San Antonio’s Greg Popovich is 2012’s NBA Coach of the Year. Chicago’s Tom Thibadeau was second. Third? Indiana’s Frank Vogel.
Big kudos to coach Frank for coming in third. Pop got 77 of the first place votes to finish with 467 points, while Thibs got 27 first place votes for 315 points. Frank was a distant third with 7 first place votes and 161 points, but it’s a great accomplishment nonetheless.
Was the ranking deserved? Absolutely. Could the Pacers have done even better? I think so.
The Pacers finished with their best regular season record (by percentage) since the 2003-2004 season and the 5th best record in the entire league. This certainly exceeded the expectations of most, but when you consider the shortened schedule, the depth of the team and the new talent (David West, George Hill, and Leandro Barbosa for a little bit), is it really more impressive than say the coaching performances of guys like Tyrone Corbin of the Jazz, Doc Rivers of the Celtics or Lionel Hollins of the Grizzlies? Then again, I suppose you need to consider that Vogel is the league’s youngest coach (not yet 39) and that this is his first full year as a head coach.
What I’m trying to say, I think, is that Vogel has done a commendable job given the circumstances, but the Pacers still have a lot of room for improvement. Their offense is still a little too simple and the team’s mental toughness and ability to close out games is still questionable. But hey, it’s already a big step forward from the Jim O’Brien days. I just wonder how good the Pacers would be if they had an experienced, disciplined veteran coach like Pops or Thibs. But the great thing with Vogel is that he can grow with this young team. Congratulations.