|Frank Vogel will return as the Pacers coach.|
Overall, though, Vogel has grown as a coach, he's all about doing what he thinks needs to be done to win, and yet, he understands that there are a lot of egos involved in managing an NBA basketball team and keeping the players somewhat satisfied. That's something some coaches never get, let alone try to be good at. Vogel will continue to improve with the X's and O's. And hopefully he has a enough respect from his players that if one of them doesn't do what is asked on a particular play, he can take them out for a minute or two to get his point across.
One of the best parts of Vogel's press conference was him saying that everyone needs to improve, and he included himself in that statement. That was a good thing because if Vogel holds himself accountable, then that means the players and other coaches and other staff members in the organization must do so as well.
Hopefully that will lead to Vogel following through with some type of discipline when a player goes off on his own instead of running a play, or when a player doesn't get back on defense after a made free throw allowing the other team to get an easy shot, or when a player throws a sloppy behind the back pass that leads to a turnover when a regular overhead pass would do just fine.
There's no doubt that these things are part of the learning curve for what is largely a young team, when you consider Paul George and Lance Stephenson (who Bird says he really wants to keep) are on the younger side of 25.
It won't take a radical change to make the offense better, just some adjustments. One of the key things will be learning how to make better passes into the post. For as good as Paul George was for much of the year, even when he was at his best, he does not understand how to make a good pass into the post. It has a little bit to do with the angle of the pass and a little bit with learning to wait for the post player (usually either Roy Hibbert or David West) to establish themselves and get good balance. If the team as whole can make that adjustment, it would be a good start in helping Hibbert become an more effective post player on offense.
And the point in all of this is that there are ways for this team to get better without making drastic personnel changes. Remember, sometimes it takes a team a few years to get over that hump and into the finals. It happened with the Pistons backs in the late 1980s and early 1990s, then with the Bulls after that.
And as Vogel mentioned several times in his press conference, there is room for improvement for everyone.
The question that only the Pacers players can answer though is if losing to the Heat in the conference finals for two straight years hurts enough to motivate them to want to be better. Hopefully the sting will be there for another full season. Because if they aren't tired of losing to the Heat yet, then no amount of patience will get them to that elusive next level.