Paul George held a Twitter Q&A last night and the two-time NBA all-star did not hold back in regards to his former head coach, Jim O’Brien.
George said his favorite memory during his rookie season was when the Pacers fired O’Brien after a 17-27 start to the season.
As George hints at, playing time might have been a factor in his desire that O’Brien got the ax. When the team appointed Frank Vogel the interim coach, George was given a starting role, which led to him having the opportunity to start a postseason game. George averaged six points and five rebounds in the first-round loss to the Chicago Bulls.
It’s not surprising that George is happy Indiana fired O’Brien and hired Vogel in hindsight. The Pacers have had enormous success during Vogel’s tenure, including two consecutive trips to the Eastern Conference Finals.
George himself has blossomed into one of the NBA’s best players and he likely feels a debt of gratitude for that to Vogel.
Also, there is certainly the possibility that George simply had a lot of behind-the scenes problems with O’Brien during his rookie season that hasn’t been uncovered to this point. One would have to figure that’s at least part of it, as NBA players usually don’t call out former coaches like George did here.
George averaged 21.7 points (42.4 percent shooting from the floor), 6.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists this past season with Indiana.