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Frank Vogel anticipates having to replace Brian Shaw

Pacers coach Frank Vogel expects to have a new coach sitting to his right on the bench next season. Since the Pacers fell in seven games to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals, associate head coach Brian Shaw has been targeted for multiple head coaching vacancies. Pacers officials knew this was coming, they just asked that all discussions be held off until their season was complete. Shaw is reportedly atop the list of two teams: Brooklyn and Los Angeles (Clippers).

“I do have the anticipation that we will have to replace him,” Vogel said Wednesday afternoon at his end of the season press conference. “If we don’t, there’s some poor decisions being made by some teams out there because he’s going to be one of the great coaches this league’s seen.”

With the season over and more time on his hands, Vogel will begin researching possible replacements.

“We’ll be very thorough and there will be a team approach with (president) Donnie Walsh and (general manager) Kevin Pritchard going through the names,” he said. “Who will be the best fit for me and for our players? There will be a heavy slant on who is best to help our young players develop.”

One of Shaw’s most sought-after traits is his ability to connect with players and develop young talent. This season, he specifically took Paul George and Lance Stephenson under his wing — two guys whose games grew tremendously and yet still have a ways to go.

“Brian Shaw played a major part of my success this season,” Stephenson told Pacers.com. “He helped me throughout the whole year and challenged me, and made me a better player … [by] putting pressure on me, showing me how to be a pro and showing me the things that he did when he was playing.”

“He’s a smart coach,” Paul George added. “He understands how to score and how to attack and from what angles, and the spacing on the floor. He’s a good source to talk to.”

After the Pacers removed Vogel’s interim tag two years ago, the then-37-year-old coach surrounded himself with a combination of experience, a former head coach and a former player. The first two, Dan Burke and Jim Boylen, remain — both of whom Vogel referred to as “rock-solid assistants.” Burke is a defensive ace and Boylen works with the post players. Those two usually took ideas to Shaw first, before presenting them to Vogel. There’s a very good chance that Vogel will seek out a former player to fill Shaw’s spot should he accept his first head coaching gig.

“I think having a former player on your staff is important and it’ll probably be one of the qualifications,” Vogel explained. “I like the coaching experience, too, in particular head coaching experience. Every situation is different. Brian didn’t have head coaching experience but he worked for Phil Jackson for seven years as an assistant coach and won championships that way. That experience, to me, outweighed a lot of other coaches that would have had head coaching experience. We’ll look at each situation differently and make the best decision for our team.”

Vogel expressed his gratitude for Shaw and for what he’s learned over the past two seasons from a man with five NBA championship rings — three achieved while a player in this league.

“I learned how to win,” he said. “If you’re going to talk about Brian Shaw, that’s the first thing you have to think about. He’s a winner and he understands this league as well as anybody. He’s seen it all from every different situation with multiple teams and he just was instrumental in helping develop this winning culture that we’ve created here.”

Last summer, coach Shaw interviewed with Charlotte and Orlando, but neither were a great fit. Detroit and Philadelphia are both currently searching for a new head coach. Shaw’s former boss (and coach), Phil Jackson, serves as a consultant for Detroit.

Might this be Shaw’s year? Stay tuned.

About The Author

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Scott Agness is in his second season as a multimedia contributor for Pacers.com. He delivers articles, blog posts, interviews, and videos. He is a graduate of Indiana University where he was part of broadcasts on the IU Radio Network, Big Ten Network, IUHoosiers.com and WIUX. He is the founder and editor of VigilantSports.com.

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