Blogtable: The Vogel dilemma

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.


BLOGTABLE: Winners, losers so far | The Vogel dilemma



VIDEO: Inside the NBA looks at the Hawks’ last win over the Pacers and the rest of the series

> We’ve asked before, but it’s critical now: Is there anything Frank Vogel can do?

Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: It’s awfully late, perhaps too late for Vogel to make a bold move and stop his team’s freefall. But the straw he can grasp at is sitting down Roy Hibbert completely for what’s left of the Atlanta series. The big fellow has a bad matchup defensively vs. Pero Antic in the Hawks’ “stretch 5″ attack and doesn’t have a comparable edge at the other end because he’s not a go-to low-post guy. Get Chris Copeland or Luis Scola in there and see what happens, Hibbert’s fragile confidence be darned. Vogel soon enough will have either a new series – or a long offseason – to rebuild it.

Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: Vogel could take one of those hammers out of the bag from my previous answer. Or he could try to find a jersey that would fit 57-year-old Larry Bird. Or call the bowling alley for Andrew Bynum.  It’s not exactly the time to turn the season over to Ian Mahinmi. All you can do is appeal to their pride and their professionalism — if there’s any left — and go back to the fundamentals of training camp.

Frank Vogel (Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE)

Frank Vogel (Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE)

Jeff Caplan, NBA.com: I’m not a religious man. But I pray.

Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: No, it was critical before. We know this with hindsight because whatever funk the Pacers fell in, they never really came out. An occasional good moment, a lot of bad moments as the problems lingered. As for now, I would obviously consider a lineup change. That’s the natural reaction, and it’s not like I would have anything to lose at this point. Keep digging for answers.

John Schuhmann, NBA.com: He has to play small and short. By “small,” I mean that he should play David West at center, give Chris Copeland some playing time, space the floor, and defend the floor-spacing Hawks. By “short,” I mean to limit the rotation to guys that might actually contribute in a positive fashion. Play George Hill, Lance Stephenson, C.J. Watson and Paul George on the perimeter, with West, Copeland and Luis Scola up front. Evan Turner’s been as much of a disaster defensively as Roy Hibbert has been offensively.

Sekou Smith, NBA.com: Critical? How about a Code Red? If you’re Vogel, all you can really do is pray the Hawks stop knocking down 3-pointers. Seriously, I don’t think there is any coming back from the humiliation that the Pacers are drowning in against the Hawks. Vogel is a good man, a good coach and probably doesn’t deserve everyone piling on him right now. That said, it’s ultimately his responsibility to make sure his team is prepared for the challenges of the playoffs. And the fact that the No. 1 seed Pacers cannot solve the No. 8 seed Hawks speaks volumes about the disconnect between Vogel and his locker room.

Lang Whitaker, NBA.com All Ball Blog: As a lifelong Hawks watcher, the most chilling thing to me was at the end of Game 5 when Vogel finally put in Chris Copeland and the Pacers suddenly looked alive. He’s had that option tethered to the bench most of the season — playing smaller and creating more drive-and-kick space. But that mostly requires Hibbert on the bench. Maybe they stumbled into it, but the Pacers seem to have found a lineup concerned with action than reaction. Whether or not Vogel can commit to go small and seat franchise center Roy Hibbert on the bench the rest of the way against the Hawks is another matter altogether.

50 Comments

  1. thorax says:

    Im sure hibbert will shine again but not in this series… this is still the indiana pacers and still will be a good team for the playoffs

  2. Soniver says:

    Put CJ Waston in the starting 5 to remplace Hill… Keep Hibbert in control tower, and that’s all!

  3. Blog-So-Hard says:

    Trade Hibbert for Howard (McHale vs. Olajuwon)

  4. Bob M says:

    No matter what happens to the Pacers, Frank Vogel shouldn’t be coaching for his job. Indiana had a great year, but something has gone horrible wrong. Roy Hibbert is making 11.8M a year!!! The Pacers can’t stop Teague. And, last but not least, Paul George is not playing to All Star standards.
    Michael Wilbon said that they are “depressed” as a team. I’ll buy that one. They should have crushed the Hawks and been resting for the next series. This is a shocking series, it’s hard to watch.

  5. Drago says:

    The winer of this series is not going to be NBA champion so it realy does not matter what happens.Indiana should look around and see how the Heat are playing and put their game face on it’s embarasing.

  6. hammar says:

    Atlanta cannot go back to Indy. There’s no train back home. Miami is a fake team that only money could buy.
    They stink big time….oh Lebron juuust wade a bit longer! How small wade is.

  7. dustydreamnz says:

    He seems reluctant to use his bench, Chris Copeland is good and has hardly seen court time.

  8. jdub455 says:

    Lol! Pacers are indeed desperate but Hibbert is not totally to be blame for this. The hawks are just playing better and are well-coached.

  9. manny says:

    Miami vs Raptors

  10. Game Ball says:

    As for Hibbert, Stop demanding for the ball!!!! You can’t even get a decent rebound, Now still want to score??? Grab more rebounds for a while, then maybe, you can score…. Simply Useless… 7’2″ with a rebounding ability weaker than an average Point Guards…. I don’t get it….

  11. Snickers says:

    I still want to see Heat pounding Pacers 4-0.

  12. kobefanjay says:

    lol cmon get real everyone…the Hawks arent going to win this series…it will fall apart late in game 6 and the crowd will be silent then Indiana will have a huge dominant game 7 at home. I in no way like the Pacers but …this is the truth

    • kobefanjay says:

      looks like my prediction was dead on…atlanta is done…cheesiest team in the league by far

  13. Latigo Spurs Rapper says:

    Remember the Turner – Stephenson FISTFIGHT before game 1?….That was the ultimate sign that SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT with these Pacers.

  14. Blog-So-Hard says:

    Roy Hibbert is a “no show”

    • rob says:

      at the begining of the season, when i saw the look/focus in hibberts eyes, i thought these guys were contenders. now, hibbert is the number one cheerleader……and they playin scared, the whole lot of them.

  15. Patty says:

    Vogel has no dilemma @ all. PAUL GEORGE NEEDS TO PLAY WELL @ EVERY GAME.

  16. okc2014 says:

    I am not going to say anything negative about the Pacers because OKC is in the same boat. But I will say, Let’s Go Hawks!!!!!!!

  17. kobeballhog says:

    just bring back reggie miller, the davises, rik smith thats the only way pacers can ever win

  18. Youngindy21 says:

    If Indiana is going to win Game 6, They must give Chris Copeland MORE MINUTES. Chris Copeland is the only consistent offensive threat the Pacers have besides maybe David West and the Pacers struggle to score. Chris Copeland’s defense might not be the greatest, but it is certainly not the worst. Copeland is also a fan favorite in Indiana. I also think the Pacers should let Lance Stephenson get some minutes at point guard and give some SG minutes to George Hill. Bench Roy Hibbert for Rest of the series and just go small. I also saw that when the Pacers started trapping the Hawks ball handlers, the Hawks player started to get flustered, so I think they should do more of that.

    • Michael.W says:

      Well stated theory. You alluded to a lot that they have tried. I am sure they are going to do more of it. But covering the 3 point line is one thing, covering shooters with out of the gym range nothing but net from near quarter court is entirely another. I think the half court press/trap like you mention is a nice thing to try early like you suggested so long as they have a designated rim protector. Im hoping that the law of averages will finally pay its respects to ATL. In my opinion they are due for a 1 from 30 night for, heck, every game left in this series at least! lol!

  19. Digby says:

    The Pacers woes started when the referees realized that they didn’t actually have the best defence in the league, they were just getting away with a lot of fouls. Once the referees started calling fouls on Indiana, they had no back up plan.

  20. Vitor Xavier says:

    Yes, Roy Hibbert is overrated.
    Ok, he’s not that bad, but he’s slow and he needs to be a bench warmer. I don’t know why Vogel keeps him in the starting five.

    The starting lineup needs to be: George Hill, Paul George, Lance Stephenson, Davis West and Luis Scola.
    With Roy, CJ and Copeland on the rotation.

    If that happens, I’m sure Indiana will take these two games.
    And good luck to the Wizards, they will be an easy prey for the Pacers.

  21. E says:

    Ok so let me break this down. I’ve had the hometown pleasure of watching nearly every game this season and can dissect this team almost as well as a film room coach. Everyone wants to get on Hibbert’s case and say he can’t guard the three point line and that’s understandable. He just doesn’t come out of his comfort zone with force or conviction. However, I’m not that worried about Antic being the savior of the series. The guy can barely knock down the three. I think the real issue is feeding Hibbert in the post and asking him to bounce out to the 3pt stripe. Tell Hibbert to lock down the paint defensively and rebound. If he gets the offensive board, go up with an attitude, and that’s the only time I want his touches on offense. That’s all we need him for. Our chemistry is destroyed because we feel like we can’t guard the 3pt line with him. F Antic!!! I would just pretend he never touches the ball. He has no ball handling, mid-range game, or post-up game, leave him wide open all hours of the day. 4 defenders, guard 4 perimeter shooters offball and onball. If someone gets the step on you and goes by, let em, cuz Hibberts got your back. I’d much rather try my luck on the intermediate game of the Hawks than give them the paint or the 3pt bomb. I’d so much rather the Hawks need Pero Antic to carry the team than for us to pretend that we have to change our style and play small ball like them. We’re the no 1 seed, play like it. What happened to that bruising team that wears everybody down by getting physical? Where’s the flagrant or two to remind Teague to stay out of the lane? Play big because you are big. This team isn’t mentally strong and the media has devoured them. However, this team is as big as any and needs to bully the SHHH out of the Hawks for two more contests. NUFF SAID. oh and one more thing. Bynum played 24 games in Cleveland and clearly that organization didn’t care whether he was healthy. He’s on contract for maybe one more day. Tell his sorry as.s. his knees are his problem lol

    • Michael.W says:

      I also have had the pleasure of watching every game this year for the exception of two. But those were regular season games and this is the playoffs. I should also state right away that I agree with most of what you have well stated. What I am hoping to do is add a point that everyone is seemingly missing. Monday nights game was going just fine until Scott started draining 3-pointers from quarter court. Then came Korver, and even Mack. What defense of any team in the league can handle that. These guys have had their share of luck when it comes to shooting what easily could be and would be attributed as very bad shots from any team’s morals. The fact that they are going in is still a mystery to me. Usually teams that live by the 3 die by the 3. Perhaps, this is still yet to happen. In my opinion, ATL is do for a 1 for 30 night from 3 for every game for the next year. Yet I also understand that you have to do something, but the new rule regarding letting shooters come down severely limits playing defense. A lot of those shots Monday were well contested and better than any other team’s defense in guarding the 3 I have yet to see. I think more than boos from the stands, this team very much needs and deserves the support of its fans. Give credit to ATL for being in the zone for much of the series, but I strongly believe that ‘if’ they close this series out they will most likely not be able to sustain the shooting they have. And if they do, well I would expect them to win it all. It is just unbelievable. They shot over 80 percent in the second quarter Monday night and hit 9 threes. Heck, I’m willing to go out on a leg and say that they made over 50 percent from quarter court. Probably better than the Pacer’s free throws and even lay-ups that game. That is where the Pacers faulted probably at most and that is letting that 2nd quarter drag down their spirits. I’m quite sure the boos from the stands didn’t help that out either. The fact that they played .500 ball down the regular season stretch has nothing to do with this series. ATL was kicking everybody’s butt down that stretch including Miami due to the same 3 ball style of play. Anyways I hope that when they do bring this series back that they will be greeted with more respect from their own fans. Win or lose, you support your team. But that is just my motto.

      • Breadhammer says:

        @Michael. W you seem convinced that Atlanta is a team that lives by the 3, but I disagree. The hawks aren’t the NY knicks lol. Jeff Teague is living in the paint and while PG has slowed him down a bit, it isn’t enough for the Pacers to win. Also Paul Millsap can post up everybody on the Pacers and have his way against anyone on that team including 0 points, 0 rebounds, 4 fouls in 11 mins Hibbert. Teague and Millsap’s penetration and kick leaves the Hawks with WIDE open 3 point shots. So I wouldn’t say the Hawks are making them simply from luck. They’re breaking down the pacer’s already shattered defense and getting good looks.

  22. yoy says:

    Indiana team, all they, are talkers. they spent the whole year talking and talking…..haha. now they are running out words.
    what’s up talkers. Volgel is the professor of talk, no a coach. talk now vogel and get another fine.

  23. franchezco says:

    we may look at all these things an try figure out what’s the problem but when Larry made the move with granger the team went down hill from there a Hibbert need to be bench from long now am thinking the same about hill too

  24. Anthony says:

    he really needs to bench Hibbert. Just like the article says this is just a bad matchup for him. It is stubborn to even try to incorporate hibbert into this series. The Pacers haven’t imposed their will and style of play on this series. The Hawks have dictated tempo throughout this series.Hibbert probably wouldn’t be effective unless it is against a team like miami that doesn’t have bigs that stretch the floor like Atlanta does. It’s just crazy watching them make all of these moves to compete with miami instead of just focusing on being a better Indiana Pacer Team.

  25. yehbill says:

    Don’t know if anyone’s noticed, but I think Budenholzer’s got the Hawks running like the Spurs under Popovich, only decades younger, and with a 3-point game instead of Tim Duncan’s midrange shot. GG, Pacers.

  26. No Stephenson, or Hibbert!!! says:

    Starting Five:

    PG: George Hill
    SG: Paul George – he is more comfortable here anyway. Korver shot 5 for 10 from 3 last game, and had 9 rebounds… can’t happen
    SF: Chris Copeland – Why not… This is where Danny Granger comes in with experience… but thank you Larry Bird I guess…
    PF: David West
    C: Luis Scola … He can match up better with Antic

    Bring Mahimi in when Elton Brand comes in. Forget Stevenson and Hibbert, they have failed the team.

  27. TTKIN says:

    It was Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose that said Larry Bird needs to go into the lockerroom and absolutely chastise the team. They’ll listen to him…he’s one of the greatest ever. Point at Vogel and say “he’s not the problem, and he’ll be back next year.” That being said; before the 4th quarter of game 6 is over (a game the Hawks will win easily), Larry will proly be on the phone with GMs around the league asking them to take Hibbert off his hands. Ive never seen a guy 7’2″ have this many games without a single rebound. POR is proly counting their blessings the Pacers matched his contract; they got Lopez instead who knows his role and plays it well.

  28. rob says:

    the problem with the pacers cannot be solved in one game.

    I BLAME LARRY LEGEND.

    as good of a player as he was, and as good of a team that he put together, he took it all apart with the danny granger/evan turner trade. listen, not that turner is a bad player, i like him and think he’s got potential. BUT, this trade messed up the chemistry of the team. granger made paul george the superstar that he is – goerge used to sleep on his couch when everyone thought he was a nobody and when it was granger’s team. granger was also ready to take the bench role. now, he’s taken that role with the clippers.

    don’t put this on vogel. its on Larry Bird.

    • Michael.W says:

      Interesting. I have also thought of the same, and certainly have noticed the drop off in consistently after that move. On paper it is one of those things that looks good, but in reality can result in something entirely different. It is definitely complicated. However, Granger or no Granger, I have never seen any team live so long on the 3 as ATL has recently. I still am convinced in live by the 3 die by the 3. They are due for a 1 from 30 night. Wouldn’t you think? :)

      • azimud says:

        @Michael. W you seem convinced that Atlanta is a team that lives by the 3, but I disagree. The hawks aren’t the NY knicks lol. Jeff Teague is living in the paint and while PG has slowed him down a bit, it isn’t enough for the Pacers to win. Also Paul Millsap can post up everybody on the Pacers and have his way against anyone on that team including 0 points, 0 rebounds, 4 fouls in 11 mins Hibbert. Teague and Millsap’s penetration and kick leaves the Hawks with WIDE open 3 point shots. So I wouldn’t say the Hawks are making them simply from luck. They’re breaking down the pacer’s already shattered defense and getting good looks.

  29. TROYBOY says:

    This is why this will be the best story ever when these playoffs are over. Everyone giving up on the Pacers but the Pacers. I said this before on another post. Playing one way for 82 games and then panic and change who you are in the playoffs doesn’t make any sense. Only people that never coached before would say some nonsense like that. You go down as who you are. Panic and you’ll get killed in the media by the same people that’s killing you right now for not showing panic. Change the way you play and don’t work and get killed by the same people that is saying to change.

    The solution is to win game six. Whatever that may require. It happened before so there’s a chance it will happen again. Changing everything to satisfy the knuckleheads that are looking for news worthy nonsense will get coaches fired. It happens all the time.

    Monday morning quaterbacking is easy to do. Because it’s after the fact. I’m pretty sure that when the Pacers win game six, the mood is going to change.

    • Michael.W says:

      Well said, sir! And I concur completely! A lot of experts come out of the wood works when problems arise, but only a few have the intelligence and patience to do anything about it. Win game 6 at any cost! I don’t care, flagrants, pull down shooters drawers, whatever! However, I still am an advocate of the live by the 3 die by the 3. These Hawks’ luck is sure to run out. I just hope it is in this series. They are overdue for a 1 from 30 shooting night from 3, and probably for more than one game.

  30. jerone says:

    Pacer trouble baseball out- three strikes: 1. Traded heart and soul Danny Granger 9 yr veteran and team leader. 2. They picked up Andrew Bynum everybody thinking it was to keep the Heat from signing him. 3. They allow a Hibbert to sit with Bynum. Bynum has been an injury prone, malcontent everywhere he’s been. When you switch those two parts Granger/Bynum in the locker room, at practice and on the bench… an eight seed beats a one.

  31. chokc says:

    the hawks have almost no post presence outside of millsap’s offense..why the heck is indiana not playing small ball when all atlanta is doing is raining threes on them in EVERY SINGLE GAME. it bothers me also that roy hibbert is playing worse than kwame brown yet their soft coach frank vogel won’t do anything about it. the hawks have NO big men that pose a threat in the post that david west can’t guard. if they ran small ball they would actually be able to contest threes and not let atlanta dominate them. frank vogel needs to seriously consider changing his lineup or this series is guaranteed to be over..

  32. MFFL says:

    It is because Roy Hibbert is so much overrated!

  33. Drew says:

    The Pacers playoff problems started at the beginning of the season with their main goal to get Home Court Advantage in Game 7. Win the East, but they lost focus on playing Playoff Basketball with new players that Bird brought in.

    The Pacers playoff problems started at the beginning of the season with Coach Vogel not having a Playoff Game Plan.
    The Pacers playoff problems started at the beginning of the season with Lance Stephenson essentially winning most of the games.

    The Pacers playoff problems started at the beginning of the season with “Hero Basketball”, as Roy Hibbert voiced.

    Hibbert has been isolated from the team’s philosophy all season. His shots were down, his involvement was down. He had no voice on the team. They had a new Max Player and another want-to-be Max Player in the making. Why would Hibbert then be expected to play Playoff Basketball at this point?

    The Pacers playoff problems started at the beginning of the season with the same coach who pulled Hibbert in the East Finals last year.

    Hibbert is an All Start player, may be the only All Start player for the Pacers, along with David West. Both great players.

    Solution for the start of a regular season with lots of good players: demand 21 and 11 from each of the starting 5 so that no one plays Hero Basketball.

    This is a Pacer Stat aka Rick Smits: they won most games when Rick went for 21 and 11, not 20, not 19, but 21.

  34. Mark Shores says:

    I am a Bulls fan who has been elimated to cheer for them. But I agree with some ofvthe sportswriters for the Pacers to go all the way small. Hibbert is useless on defense. I have watched the games and Pacers should be more active on offense/defense. But Pacers , like the Bulls, are suffering from offensive deficiency syndrome…not scoring. Put C.J Watson in place of Lance Stephenson for more offense.

    Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2014 15:36:01 +0000 To: msure1@live.com

  35. Buboy says:

    Larry Legend probably already gave a locker room sermon to these Indiana morons so no worries. We will game 6.

  36. thespectator says:

    its a lose lose for indiana. they win next game against the hawks, they push it to 7, which is a joke in itself, and they may win but you really think this group can continue to gain confidence and move on to the next round? these guys are depleting so much time and energy, its really tough to keep going series after series going game after game..its a mental drain..not to mention the biggest thing this pacers team lacks is “mental fortitude” …we all know that to be a champion its not just talent, skills, adjustments…its about heart and the mentality of being a champion…clearly this team doesnt have that…but hey maybe this is what indiana needs…just like how miami heat lost against the mavs in the first year of the big 3…indiana may need a horrific meltdown to get them back to reality and make them realize that its not just about tryin to compete with the champs, its about competing period…regardless of who it is…the sad thing about it all is that indiana can beat the hawks, and possibly wint the east and make it to the finals…they just dont have that mentality to help them when times get really bad…and vogel is clearly not the right voice in that locker room, a problem of this magnitude doesnt linger on for this long, def not in the playoffs…this is so sad to watch…and if they do infact lose tomorrow night, gosh thats just horrible …

    • Zachary says:

      I agree. The pacers are in a free fall. Clinging to a limb on the way down will only delay the colapse. This Indiana team is done.

  37. vern says:

    Regarding Cris Copeland, Vogel is making the same mistake Woodson of the Knicks made. Keeping Copeland on the bench.

    • Vincent Herring says:

      Copeland would be a big help! They got him to keep Miami from getting him. I think Miami would play Copeland 15-20 minutes a game. I am a Heat fan and I also think Miami LET the 1st place seeding go to Pacers for match reasons. To all Pacers fans….. it is over! Not so sure The Heat will win…. it is scary out here this year!