The Indiana Pacers and team President Larry Bird do not appear in any rush to find their next head coach.
In a news conference Thursday, Bird had a simple three-word response to question surrounding his coaching search: “Haven’t started yet.”
For those those wondering where Bird specifically is in the process, he said he has “a list of guys” and is “just putting it together.” However, Bird seems preoccupied with scouting the incoming NBA rookie class right now.
The NBA scouting combine is this week. This is an opportunity for teams to scout all the players currently entered in the 2016 NBA draft. The Pacers have the 20th pick overall in the draft, and Bird is identifying players he would like to take with that pick.
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While this is a good reason for Bird to delay his coaching search, it is also foolish. There are some very good candidates available right now, and the Pacers could miss out on getting the best one for them by waiting.
By not looking for a coach right now, Bird could be limiting his options in the future. The Memphis Grizzlies and now the Orlando Magic are looking for head coaches. These two franchises could possibly take away coaching options from the Pacers.
This situation is not about hiring someone as quickly as possible. It is about giving the franchise as many options as possible. By continuing to delay the process, Bird could end missing out on the best coach for the Pacers.
Also, scouting rookies without a head coach is a tricky situation. How does Bird know what his team needs when he does not know what scheme his eventual head coach will run?
Essentially, Bird is basing his scouting plan on what he thinks the team needs, which could be entirely different from what his eventual coach wants.
To be fair, this scenario would not hurt the Pacers too much because they only scouting right now. The Pacers are not committing to any players yet.
However, it is always better to have a coach in place when scouting players. A head coach would give Bird an idea of what types of players he needs and then scout players accordingly.
Preferably, it would be better if Bird and the Indiana Pacers started looking for their next head coach soon. They do not need to start interviewing candidates. However, it would be nice if the Pacers at least notified some candidates that the team is interested in interviewing them. Waiting makes things more difficult than they need to be.