Overall, Frank Vogel has had an incredible start to his head coaching career with the Indiana Pacers. In three plus seasons he has a combined record of 187-119 including back-to-back Central division championships. However, one thing we can all agree on is that the last month has been quite the struggle for the Pacers. Seemingly limping into the playoffs, many fans were on edge until the team was able to win Game 4 and take back home-court advantage.
Something that has been talked about constantly is the play of Pacers center Roy Hibbert (or lack thereof). He had gone the first three games of the series without a block which happened to be the longest block drought of his six-season career. Hibbert has also only averaged six points and 4.3 rebounds while shooting only 33 percent from the field this series with the Atlanta Hawks. These struggles put Vogel in a difficult position; does he shake up the starting lineup?
Everyone has an opinion nowadays and each move is analyzed extensively. Some have even gone as far as to say that Vogel should be removed as head coach. As much as the team showed up in Game 4, so did Vogel. He was able to match up his frontcourt in a way that was productive for his team — specifically in the final minutes of the fourth quarter when he went with the dual power forward set in David West and Luis Scola.
When Vogel began with the Pacers he inherited a young and immature team that seemed to be heading in the wrong direction. He instilled a defensive mentality that has moved his team to higher levels in each year. When a team struggles the coach is always on the hot seat and understandably so, but criticism of Vogel seems unwarranted to this point. He has moved his team to the top spot in the East, and with all that has happened this postseason, they are still tied up 2-2 heading back to Indianapolis for Game 5.
We live in a ‘what have you done for me lately’ society, and when the NBA coach of the year gets fired in the same season he won the award (George Karl last year with the Denver Nuggets), you just never know how things are going to play out. What we do know is that winning solves everything, and on Monday night, Vogel and the Pacers look to take one step closer to advancing in the NBA playoffs.