This is just your weekly reminder to always, always question coaches. Question GMs, commissioners, writers, and pundits as well. Bring it on. But also don't be afraid to question coaches. Even if they're manning a team that might be overachieving. Always, always question coaches. They may own the 30 toughest jobs in the NBA, but you can always find a coach to question.
Like, possibly, Jim O'Brien, head coach of your Indiana Pacers.
Obie has done fine work in turning these Pacers into a top-gear defensive outfit, and the squad could be well on its way to a playoff berth (after what would be a five-year drought by this spring), but he's also been rather curious with his rotation work. Especially with second-year point man Darren Collison(notes), whose addition was supposed to put the Pacers over the top.
Here's the lowdown, via the Indianapolis Star's spot-on beat man Mike Wells:
Pacers coach Jim O'Brien has added in some theatrics by using a few unconventional rotations. Collison has sat in the fourth quarter at times while Ford played in crunch time, which has frustrated him.
Friday night in Atlanta, he sat the entire fourth quarter in favor of [A.J.] Price, which really hurt, Collison said.
"I don't know why I didn't play," said Collison, who has started all 19 games he's appeared in.
"I'm not going to lie, it's been tough. Right now, I'm not used to it. It is what it is."
O'Brien liked what Price could bring to the Pacers, so he got his shot.
"I thought our best chance of coming back was with A.J. in the game because he spaces the court, he shoots the 3 and he also needed playing time," O'Brien said. "I also think he did a nice job."
Price entered the Hawks game shooting 33 percent from long range this year, which is below average, but passable to the extent that a 3-9 mark on the season will allow. But he also missed all three of his attempts during the fourth quarter in question (you can do the math beyond that), along with missing four-of-five attempts from the field during the turn. He did dish three assists, as the Pacers outscored the Hawks by a point.
Darren Collison, who is quite good, is shooting over 41 percent from long range on the season. And while he joins myself, TV's Ryan Howard, and Eddie Van Halen in the unfortunate club full of people who have used the semi-phrase "it is what it is," this is a guy who should be playing ahead of A.J. Price. I like Price's effort, as does Obie, but there are a whole lot of guys who should be playing in front of A.J. Price.
Now the "needed playing time" part? Yes, that works. Price had played just once (a 3 1/2-minute stint in a blowout win over Toronto) since Nov. 20. This is still a legitimate concern for Pacer fans, though. Collison isn't getting the sort of playing time that his talents would suggest, and while the UCLA product isn't turning this into a soap opera (that's our job), Jim O'Brien would be wise to not hamstring himself in this regard.
He'd also be wise to look at those box scores that are free for everyone to look at following the game before commenting on a particular player's shooting aptitude. Otherwise, Obie? Bang-up job, my man.