As the Indiana Pacers are moving forward after firing head coach Frank Vogel, the choice of who will Larry Bird hire next will be in question and rumors are swelling that Mike D’Antoni and former Pacers’ point guard Mark Jackson are in for the running.
Bird has been very vocal of changing the system of the Pacers from a half court oriented offense to a run-and-gun type of play. This has been the disagreement between Bird and Vogel, but since they have already move on Bird searches for a new head coach that would fit in with the system he as in mind and already Bird had dismiss any speculation of a pending Celtic reunion as he will not hire former teammate Kevin McHale.
“I would not do that to Kevin, to have him work for me. That’s not fair. I respect him too much,” Bird said.
Bird: Kevin McHale won’t be a candidate: “I would not do that to Kevin, to have him work for me. That’s not fair. I respect him too much."
— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) May 5, 2016
To hire D’Antoni would seem to be a perfect fit for the Pacers brand of offense as he has the talent to space out players on the floor to get their rhythm going and Fox Sports reports that D’Antoni is not shy prioritizing one side of the court over the other. He also does not hesitate to downsize his rotation in the spirit of running up and down to score as many points as possible.
The 64-year old Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach has become a hot item for other teams to set up an interview with the Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kings and even the Pacers have join the list as well.
Another front runner for the vacant position is former Golden State Warrior head coach and former Pacers player Mark Jackson. Bird spoke highly of what Jackson has accomplished during his tenure with the Warriors.
“[He] did an excellent job. Helped Golden State where they are at today,” Bird added.
#Pacers Bird on Mark Jackson: Did excellent job. Helped Golden State get where they're at today.
— Conrad Brunner (@ConradSBrunner) May 5, 2016
Jackson is also an excellent candidate for the up tempo-like style that Bird wants to implement with the team to maximize Paul George’s potentials on both ends of the floor. Bird even noted that he wants Warriors type of flow of offense; could that be a sign that Jackson has an edge in landing the job?
In his three years guiding the Warriors, Jackson has a record of 121 wins and 109 loses, he also has led the team to two playoff runs in his last two years. Though he was not able to give them a championship, but he was able to lay down the foundations which Steve Kerr is now reaping.
With Vogel out of the picture, Bird has a tough decision to make on who would be their next coach that would fit in the system that he wants the team to hold on to for next season. Aside from the hiring the next coach, Bird will also take time to figure out which of the free agents would best suit them and which rookies is worth the picking in the Draft.
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