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Thread: The bluntness of Pacers coach Jim O'Brien

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    Default The bluntness of Pacers coach Jim O'Brien

    http://nba-point-forward.si.com/2010...ch-jim-obrien/
    The bluntness of Pacers coach Jim O'Brien
    SI.com|Coaches, Indiana Pacers
    Published October 15th 2010

    Few NBA coaches regularly say things that make me think, “Holy crap! Did he actually that?” Phil Jackson will tweak his players through the media, but that is all premeditated, and you get the feeling he might even explain his comments gently — and in private — to the player. Jerry Sloan is candid, and Gregg Popovich‘s curt answers to questions he considers unworthy of his time are so renowned that people now look forward to his news conferences.

    But no one is quite like Pacers coach Jim O’Brien, whose honesty borders on jarring. Here he is today talking about Brandon Rush‘s place in the rotation in the wake of Rush’s five-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy (via Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star):

    “We have three guys — Mike [Dunleavy], Danny [Granger] and Paul [George] — who are our top three guys at the wing spots,” O’Brien said. “Unless something happens, [Rush is] going to have to find a way to move above those three guys in order to get the type of playing time he got in the past.”

    On the one hand, this is just a coach discussing his depth chart. On the other hand, O’Brien just told Rush — and Star readers — that a rookie has passed him in the rotation, and that he better work his butt off if he wants to play at all.

    And here was O’Brien last week on rookie Lance Stephenson‘s problems on defense:

    “If we were playing a game tonight, he wouldn’t get a minute.”

    Ow.

    Indy fans know this isn’t the first time O’Brien has slapped a young player around a bit in the newspaper.

    Last April, O’Brien dashed the optimism Pacer fans were feeling about rookie point guard A.J. Price, who had stepped into T.J. Ford‘s starting role and looked decent (via Indy Cornrows):

    “I don’t think he’s the solution. There’s a reason he was drafted in the 50s. I think a lot of people missed the boat from a standpoint of drafting him earlier than that but he’s got a long way to go. I don’t think we would be real happy to say that he’s necessarily going to be the point guard of the future.”

    I mean … wow. O’Brien went on — we’ll get there, I promise — but this is getting to the point of actually hurting a young player’s feelings for no real reason other than to clarify to fans Price’s place within the organization.

    A month before the Price comments, Josh McRoberts, then a third-year forward, had played perhaps his finest game as a pro, a 15-point, four-rebound effort in a blowout loss to the Lakers. The game was close after the first half, when McRoberts did the bulk of his scoring. But after the game, O’Brien dismissed McRoberts’ work as “irrelevant,” and said he would wait to see McRoberts “do it in winning effort.”

    It’s reasonable to question the relevance of gaudy stats piled up in garbage time. But did O’Brien have to do it publicly and at the expense of a young man’s ego?

    There is, of course, context to this stuff. O’Brien is an old-school coach, and perhaps he’s using these comments as teaching tools to keep young players humble and remind them that contributing to victories is what really matters in the NBA. And nasty-sounding quotes could be misleading. For instance, O’Brien added the following to his comments last week about Stephenson’s defense:

    “I think he understands the difference between coaching and criticism. I see some growth in his defense. I told him I want him to come in with the goal to get better defensively each day. If he does that every day, it’ll get to the point in time where he’ll be good enough of a defensive player that he’ll be able to get some playing time.”

    That sounds a bit better than “he can’t even play a single minute,” doesn’t it? Does it make up for the sting of the first quote — the juicy one any reporter will put up high in the story?

    And here are some additional comments O’Brien made about Price in the same interview mentioned above:

    “I think frankly, until proven differently, we need to do better at the point guard. And that’s not to say that I’m not very pleased with A.J., I am. I just think he’s going to be a very solid backup the next couple of years and if he can work in with us or with another team and earn a starting job, that might be down the road but it’s not going to be in his second year.”

    OK. There are some compliments sprinkled in there, and O’Brien does say Price could be a valuable backup point guard — even if he has to move to another team to win that role. And Indiana’s deal for Darren Collison in the offseason shows O’Brien was being honest when he said the organization was not comfortable with Price as a starting point guard.

    O’Brien’s bluntness cuts other ways, too. Here’s what he told the Star last week about Roy Hibbert‘s weight loss over the summer:

    “Roy Hibbert has had one of the best summers I’ve ever witnessed in my years of coaching. Here’s a young guy that understands that certainly it’s up to the coaching staff to develop players, but most importantly, it’s up to the individual to develop.”

    That’s a huge compliment, if a rare one for a young player in Indiana.

    And these Pacers are young, with nine potential rotation players age 25 or younger. O’Brien is a 58-year-old coach in the last year of his contract. He’s had success in the NBA, but it’s worth asking if he’s the right coach for this Pacers team.

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    Default Re: The bluntness of Pacers coach Jim O'Brien

    Quote Originally Posted by Hibbert View Post
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    http://nba-point-forward.si.com/2010...ch-jim-obrien/
    The bluntness of Pacers coach Jim O'Brien
    SI.com|Coaches, Indiana Pacers
    Published October 15th 2010

    O’Brien is a 58-year-old coach in the last year of his contract. He’s had success in the NBA, but it’s worth asking if he’s the right coach for this Pacers team.
    Hmm. Yeah, maybe we should consider getting a new coach? I haven't really thought about it.

    /green

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    Default Re: The bluntness of Pacers coach Jim O'Brien



    Don't get me wrong, I hate when players and coaches spout out all the standard cliche answers. However O'Brien seems to have his favorite players. He is quick to dismiss the positives of certain players and just as quick to excuse others. And for the love of God he has to stop dismissing good games and hard efforts put forth by the younger players even if its in losing games.
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    Default Re: The bluntness of Pacers coach Jim O'Brien

    Quote Originally Posted by CooperManning View Post
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    Hmm. Yeah, maybe we should consider getting a new coach? I haven't really thought about it.

    /green

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    Default Re: The bluntness of Pacers coach Jim O'Brien

    Quote Originally Posted by Diamond Dave View Post
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    Don't get me wrong, I hate when players and coaches spout out all the standard cliche answers. However O'Brien seems to have his favorite players. He is quick to dismiss the positives of certain players and just as quick to excuse others. And for the love of God he has to stop dismissing good games and hard efforts put forth by the younger players even if its in losing games.
    It should be added that taking a crap on fans that call your radio show pretty much sucks too!

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    Default Re: The bluntness of Pacers coach Jim O'Brien

    i want him fired now

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    Default Re: The bluntness of Pacers coach Jim O'Brien

    The SI reporter is apparently not familiar with "coachspeak."
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    “People talk about how quiet he [McKey] is, but he’s really been helpful. He gives a lot of insight to players in how to guard certain teams and what their weaknesses are. The whole team listens to him, and it makes my job a lot easier. Having players like him is what pro basketball is all about for me.” —Larry Brown

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    Default Re: The bluntness of Pacers coach Jim O'Brien

    JOB has no memory. Players are only as good or bad as yesterday's game or practice. imagine what he says privately to players.

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    Default Re: The bluntness of Pacers coach Jim O'Brien

    But no one is quite like Pacers coach Jim O’Brien, whose boorish expression of his own often misguided opinions borders on jarring.
    Fixed.

    I don't blame the author of the piece, though. O'Brien does come off as refreshingly candid in interviews unless those interviewing him, or those calling into his now defunct call-in show, have been following his quotes and then his ensuing actions closely. Then, he is as exposed and vulnerable as TJ Ford halfway through a wildly spinning leap into the air during a misguided foray into traffic, and he ends up hung out to dry.

    In this case, I hope he is continuing to say one thing while doing something else entirely on more than one point. AJ continues to outshine Collison due to being in better control and not forcing the action, both from what I have seen, and what I have read others say. That means he should be the starter until Collison proves that he is better than AJ. Also, saying that Paul George is number 3 in the wing rotation ahead of Rush is comical, even including the improved shooting that George had against the Hornets.

    But, unfortunately, I suspect that AJ being the backup regardless of the quality of his play, and Rush being relegated deep into the bench like McRoberts was last year will both likely come to pass. O'Brien clearly has never done more than put up with Rush because he felt he had no other options at sg, and Price probably doesn't have a strong enough personality to gain O'Brien's respect enough to get the playing time he deserves. I believe a brash young player who stands up for himself wins brownie points faster than a more reserved young player who has a better overall skillset.

    Because O'Brien continues to be the coach, for the good of both of these young players as well as the franchise, why not see what we could get by packaging them with an expiring in a 3 for 2 to complete the roster. I would bet that there would be plenty of interest from numerous franchises who would be more than happy to send us back quality in return, while relieving us of TJ, if we were to include both Rush and Price, both of whom should be starters on a decent number of teams in the NBA.

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    Default Re: The bluntness of Pacers coach Jim O'Brien

    Im with you on your idea Brad, and I kinda like what your saying with the trade idea. Memphis, I'm sure would rather have Ford as a one year rental over Conley, whom they are not sold on and have shopped in the past. He is also in the last year of his contract and I don't think they have any intentions of re-signing him. I love his potential, adds another hometown boy to our roster and a very solid backup at the 1. The only problem with Memphis is that they don't have any players to match up with that amount of salary that Ford, Price, and Rush have, so were probably looking at involving another team or shipping Rush and D. Jones + pick for Conley, since Rush and Price wouldn't work. Something along those lines, just an idea here and yes I'm dreaming but that would be nice.

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    Default Re: The bluntness of Pacers coach Jim O'Brien

    Rush is in a contract year. JOB is simply telling him to step his game up.

    He has under produced and has not shown much room for improvment while behing on the wrong side of the headlines. I see nothing wrong with what JOB said. George is a attacker and brings some serious intensity on the defensive side. That was rush's golden goose and now we have a rookie that can do it. Rush better get that three point shot up to 45% and learn how to finish in traffic or else his days in the league are numbered.

    He may be a good backup on a team but honestly we have one of the weakest SG spots in the NBA and rush may have a hard time cracking that rotation. The open market may not be to kind to him.

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    Default Re: The bluntness of Pacers coach Jim O'Brien

    Quote Originally Posted by pacer4ever View Post
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    i want him fired now
    Well, that's blunt too.

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    Default Re: The bluntness of Pacers coach Jim O'Brien

    Well I think it goes back to what was said early in the article.

    What he said about AJ and Josh, is just down right nasty.

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    Default Re: The bluntness of Pacers coach Jim O'Brien

    Quote Originally Posted by Sookie View Post
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    Well I think it goes back to what was said early in the article.

    What he said about AJ and Josh, is just down right nasty.
    ya and then say that stuff about Lance. He should just keep his mouth shut.

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    Default Re: The bluntness of Pacers coach Jim O'Brien

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    Well I think it goes back to what was said early in the article.

    What he said about AJ and Josh, is just down right nasty.
    Who could possibly enjoy playing for this guy? Aside from all the other issues these statements demoralize young players.

    AJ knows where he was picked. He doesn't need his coach putting it in the newspaper.

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    Default Re: The bluntness of Pacers coach Jim O'Brien

    Quote Originally Posted by speakout4 View Post
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    Who could possibly enjoy playing for this guy? Aside from all the other issues these statements demoralize young players.

    AJ knows where he was picked. He doesn't need his coach putting it in the newspaper.
    especially when
    1. Where AJ was picked had very little to do with his talent (obviously)
    2. Just a month previously, JOB was telling everyone how AJ was the steal of the draft and could start for a .500 team right now (which was better than the Pacers..) and could possibly be a championship caliber PG.

    And to add on to that, the constant "He's playing great" *bench* which has happened three times...

    And then Josh... And Rush and Roy haven't exactly been treated well.

    I think with those four, the answer is pretty simple. Before now, he doesn't like Rush, but he had no one else to play. He does like Roy, but Roy didn't fit in his system. He does like AJ, but he wants vet PGs, last year both were vets, and this year we traded for a young PG, so he has to play (AJ better have one heck of a game Tuesday, if he'd like to be the primary backup)...and with Josh, he didn't think Josh was good, figured out he was wrong and his ego was bruised...but now he doesn't have a choice, and has to play him.

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    Default Re: The bluntness of Pacers coach Jim O'Brien

    Quote Originally Posted by pacer4ever View Post
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    ya and then say that stuff about Lance. He should just keep his mouth shut.
    To be fair, I'd rather have a coach who is blunt rather than the polar opposite. Someone like Vinny Del Negro or Mike D'Antoni would be talking about how "Lance is coming along, and right now his defense isn' t at the level of the quick guards, but it's really coming along each and every day." I don't like to hear that bullcrap.

    Of course, Jim also does that with alot of guys. Particularly AJ and Rush before.

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    Default Re: The bluntness of Pacers coach Jim O'Brien

    Quote Originally Posted by BringJackBack View Post
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    To be fair, I'd rather have a coach who is blunt rather than the polar opposite. Someone like Vinny Del Negro or Mike D'Antoni would be talking about how "Lance is coming along, and right now his defense isn' t at the level of the quick guards, but it's really coming along each and every day." I don't like to hear that bullcrap.

    Of course, Jim also does that with alot of guys. Particularly AJ and Rush before.
    I wouldn't rather have JOB than Rick, but it's true Rick was pretty boring when it came to comments on players. He was the ultimate diplomat/politician, which is probably the best way to go, but as a fan it was frustrating.

    Of course, it's hard to take seriously what JOB says, so there are issues there as well.
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    “People talk about how quiet he [McKey] is, but he’s really been helpful. He gives a lot of insight to players in how to guard certain teams and what their weaknesses are. The whole team listens to him, and it makes my job a lot easier. Having players like him is what pro basketball is all about for me.” —Larry Brown

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    Default Re: The bluntness of Pacers coach Jim O'Brien

    Quote Originally Posted by BringJackBack View Post
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    To be fair, I'd rather have a coach who is blunt rather than the polar opposite. Someone like Vinny Del Negro or Mike D'Antoni would be talking about how "Lance is coming along, and right now his defense isn' t at the level of the quick guards, but it's really coming along each and every day." I don't like to hear that bullcrap.

    Of course, Jim also does that with alot of guys. Particularly AJ and Rush before.
    i would not want to play for a coach like JOB i would rather the coach just be boring. Lance could probly play just fine at the SG but JOB has to say that BS and keeps playing him at the one. If he was starting he could problly ave 18ppg right now( i dont want him staring just proving a point.) AND HE would be a hell of a lot better on D

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    Default Re: The bluntness of Pacers coach Jim O'Brien

    Quote Originally Posted by McKeyFan View Post
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    Of course, it's hard to take seriously what JOB says..
    This is my #1 issue with JOb. I think he packages things for people to hear to further an agenda. I know a lot of people do that...but he's a master.

    Let me put this bluntly. The author of that SI.com article is very naive.

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    Default Re: The bluntness of Pacers coach Jim O'Brien

    I have no problem with his assessment of Lance right now.
    Ash from Army of Darkness: Good...Bad...I'm the guy with the gun.

    This is David West, he is the Honey Badger, West just doesn't give a *****....he's pretty bad *ss cuz he has no regard for any other Player or Team whatsoever.

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    Default Re: The bluntness of Pacers coach Jim O'Brien

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueNGold View Post
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    This is my #1 issue with JOb. I think he packages things for people to hear to further an agenda. I know a lot of people do that...but he's a master.

    Let me put this bluntly. The author of that SI.com article is very naive.
    If he is communicating through the media rather than face to face he is cowardly. Humiliating people is never a good strategy. I think that was written in a cave somewhere a long time ago.

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    Default Re: The bluntness of Pacers coach Jim O'Brien

    Quote Originally Posted by CableKC View Post
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    I have no problem with his assessment of Lance right now.
    Lance is a SG and he keeps playing him at the PG

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    Default Re: The bluntness of Pacers coach Jim O'Brien

    Quote Originally Posted by speakout4 View Post
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    If he is communicating through the media rather than face to face he is cowardly.
    Darren Collison was on the Dakich show a couple of days ago. When asked what he'd done today he said, "We just watched a lot of film, get yelled at." Dakich says you were up 20 in the second half, what the hell? "There's never nothing we can do right around here, but it's good for us. It's good yelling."

    Sounds like he's letting them know face-to-face.....
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    Default Re: The bluntness of Pacers coach Jim O'Brien

    Quote Originally Posted by pacer4ever View Post
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    Lance is a SG and he keeps playing him at the PG
    Lance can only be our 3rd string PG behind Collison and Price. He is suited to SG. Likely a 3rd string SG this year too.

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