One of the many things lost to this Pacer team in Danny Granger’s absence this season has been a sense stability down the stretch in games. Pacer coach Frank Vogel and Pacer fans knew that – with rare exception – the wing combo of Danny and Paul George would be on the floor come the final few minutes of the fourth quarter.
This season, Vogel seems to have been experimenting with a running mate for George late in games, choosing from a trio of Lance Stephenson, Sam Young, and Gerald Green. Prior to Friday night’s game against Denver, Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star asked Frank how he made the choice.
“It’s typically, I’m goin’ with Lance, but if either Sam or Gerald are going good, I’ll consider those guys,” said Vogel. “If there are match-up situations that are tough for Lance, we’ll consider one of those other guys, as well.”
But what exactly is “going good?”
What makes Vogel go with Gerald Green or Sam Young over Lance Stephenson
“Sam has a knack for impacting the game in a variety of ways,” said Vogel. “Offensively, with cuts and offensive rebounds and making the open three every now and then. Just being a ball mover. But he has the ability to really change a game defensively and to have special performances on the defensive end.”
“Gerald has the ability to get red hot from the standpoint of perimeter shooting and athleticism. Lance is a creator. If we feel like we need somebody to help generate some offense, [he is] who we’re going with.”
Another thing that Vogel did not touch on, but almost certainly plays some factor in his choice, is trust.
As a coach, he’s trying to win games, and he’s going to go with the player with whom he’s most comfortable in a given situation. So while each player brings specific skill sets, as Frank mentions above, watching Vogel’s selection process in such situations gives interesting insight into both the way he thinks, and at least a little bit about how he feels about these players.
Worth watching as the season evolves.