Indiana Pacers: The case for and against reuniting with Rick Carlisle

Rick Carlisle - Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Rick Carlisle - Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /
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Indiana Pacers, Rick Carlisle
Rick Carlisle – Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

Why the Indiana Pacers should hire Rick Carlisle

King of Adjustments?

In 2011, he led Dallas to a title with a perimeter-focused offense that revolved around Dirk Nowitzki to upend heavy favorites Miami Heat, riding a core filled with seasoned veterans who are past their primes. In 2014, his eighth-seeded squad turned out to be the biggest threat to eventual champions San Antonio Spurs. Despite a glaring mismatch, his switching defense perplexed the Spurs’ intricate ball movement and forced a seven-game series.

Most recently, the Luka Doncic-led Dallas teams threatened definitive favorites LA Clippers and came close to a series win. While their opponents feasted by playing small, Carlisle emphasized size without compromising the offense, going as far as playing two behemoths against the Clips’ 5-out lineup to punish their aggressive defense on Doncic.

Despite being an experienced coach, Carlisle is not afraid to cling to new norms to usher in the modern game. With Nowitzki, he was known for his innovative half court sets and play calls on offense and defense. With Doncic, he catered to the phenom’s outstanding court vision by implementing a read-and-react playstyle that empowers the players even without the drawing board. It even cultivated in the league’s most efficient offense in history in 2019-2020.

The Indiana Pacers should hold his strengths in high regard. For a team recently led by a coach who adjusted merely because of principle instead of necessity, and before him, by a coach who was outright allergic to change, someone with a championship pedigree who can shift gears to benefit the team is most ideal for the job, especially with the franchise needing clarity on the ceiling of its current core.