I'm a novice X and O's guy. As such, I try to learn as much online, both by following this board (thanks a ton imawhat, especially!) and reading other sites.
One of my favorites is the nbaplaybook site, run by a pretty solid mind in Sebastian Pruitti:
In late January, he started this great nightly feature called the "Clipboard Awards". Every night, he reviews every team's plays immediately following timeouts. He picks the top three plays, cyberchalks them up, and keeps track of a point tally. At the end of the year, he's going to give honors to the top coach out of timeouts.
It's really good reaading, but what might come as a surprise is that Vogel is as of today in third place. At one stretch, he was the leader.
In some ways, this contest is a nice data point to judge our coach's merit. It particularly stood out to me watching the Heat game, with the brilliant McRoberts play at the hoop with 12 seconds left.
Sure, he might be instilling confidence and positive vibes... but I'm beginning to appreciate that he's a good X and O's guy as well.
A favorite quote from Pruitti:
Maybe he's taken some of the JOB positives and created a better hybrid in himself?We have a new leader, and his name is Frank Vogel, the interim head coach of the Indiana Pacers. It will be pretty silly if he ends up winning this thing and I am forced to call this the Frank Vogel award.
The article today by Aldridge also helps to fill in some blanks about what might make Vogel special?
Diamond in the rough? I'm beginning to think so.Vogel wrote letter after letter to Rick Pitino at Kentucky, and got the polite, 'Well, if you're ever around and we meet up, say hello and maybe we can talk" brushoff. But Vogel was able to work his way into the Five Star Camp in Pittsburgh in 1996, where he finally met Pitino and his assistant, O'Brien. Then, Vogel was told that Kentucky only took in-state kids to be student managers, and that it just wouldn't work out. But he was stubborn, and got back in front of O'Brien again. And O'Brien finally relented.
"I told him, 'I can do anything for you,'" Vogel said. "'I've got a good basketball mind. I can be in the film room 24 hours a day. You don't have to pay me nothing.' He made it happen with coach Pitino. And I didn't leave that building. I spent the whole (first) year there in the coaches' office."
When Pitino went to the Celtics, he took O'Brien and Vogel with him, making Vogel Boston's video coordinator. After Pitino was fired, O'Brien took over in Boston, got the Celtics to the Eastern Conference finals and put Vogel on the bench as an assistant.
After O'Brien resigned as Celtics coach early in 2004, he took Vogel with him to Philadelphia when he became head coach there. But O'Brien clashed with then-76ers general manager Billy King and was fired after one season. But that didn't reflect badly on Vogel, who kept a foot in the door by taking advance scouting jobs for the Lakers, and then the Wizards.
"I knew he was working his butt off for Jim," King said Sunday. "I just felt he was a guy that was a coach. That was all he wanted to do. I think getting back with Jim really allowed him to continue to develop as coach. Working with Dick Harter (in Boston) all those years, you're going to learn something. And he was willing to learn and listen. I think he was smart enough to stay with scouting when he was out of a coaching job."
I could pinch myself, honestly, watching this team transform itself over the past year. Bird seems to be setting himself up for quite a legacy here. It borders on magic.