And your NBA Coach of the Year is…

Have you ever heard of Frank Vogel?  Be honest, have you?

Most of you are well-read basketball fans, but I’m assuming you haven’t.

I knew who he was, but I didn’t really.

When I was chatting with a friend the other night and trying to recall the name of the coach responsible for bringing the Indiana Pacers to a three seed, I drew a complete blank.

Keep in mind these are not your Reggie Miller, Rik Smits, Dale Davis Pacers of yesteryear.  Aside from Danny Granger (you do know him, right?) and maybe Roy Hibbert, go ahead and chatter me off their remaining roster spots.  I’m waiting.

The 2012 Pacers are not a team we (and by we, I mean anyone outside of Indianapolis) pay much attention to.  They’re not flashy.  They don’t sell newspapers.   But they win.  I’ve watched my fair share of basketball this season and can’t say that the Pacers made a huge impression on me.  But they did on the Eastern Conference standings.  They finished the season twenty games over .500.  For the record, that’s only four games behind the Miami Heat and I’m pretty sure you know who’s on that roster.

That’s why Frank Vogel, a coach we’ve never heard of, coaching a bunch of players (David West, Leandro Barbosa, George Hill) we’ve heard of but forgotten about, should take home NBA Coach of the Year Honors.  In fact, it should be unanimous.

Let’s look at his competition.  Greg Popovich’s Spurs surprisingly finished atop the Western Conference but he’s already won the award.  You can’t give it to Tom Thibodeau, who led his Bulls to the best record in the East.  He won it last year.  They can’t give it to Erik Spoelstra.  We’re still counting down the days until Pat Riley takes over, or until he becomes the next Pat Riley, whichever comes first.  You can’t give it to Mike Brown of the Lakers, for we know it’s really Kobe Bryant coaching that team.  You can’t give it to Oklahoma City’s Scotty Brooks.  After boasting the best record in the Western Conference all season long, his young and talented team lost that honor late to the Spurs.  Besides, all those teams were supposed to be good.  And while I thought either George Karl or Doug Collins might have had a shot at the beginning of the season (do you realize these two lifers have NEVER won the award?), this year is all about Vogel.  It has to be.

I didn’t know much about Vogel so I figured I’d share what I learned about him after surfing the internet.  According to NBA.com, at 38, he’s the second youngest coach in the league.  Like Spoelstra, Vogel was a video coordinator serving under a Kentucky guy, Spoelstra under Riley and Vogel under Pitino.  Vogel took over last year after Jim O’Brien was fired and most importantly, he has Larry Bird’s stamp of approval.  Perhaps you’ve heard of that guy.

So now you know who Frank Vogel is.  As the eighth seed in last year’s playoffs, his Pacers gave the Chicago Bulls all they wanted, losing in five games, but with each one highly contested.   In the first round of this year’s playoffs, they’ll face a dysfunctional Orlando Magic team whose injured superstar is demanding to be traded from his hospital bed.  Nothing is certain, which is why they play the games, but it’s hard to imagine a team that’s played well together all season losing to a team with no togetherness at all.

Either way, we’ll soon see how far the young Vogel can take this Pacers team and whether he’ll have a little hardware to show for it.  Perhaps then, more of us will have heard of him.

16 thoughts on “And your NBA Coach of the Year is…

  1. Pingback: And your NBA Coach of the Year is… - BallHyped, NBA | BallHyped Sports Blogs

  2. Vogel is well-deserving, but let’s talk about a real dark-horse candidate.

    Paul Silas should get something for not marching into Michael Jordan’s office and breaking his neck.

  3. My top four candidates whom I feel are noteworthy candidates are Vogel , Doug Collins , Scott Brooks and Pop’ .

    It’s not simply about their respective team records but what they’ve been able to achieve when you simply look at the makeup of the teams in terms of their rosters .

    Anyone of the quartet would be a worthy recipient of the Coach of the Year Award !

    MWP says it was his emotions that got the better of him in the elbowing incident that leveled James Harden and that led to the player’s concussion. Wasn’t that the same excuse he could’ve used with the regard to the Palace of Auburn Hills’ melee` ? See this is what happens when a player with bi-polar disorder comes off his god damn meds and is thought of as a productive athlete . Only Mike Brown would in some way try and defend his player’s antics but then says he felt something needed to be done by the commissioner . The Lakers are a gutless and classless organization as they should have been the ones to mete out any necessary punishment including what’s within the scope of the NBA hierarchy . A seven game suspension is a god damn joke ! Especially in light of MWP’s salary . Had that been a more prominent player (LBJ, D-Wade, ‘melo , CPIII, Dirk , or Blake Griffin) injured , no doubt the punishment meted out would have been far more severe . Stern is an a_s in terms of his explanation !

    BTW , I left a response to your comment concerning Urban Meyer . By all means make a return and reply to it if you choose to .

    tophatal …………

  4. I liked Collins early, Al, but the Sixers melted down late in the season, nearly missing the playoffs. Pops is the best coach in the league but he’s still coaching Timmy, Tony and Manu, all perenial all-stars. How many all-star appearances are on that Pacers roster? And Brooks did a nice job as well but he’s also coaching one of the best players in the league. I think they’ll give it to Vogel and it should be a landslide.

    I remember the first time I heard Artest open his mouth. I immediately wondered to myself what this guy would score on an IQ test. Look, I’m no snob because I can form a complete sentence but Artest is, without a doubt, not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Personally, I think the seven-game suspension was light but, as Jim Rome pointed out, Peace plays on the Lakers, and the league needs the Lakers in the playoffs for ratings.

  5. Vogel will likely finish 4th or 5th but he did do a decent job this season. Here is how it will likely go…mark my words:

    1) Thibs
    2) Doc Rivers
    3) Pop
    4) Ty Corbin
    5) Vogel

  6. SDSG…

    No way Thibs wins it back to back, dude. I just don’t see it. The guy’s got the league MVP on his roster.

    Doc? Really? I don’t know, man. They’re still the Celtics, a pretty good team.

    See my answers above for Pop.

    And Corbin did a nice job but his team finished eighth, only making the playoffs on their final game of the season. The Pacers made the playoffs with ease.

    I smell a wager.

  7. Chris

    It took GM Larry Bird years to muster this Pacers’ roster together and they really lucked out when they got David West ! Need I say anymore on the matter ? West in conjunction with Granger are the heart and soul of the Pacers .

    The Pacers may well bi_ch slap the Magic into last month once their first round series is over !

    Who says crime doesn’t pay ? McCourt walks away with close to $800 million after the sale of the Dodgers but Selig is still trying to spin it as a positive for baseball . How so , when he favored the winning bid even before the whole process had been determined , therein drawing the anger of some team owners ?

  8. Were you aware that Metta ‘World Peace’ also suffers from bi-polar disorder ? ‘nough said ! I’d hate to really see him lose it in terms of his behavior . But then again the Palace of Auburn Hills should have been enough of an indication what to expect down the line .

  9. What, no Stan the man Van Gundy. Don’t you think he deserves something for putting up with Dwight. Maybe Mr. Congeniality.

  10. Al…

    It’s kind of hard to think impartially about that Magic-Pacers series. I do think the Magic enough talent on that roster to win that series.

    I just think they’ve had too dysfunctional of a season to regroup now, and I don’t know for sure whether that team has Stan’s back enough to man up and play for him.

  11. Aer…

    You know how you enter gambling pools and the last place person gets their money back?

    Well, Stan Van might want to consider that option. The job he’s done with this team this year has left a lot to be desired.

    I’m not sure how much is his fault but the buck has to stop somewhere.

    His is certainly not the most talented team in the league and they did reach as high as the third best record in the East at one point… but you can’t help but think he’s teetering on the plank as we speak.

    Not sure anything can save him from the unemployment line.

  12. Chris

    If Jerry Springer were ever to tackle an episode to do with sports and being dysfunctional then the Magic would be the “perfect fit ” for such an episode !

    So the Bucs didn’t go with what many believe to be the ‘perfect pick’ for the organization ? Either way I think that Schiano and his staff did well . Let’s hope it matriculates into something great this upcoming season .

    tophatal ……

  13. Beni…

    Well, they went ahead and gave it to Pops. Can’t say that’s entirely undeserved although if I count all the championship rings on the Spurs roster and compare them to the Pacers, I’d find a huge discrepancy.

    The reason I liked Vogel over Pop is because Pop’s team already knows how to win. They’ve been there before. There young Pacers haven’t and that has to count for something.

  14. Al…

    I can just imagine Van Gundy on one side of the Springer stage and D12 on the other, looking at each other like scorned lovers.

    And as you know, Schiano’s making a splash here in the area. Ticket sales are up and get this… we might not have games blacked out next season.

    Now THAT would be an accomplishment.

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