I'd say Slick by far, Bird second, Brown third
I'd say Slick by far, Bird second, Brown third
I voted for Larry Legend cause he took us to the finals.
Rick proved nothing except that he took a very talented team and managed to destroy it. Fair or not, it happened on his watch and he had to be accountable.
Larry Brown had the most solid teams in Pacers History and couldn't get it done.
I couldn't vote for Slick cause his NBA years was horrid and well the ABA wasn't the NBA and we live in the NBA era. If you want to talk ABA separately, I'd put Slick as the best ABA coach ever.
I don't get the whole "I never saw Slick coach so I can't vote for him" excuse.
I never saw Red Auerbach coach, but that doesn't mean if someone asked, "Who is the best coach on this list: Red Auerbach, Mike Dunleavy Sr, or Jim O'Brien?" I'd not pick him. Hell, if we're gonna play that game, .....I never saw Bill Russell play, so therefore Troy Murphy and Ike Diogu were better players than him.
Slick won hardware here. Multiple pieces. Only 1 other guy came close to winning one, and didn't succeed.
Answer is a no-brainer.
I never saw Bill Russell play, so therefore Reggie Miller and Ray Allen were better players than him.
I am the same way as a lot of people, as I am too young to remember Slick. I want to say Rick is the best cause we had a solid team with excellent D, something we haven't had since. I choose Larry Brown cause he was the coach that took us from mid-level/bottom feeders to a contending team.
The first thing to do is agree on how to qualify them.
I mean if your #1 priority is final results, Slick has 3 titles.
If your #1 priority is pure knowledge of how to play and coach the game, I'm looking at either Larry Brown or Rick Carlisle.
You could also make the case that Larry Bird was great because he was wise enough to do what he knew how to do (lead, make the big decisions) while finding great people to delegate to with regards to what he wasn't able to do, and he successfully found two great people to do that for him (Dick Harter and Rick Carlisle). He gets major kudos from me for doing it that way rather than try to pretend to be something he was not, plus he got some pretty good results during his 3 seasons.
It seems impossible for me to give a definitive answer because I want to know more about the details of Slick's coaching. If he was the complete package (leader/motivator, decision maker, X's and O's, teacher), then it's no contest. If he had holes, then it becomes more debatable. You could also argue it was easier to win ABA titles than NBA titles back then, so we don't know how things would have gone if the Pacers were always an NBA team. No one likes to think about that, but I think there's truth to it.
Slick, at age 8,392, is still razor-sharp about basketball strategy and the technical stuff. You can tell that during every broadcast. Listen when his mike is turned off and he's have a conversation with a ref, or one of the players, or somebody else and you can hear it over Mark's microphone. He's sharp. In that era, being weak on strategy or x's and o's was a nonstarter. Coaches dealt with whatever roster they were given, or they got fired.
And there's no doubt that his team loved playing for him, drinking with him, smoking cigarettes with him, he was the patriarch of the Pacers family.
Could the modern players deal with him? I don't know, discipline was fairly important for him.
Complete package. He was Brown and Bird combined. Or a version of Rick Carlisle that the players didn't hate.
I'm going to go with Larry Bird. Even though he was only a coach for 3 years, I felt he got the most out of his players. Even though he wasn't an x's and o's type of coach, his leadership and motivational skills were excellent. Advancing to 3 ECF's in a row including a Finals appearance is impressive.
I was raised by a UCLA basketball player who taught me Wooden fundamentals all growing up. It was pretty much assumed you wouldn't find that in the NBA.
Then one day in the mid 90s I turn on an NBA playoff game and see the Pacers for the first time. I was entranced. These guys knew how to really play basketball.
It wasn't until about halfway through Bird's second year as coach that I realized I was actually a Larry Brown fan. Bird was a fine coach, but the differences, to me, were clear. However, by that time I had gotten attached to Pacer basketball, involved with the beginnings of an online forum, and caught up in the soap opera of an NBA franchise. So I remained a fan, and have checked into the forum on pretty much a daily basis for 15 years. That's Larry Brown's doing, ultimately.