After a regular season that was filled with a lot of good moments, the Indiana Pacers have fallen on hard times. They were once considered a lock for the Eastern Conference Finals, now they’re fighting hard to knock off the No. 8 seed Atlanta Hawks.
On top of on-court struggles, there’s also word of a fight between Evan Turner and Lance Stephenson taking place. Come playoff time, that’s about the last thing you want as a team.
All of the above has lead to one possible thing — Frank Vogel being on the hot seat.
ESPN is even reporting that he’s coaching for his job and that anything short of two playoff series wins, could result in him being handed a pink slip. It seems harsh, but it’s not crazy talk either.
There’s no reason this Pacers team shouldn’t make the ECF, and there’s definitely no excuse if they lose to the Hawks in round one. If that happens you can almost guarantee that Vogel is gone.
So what if he does get canned? Who would the Pacers turn to?
An obvious choice would be George Karl. He’s the kind of coach that could get everyone bought in and back on the same page. He took the Bucks to the ECF for crying out loud.
But if Karl isn’t interested, is it possible that Larry Bird could come back down from the front office?
I highly doubt he wants that to happen, but I’d be shocked if he didn’t at least contemplate it if Indiana falters over the next couple of days or weeks.
The Pacers need an authority figure in a big way. Vogel seems like a fantastic coach, but as they say — is he a leader of men? We know that Larry Legend sure as heck is.
Bird hasn’t roamed the sidelines since way back in 2000 when he got Indiana to the Finals. The chances of him returning to that role aren’t great, but maybe an early round exit will light his coaching fire one more time?