Two different seasons, two similar result.
Unfortunately for fans in Indiana and Oklahoma, their NBA franchises have been knocked out of the playoffs early in consecutive years - although that is the only thing that is similar about their dilemmas.
The Indiana Pacers were dismissed in this year's Eastern Conference Final in six games (and believe me, it barely made it to six) due to lack of production from their key players.
While the OKC Thunder were eliminated by a more complete team to be honest in the San Antonio Spurs in six games as well.
Now while Pacers owner Larry Bird has said that head coach Frank Vogel's job is safe in Indiana, head coach Scott Brooks may not be able to say the same in Oklahoma. Vogel was put in an arguably tougher situation due to lack of production from starting Center Roy Hibbert who put up a number of zero point, zero rebound games.
Lance Stephenson most likely was the heart of locker room issues but that has not been confirmed. His antics did not prove helpful but instead detrimental to the team in their bout with the Miami Heat.
Brooks did have to deal with a number of injuries to his credit including an untimely blow to Serge Ibaka. But Ibaka returned and the team was still eliminated once again.
Many analysts have called the Thunder coach's play calling and strategy into question bringing up the fact that OKC played extremely one-dimensional at times by using simple pick and rolls and taking tough shots. But with a team that isn't extremely deep in any sense this can be taken with a grain of salt.
Most likely a victim of his own early success, Scott Brooks may be on the out after advancing to the NBA Finals in 2012, losing, and then being unable to return to the grand stage. On top of that, being a former Coach of the Year is hurting his track record when it comes to playoff performance.
The Thunder's management hasn't exactly helped Brooks all that much though especially with how they lost budding superstar James Harden in favor of keeping underwhelming Center Kendrick Perkins.
Young standouts Jeremy Lamb and Steven Adams haven't received enough minutes to be reliable in key situations and the team has been a glorified "bubble" team for the last two years.
If Oklahoma refuses to change and improve on all fronts, they could see this year’s MVP Kevin Durant and All-Star Russell Westbrook looking elsewhere to win championships.
Indiana on the other hand, can breathe a small sigh of relief due to the fact that they only have question marks with their roster. Resigning Stephenson (or not) and trading Hibbert seem to be their most pressing issues. If Hibbert is traded it would most likely be in return for an experienced Center and more experienced pieces.
Lance Stephenson oozes talent and aside from his distracting play on and off the court, he has great potential to be a superstar but teams will have to take a chance. In short these teams need to truly step back and see what they have and need, what can be fixed now and what will need to be picked up as they go.
That is, if the Pacers and Thunder ever want to truly compete for championship hardware.
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