After firing Jim O'Brien, the Pacers reportedly want the former Cavs coach leading their bench.
After getting waxed by the Bulls on Saturday, Pacers President Larry
Bird held a Sunday press conference to announce Coach Jim O'Brien was
fired. Mike Brown could be the frontrunner for the permanent position, Adrian Wojnarowski reported at Yahoo! Sports, also naming Tyrone Corbin as a possible replacement and noting Bird doesn't intend to coach again:
Assistant coach Frank Vogel will take over as interim coach for the
remainder of the season, but multiple sources told Yahoo! Sports that
former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Mike Brown - once a Pacers assistant -
will be a primary focus of the search to replace O'Brien on a long-term
Brown was Rick Carlisle's top assistant in Indiana from 2003-05 and
sources said he has remained well-regarded by Pacers management.
Utah Jazz assistant coach Ty Corbin is also expected to be a strong candidate, sources said.
Pacers president Larry Bird had no interest in returning to the bench
as a coach. Despite leading the Pacers to the NBA Finals during his
three-year run run as head coach, Bird had an elite coaching staff that
included Carlisle and Dick Harter. O'Brien had a much more
inexperienced and unaccomplished staff. Nevertheless, Bird never
considered a return to the bench, even as interim coach.
Brown is a hell of a coach. He'll always be linked to being a
ceremonial figure to monitor LeBron James from his days coaching the
Cavaliers, but played a big role in improving their team defense. I don't see it as questionable that he deserved the Coach of the Year honor he received in 2009.
On the flip-side, before the Pacers lost seven of eight, they were
already among the most efficient defenses in the league. Where Brown
would help would be to slow down their pace to play more quality
offense. Indy pace is high because that team's constantly chucking
terrible shots instead of being aggressive and creating baskets with
The Pacers have very good shooters and Brown stresses the inside-out game that would benefit Indy.
I've only heard great things about Corbin, but couldn't comment much on him. I will add that it's a shame Bird won't go back to the bench.
The Pacers are now 17-27, third in the Central Division, and tenth in the East. They're only two games behind the conference #8 seed Bobcats.