Not to nitpick, but you don't mean Carlisle's teams have "consistently done better than was expected at the start of the season." They were championship contenders at the start of the previous two seasons. What you mean is that things went wrong during the season (suspensions, injuries, trade requests, locker-room turmoil, etc.) that made those expectations appear unrealistic in hindsight.
I appreciate the rest of your post. You can't prove that Carlisle is "one of the best in the league" but I can't prove he isn't, except insofar as Pat Riley and a few other guys have some rings and Carlisle doesn't. You say you are glad we don't have a coach who "makes it all about himself." I agree with that, of course. But why not have a coach who makes it all about winning?
I'm not out for the coach's blood. He's the Pacers' coach and that needs to stay a given for the rest of the season. I personally don't see or hear anything inspiring about him. His comments on the radio show are less interesting than what I hear from the coaches of 1-A and 2-A high schools out here in Putnam and Montgomery counties. But that is just my opinion.