Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird criticized coach Frank Vogel‘s shift back to a lineup with two bigs in the middle of the season, a move that rookie Myles Turner helped to prompt, as Nate Taylor of the Indianapolis Star examines. Turner paid dividends after the Pacers drafted him at No. 11 last year and Bird, in spite of his desire to move away from a traditional lineup, is impressed with the rookie. Vogel is too, as Turner relays.
“Myles Turner emerged,” Vogel said after Sunday’s game. “Myles Turner showed what he’s made of by having a great series in his first go-around in the NBA playoffs. He just had a great series. He didn’t shoot the ball well tonight, but he played well, had dominant defensive stretches and learned to read and trust the pass. There’s a lot of reasons to be excited and hopeful about our future because of that kid.”
See more from Indiana, where Vogel’s future is suddenly and surprisingly uncertain:
- Soon-to-be free agent Ian Mahinmi indicated after the game Sunday that he’d like to re-sign, Taylor notes in the same piece.
- Bird doesn’t want to leave Vogel’s job status up in the air for too long, telling Gregg Doyel of the Indianapolis Star that he knows other job opportunities exist for the coach. That would suggest Bird’s mind is already made up, argues Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. Vogel has performed capably in parts of six seasons with Indiana and did well to win 45 games this season, Berger posits, but Bird thought the seventh-seeded Pacers would upset the No. 2 seed Raptors in the first round of the playoffs, as Doyel relays. Still, the issue doesn’t appear to be about performance nearly as much as philosophical differences, Berger contends.
- Those in the locker room Sunday saw 2015/16 as a successful campaign, and Paul George, under contract for at least two more years, expressed optimism about what’s to come, as the Star’s Candace Buckner relays. “At the end of the day we had a good year, had a good run,” George said. “We had a rookie in our lineup [Turner] who’s going to get better, going to learn, going to come back a completely different player. This is a two-seed. A 55-plus win team. We took it to Game 7 … .”