For a week, Frank Vogel was the best coach in NBA history — statistically. He started off his NBA head coaching career a perfect 4-0 before dropping one (a game Indy probably should have won, it’s worth noting) to the Miami Heat. Still, the Pacers went 7-1 in Vogel’s first eight games at the helm and that .875 winning percentage gave him almost two full weeks above current best-NBA-coach-ever-by-winning-percentage Tom Thibodeau.
That all changed, of course, when the Pacers turned back into hot garbage. Under Vogel, the team has now literally inversed his strong start, going 1-7 in its last eight. And all this has naturally changed the tenor of the fanbase from “Let’s lock this Vogel guy up to a long-term coaching contract” to “Umm … yeah … let’s look around a little before we do anything drastic.”
Who knows what Larry Bird (presuming he’ll still be here when the decision is made) and owner Herb Simon ever had in mind for Vogel’s future, but as far as candidates for next year’s job goes, Marc Stein has thrown out two names: Chuck Person and Dwane Casey. (h/t @MikeWellsNBA)
Lakers assistant coach and Pacers legend Chuck Person, according to our old friend Sean Deveney at the Sporting News, will also be a candidate for the job. But word is there’s another name on Indy’s radar that hasn’t circulated much yet: Mavericks assistant coach Dwane Casey.
Casey is still waiting for his second shot at a head-coaching gig after his unceremonious dismissal in Minnesota halfway through the 2006-07 season and serious (but ultimately unsuccessful) flirtations in recent offseasons with Philadelphia, Chicago and Atlanta.
The link to Indiana, though, was inevitable, given Casey’s good work on Rick Carlisle’s staff in Dallas and how close Carlisle and Bird remain after their time together as teammates in Boston and Carlisle’s years in Indy both as Bird’s assistant and as head coach.
Jay wrote about the Rifleman’s success in Los Angeles not too long ago.