http://www.nba.com/pacers/news/question_050324.htmlQ. Given what Coach (Rick) Carlisle and his staff have done to keep this team together and in playoff contention, do you see him getting many votes for Coach of the Year? I can guess most of the votes will go to the guys in Phoenix, Seattle and Miami -- and deservedly so -- but with everything the Pacers have been through this year, it would have been easy to just pack it in and wait till next year. Thankfully they haven't, and everyone who follows this team knows it's due to guys like Rick, Larry Bird and Donnie Walsh. (From Tom in Fishers, IN)
A. If he doesn't get some votes, then those who cast the ballots haven't been paying attention. It shouldn't be hard to take a look at the Pacers' presence in the playoff race and understand the coaching staff has done a remarkable job. Carlisle's thoughtful, businesslike and straightforward approach has kept the Pacers looking forward all season long. He adopted a no-excuses mindset in November and has stayed with it, despite the unprecedented adversity this team has faced.
The team has reflected that mentality, developing the remarkable ability to shrug off the never-ending stream of injuries and simply keep going. In most other situations, one or two injuries to key players would completely derail a season. While the Pacers are no longer championship contenders, they have refused to accept that they can't be competitive, thus they have competed. I can't think of any other instance of a team surviving a scenario in which it was forced to play, on average, at half strength all season long.
While the players themselves deserve enormous credit for persevering, Carlisle and his staff have not only created the environment that has encouraged the players to keep moving forward, but they've basically had to create a half-dozen offensive systems to implement because the skills of the players available at various points of the season have been so different. On a motivational, technical and purely professional level, Carlisle and his staff have done a brilliant job this season.
I agree that Rick has been a great coach this year and should be up there with the best in terms of votes, but he will probably not get many votes because of our record.