The Indiana Pacers have been struggling in a major way down the stretch of the regular season, and there simply haven’t been any signs that the struggling will end any time soon. Players are usually the cause of a team struggling, but Larry Bird called Frank Vogel out earlier in the season for his coaching ability and not disciplining his team when needed. As the season winds down and the Pacers continue losing games at an alarming rate, there are more questions than answers.
There is one very simple question that many people in Indiana and around the NBA want to know. Is Frank Vogel’s job secure long-term, even if the Pacers don’t reach the level of success in the playoffs that they expect?
Vogel took over the Pacers a few years back when Bird finally made the decision to fire Jim O’Brien. The Pacers immediately became a better team with Vogel at the helm and rebounded to make a playoff run. There’s no doubt that the short-term addition of Vogel has been a success, but is he the type of head coach that can take the Pacers to a championship?
One of the biggest issues that Vogel has faced has been his unwillingness to switch up his rotations and bench a player who isn’t playing well. Bird called him out on allowing players to play with an arrogance and entitlement that seems to have turned the Pacers from the ultimate team first mentality, to being a bunch of selfish players who want to win games by themselves. If Vogel doesn’t learn how to get his players under control, he will likely be in even hotter water than he already is.
All that being said, there are good characteristics of Vogel that made the Pacers give him a contract to keep him around. The qualities that Vogel lacks could very well be “coached” into him by Bird if they so chose to pursue that. Indiana still has the talent and potential to win an NBA championship this season, but they need to come together like they were at the beginning of the season.
Overall, this will be a very intriguing situation to keep an eye on as the regular season wraps up and the playoffs begin. If the Pacers are knocked out in the playoffs, especially before the Eastern Conference Finals, it is more than likely that the rumors will heat up about Vogel’s future. It isn’t likely that Vogel’s future is in jeopardy, but it certainly is something to keep an eye on if the Pacers don’t reach their goals.
Evan Massey is a Staff Writer for HoopsHabit.com. Follow Evan on Twitter at @Massey_Evan.