Q&A: Frank Vogel

Posted by C.L. Anthony on Thursday, September 25, 2014 with No comments
Courtesy of Off the Dribble 

On the recent coaches/officials meeting in Chicago and developments that would interest fans: 

"There was a number of things discussed. I think one the thing that comes to mind from a fans' perspective, they're really pouring in a lot of time and effort and finances into just enhancing what they do from an officiating standpoint. Adam Silver has come in and asked them to re-examine everything they do and find out if there is a way to do it better. That's something that all the coaches are happy to hear about and the fans should be as well. One of the things they're doing, they've developed a full replay center room where every game that's being played in the NBA will have a staff in play to sort of facilitate how quickly the replay situations, or the replay triggers will be resolved. So it's not three officials standing over there for five, six, seven, eight minutes. Ideally, with these guys reviewing the plays in the review room, by the time the officials get over to the scorer's table, most of the time the answers will already be there for them.”

On coveting players in market place or other teams who could improve Pacers: 
"We do but it's primarily done out of free agency. We scour the free agent list pretty thoroughly. Larry and I and Kevin Pritchard, we talk about players on other teams all the time, just kind of in casual conversation throughout the year as we're meeting after practice everyday and whatnot. We all have a pretty good idea of what players on other teams that we like and don't like but when the offseason comes around it's really about looking at how much money we have and then going through the free agent list."
Were you happy with the Pacers' offseason in regards to free agents? 
"Well, I think I was. First and foremost, we all wanted to bring Lance Stephenson back here. We made our best effort to bring him back. We're all disappointed that he chose to join the Charlotte Hornets but that's life in the NBA. You have to move on quickly. With that being said, adding Rodney Stuckey and CJ Miles to fill in his role alongside Paul George, were big-time acquisitions and acquisitions that we felt were going to help us sustain the level of play we had last year. Obviously when Paul George goes down, that changes everything. And by the time Paul went down, the free agent market had sort of dried up and everybody – all the key free agents had signed with somebody else. So, it's difficult to make adjustments at that point in the summer so we will be a little undermanned at the wing spot. But I don't think we're in a position of panic where we have to add some players. We've got guys on this roster – Chris Copeland was a four man for us last year, didn't get a lot of opportunity but he's capable of playing the three and he worked all summer to play the three. We also signed a guy (who is) one of the best shooters in Europe at 6-9, Damjan Rudez, that's going to come in and help us there. We've got a young player, Solomon Hill, who's going to help us at the wing. So, right now, I feel good about finding out what these guys on our roster can do for us. If we have to make adjustments once the season gets started, we'll do so. But I feel like we have enough to compete with the best.”
The shooting guard and small forward in Pacers' system is interchangeable, will that be adjusted moving forward? 
"Not really in terms of our system. Obviously our threes have different skill sets than our twos right now. Whereas Paul and Lance brought incredible versatility in terms to being able to play on the ball and off the ball equally as effectively. I think our team is a little bit different this year, so I don't think we'll adjust our offensive scheme so much but just how we use those individual players, we just want to play to their strengths."
The current state of Roy's mindset after struggling through the playoffs: 
"I think he's really encouraged about what's ahead of us. Those conversations were two-way conversations from the standpoint of every time he struggled, I tried to assume responsibility on some level and make sure that he understood that we're in this together and we always were, we always are. So, he never wavered on the defensive end. He had some struggles on the offensive end and that comes along with a reduced role which is what happened to him last year with the emergence of Lance Stephenson and Paul George. So, this year obviously those two guys are not here. I think he's going to return to having a more increased role on the offensive end and just being more a part of the offensive flow. I think it'll help him get a rhythm and I think he'll have a tremendous bounce back year all the while, while still anchoring our defense and hopefully one of the best defenses in the league again. We've got a great relationship. Nobody wants to see one of your best players and one of your friends struggle the way he did down the stretch and we're working tirelessly to make sure that he bounces back in a big way.”
With last season's challenges on and off the court, did job description change from what you had to do in previous years? 
"I don't think it really changed but I think as a coach, you have to be dialed in to what's happening in your players' personal lives. You've got to mentor them and guide them and advise them. Sometimes, that's easy 'cause there are no off-the-court concerns and sometimes it's not easy and you have more troubling times. So, I don't think the role changed. The things that I encountered last year were a little bit different, but in terms of on the court, the job description didn't change. But we always strive to build a team and strive to build togetherness, and like I said before, sometimes that's easy. Sometimes it's not. Sometimes you have to really have some heart-to-heart meetings and really just put your arms around these guys and make sure that they're cheering for each other and playing for each other and pushing each other the right way. Certainly there was more of that last year than it was the prior year but your job is always to achieve togetherness. Some years are going to be easier than others."

Your philosophy on players who are out for an extended period of time and whether or not they should be actively involved with the team: 
"I don't think you ever want to be a distraction but I don't think Paul George would be a distraction. I'm going to have him around all the time. I like him to be at all the practices and just be around the team as much as possible. I just think it's important for his own sake to stay engaged and keep his mind on the goal of returning. I think every year your team changes, the things you do change, your system changes, your culture changes and for him to sort of separate himself from that would make the return a little more difficult. So I think it's important he stays involved."