By Rob Mahoney
This season had absolutely disastrous potential for the Pacers, who have been without Danny Granger since the opener, dealt with Roy Hibbert's chronically underwhelming production and suffered through the ineffectiveness of new additions D.J. Augustin and Gerald Green. All of the above translated to an early struggle for wins, as Indiana dropped six of its first nine games and appeared to be in serious jeopardy of falling out of the playoff picture entirely.
But today, the Pacers are sitting pretty with the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference and the stingiest defense in the league, all without having a full roster at their disposal. Credit is due to the likes of Paul George, David West and George Hill, naturally, but also coach Frank Vogel. Indiana has been a top-10 defensive team in both of Vogel's full seasons as head coach, and it's Indiana's success on that side of the ball that has given a futile run-and-gun outfit a much more stable identity.
As such, the Pacers announced on Monday that Vogel has received a contract extension, though no terms of the deal were disclosed. From the release:
"This is a good deal for Frank and the franchise," said Pacers President of Basketball Operations Donnie Walsh. "Frank has done a great job turning our team around since he became coach and deserves the chance to continue the work he and his staff have started."Vogel isn't a visionary with a complex system, but he largely does good strategic work in getting this balanced group of capable players to work off of one another. He's also just 39, and hardly resting on his laurels. Vogel has been pushing his team from Day 1, and though his style is largely informed by an old-school sensibility, the Pacers have adopted his sometimes brash personality. It suits Indiana well, and has given the Pacers a lift since Vogel took over for Jim O'Brien in 2011. There's nothing to argue with here; Vogel has certainly done a good enough job to stick around, and he stands to grow as a tactician over the course of his extension.
Said Vogel, “I’m honored that Donnie, Kevin [General Manager Pritchard] and Mr. Simon [owner Herb Simon] have such belief and faith in me to be their coach in the foreseeable future. We’ve established a great connection with our community the last two years, both on and off the court and I look forward to continuing that."