me away. Irvine didn't, Versace didn't, Isiah didn't. But I was also younger then so I was willing to invest in the team with the hope of a better future. With Jim, I decided I already had plenty of other things to do. I still think those three were worse than Jim.

Yeah, I think this is a very important point. When you are younger your BS tolerance is a little more because you usually don't know any better.

I actually think vnzla81's head would have exploded in the Versace period.

Unclebuck
08-24-2012, 11:20 AM
I think Versace lost respect from his players quicker than any coach we ever had, because of his fake persona. That happened very early on. I forget a lot of what Versace did basketball wise. He loved the corner three. He also I think used a halfcourt trap from time to time.

Overall though I think Versace's biggest problem's were his personality. His system wasn't really bad - although I admit I forget a lot of the stuff.

ChicagoJ
08-24-2012, 11:42 AM
Versace didn't have an 'x and o' problem.

Remember what happened the day after Versace was fired, and Bo Hill was promoted?

Reggie Miller signed the contract extension that he'd been sitting on since the summer.

Remember, kids, during the Dick Versace era there were plenty of rumors that Reggie wasn't going to re-sign after his rookie contract because "Hollywood" wanted to play alongside Magic and the Lakers. He practiced with those Lakers guys all summer long and would have been a natural fit for Showtime.

The best I can remember of Versace's technical basketball strategy was a focus on transition defense. Which I always thought was weird, because while transition defense is important, I wouldn't rank it so high that it was supposed to be the team identity.

Sure, this was the era of Showtime, Run-TMC, and Fat Level/ Alex English Nuggets and if you weren't ready to run with them, they'd drop 130 points on you without much effort.

But "transition defense" as a team identity -- in the era of Showtime, Run-TMC, the Bad Boys, the run-and-gun Nuggets, and the Celtics earning their Tommypoints. THOSE were clear team identities.

The other thing he did was tell Chuck Person not to rebound, not to use his midrange game, not to distribute, but just parked him at the three-point line. And Chuck's numbers began fall across the board during that period. However, Reggie used his floater and midrange game a lot, moreso than under any other coach probably.

Versace just didn't know when to shut up, and while he was entertaining, he wasn't respected for very long. He was probably a riot to talk to. Fans would frequently enjoy post-game conversations with him at Iria's (or whatever the Italian restaurant over by MSA was at the time?)

Unclebuck
08-24-2012, 01:13 PM
OH yes he stressed transition defense. In fact I agree with him on that. Not to make it a team identity, but it should be a given that you are a great transition defensive team. IMO the first thing to install in training camp and insist throughout the year.

Yes he was fun to talk with, but as I mentioned earlier, he came across as very fake to me-

ChicagoJ
08-24-2012, 04:35 PM
but it should be a given that you are a great transition defensive team.

Exactly. Everybody "should" be good at this so it doesn't make much sense as a team identity. That was clearly part of the rationale for keeping Rifleman at the three-point line. He never had blazing footspeed and Versace didn't want him going after the offensive glass.

laurenSTAVERMAN
11-17-2012, 01:09 PM
Larry Staverman.
Thats my uncle. hahaaaaaa