Jim O’Brien

Brian Shaw to interview to be Pacers assistant coach

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Just a few years back, Brian Shaw got the chance to interview to be the head coach of the Indiana Pacers. Didn’t work out, they went with Jim O’Brien instead.

Now, Shaw is back in Indiana interviewing, but this time to be the lead assistant for Frank Vogel.

That’s what Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star tweeted. Shaw will meet with Vogel and Larry Bird about the position.

Shaw has been the lead assistant for Phil Jackson the last two years in Los Angeles and has been on the staff there since 2004 (he worked as a scout for the team for a couple years before moving to the bench). He has been knocking on the door of getting a head coaching job for years, interviewing a lot of places but never being the guy who gets the job.

Shaw could be a good fit, he brings a new perspective and some quality playoff experience to Vogel’s staff. Shaw was well liked by Lakers players — Kobe Bryant and others pushed for him to get the Lakers coaching job but Jim Buss wanted to rid the organization of all things Jackson.

People happy that Jim O’Brien is out include Tyler Hansbrough

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Among the laundry list complaints about Jim O’Brien in Indiana was his constant tinkering with the lineup. Players like routine. O’Brien kept changing the rotations nightly. Frustration ensued.

O’Brien’s gone, Frank Vogel is in and the rotations are settled.

That means Tyler Hansbrough is headed to the bench — and he’s fine with that. He just wanted to know his role, he told the Indianapolis Star.

“It was frustrating because you didn’t know what was going to happen,” Hansbrough said. “You didn’t know how to prepare. It was one of those things where if I wasn’t going to play, I wish I knew….”

“It’s going to be fun now,” Hansbrough said. “Now I know how to prepare for each game. There’s no more guessing. I can be mentally and physically ready instead of not knowing and being out in the dark.”

Josh McRoberts will start at the four for the Pacers, Hansbrough will be tasked with being a scoring force off the bench. Which is fine, he at least knows what he is supposed to do.

Pacers coach Jim O’Brien fired


UPDATE 1:22 p.m. EST: The Indianapolis Star reports that assistant coach Frank Vogel will be named interim coach.

Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star as well as Yahoo! Sports are reporting that Pacers coach Jim O’Brien has been fired. The report comes just days after his job was said to be safe for the remainder of the season as the team evaluated both he and GM David Morway and Larry Bird finished out what may have been his last season as head of basketball operations with his contract expiring.

O’Brien was 121-169 in four seasons with the Pacers. The team never really showed much movement towards progress, even with standout Danny Granger and a hot start to this season.  Roy Hibbert has regressed, the point guard play continues to be muddled among their three quality players at the position, and their team defense has lapped significantly. Rumors first surfaced that O’Brien may be on his way out in Indiana as ownership was reportedly more and more concerned with the direction of the team. We’ll keep you updated on who is tapped to replace O’Brien as interim coach and what this means for the organization as the day progresses.

Pacers have no plans to fire O’Brien

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It’s been a rough stretch for the Indiana pacers. After a promising start to the season, the Pacers have dropped five games in a row, and have lost eight of their last 10 contests. They are currently 1/2 a game out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern conference, and are heading in the wrong direction fast.

Given the team’s poor play and seeming lack of effort during those games, some people have begun to question whether or not coach Jim O’Brien will make it through the year. However, Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star says that the Pacers have no intention of firing O’Brien this season:

The hot topic surrounding the team is coach Jim O’Brien.

Barring a sudden change of thought, the Pacers have no intention of replacing O’Brien, who is in the final year of his contract.

They wouldn’t move any of the assistants up and there’s no point in bringing in somebody from the outside because the players would have to learn the new coach’s system on the fly over the final 41 games of the season.

I said it last summer, and I’ll say it again, there’s only one person to coach this team if there’s a change.

His name is Larry Bird.

Bird has no intention of coaching.

Well, there you have it. For better or worse, the Pacers are going to stick with their guy for the rest of the season. If O’Brien does manage to right the ship, the Pacers’ patience with him will be rewarded. If the Pacers continue their slide, they can simply let O’Brien’s contract run out and begin the team’s rebuilding process in earnest.

Is Pacers rookie Paul George about to take Brandon Rush’s job?

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When one gets hit over the head enough times, one learns a lesson.

That lesson for the Pacers is that Brandon Rush is inconsistent, and gets lost on defense at times. For evidence of the later, watch the fantastic Sebastian Pruiti at NBA Playbook break down how Rush cheats off Carmelo Anthony last night again and again, even while ‘Melo has the hottest hand in the building.

It’s often hard to figure out the thinking behind the rotations under Jim O’Brien in Indiana, but one thing he is thinking about that makes some sense is giving rookie Paul George a lot of Rush’s minutes, he told the Indianapolis Star.

“The decision that I have to make is when do I move Paul definitely in front of Brandon,” O’Brien said. “That’s coming if we keep getting sporadic play.”

That comment comes off as classic coach “motivate a player through the media” speak, just O’Brien trying to light a fire under Rush. But it’s still a good idea.

In fewer minutes, George has been a more efficient offensive player than Rush, shooting higher percentage (46.4 to 42.8 percent) and he is scoring more points per possession (1.05 for George to 0.96 for Rush), according to Synergy. George gets more of his opportunities off spot up and in transition (and the athletic George thrives when he runs with Darren Collison, shooting 71.8 percent in transition). Rush gets more of his shots in half court sets coming off screens or as a pick-and-roll ball handler, but there is that consistency issue.

Can George defend consistently against a higher level of players, either as a starter or first wing player off the bench? Really, there’s only one way to find out. He may be inconsistent, but you’ve already got inconsistent with Rush. Might as well let a kid who can grow get the minutes now.