Pacers assistant Davis wants top job Print
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Tuesday, 08 May 2007 11:57
NBA Headline News

 INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -Indiana Pacers assistant Johnny Davis thinks he's ready for another shot as a head coach.
Davis compiled a 73-144 record in head coaching stops in Philadelphia and Orlando before coming to Indiana last season, where he served as Rick Carlisle's top assistant.
Shortly before Carlisle was fired last month, he said that Davis and assistant coach Chuck Person were ready to replace him. The Pacers have been quiet about their search, but team president Larry Bird said last month they would consider internal candidates.
``I'm young enough,'' the 51-year-old Davis said. ``I'd like to do it. A lot of it is fitting into the right situation. I certainly would be interested in being the head coach here.''
Any other team would need permission to speak to Davis because he's under contract with the Pacers until June 30. Davis wouldn't talk about other openings for the same reason.
Person, who declined an interview request, has no head coaching experience. He has been with the Pacers for four years, the last two as an assistant coach, and played his first six NBA seasons with the Pacers. He was named rookie of the year in 1986-87.
There are other coaching vacancies in Memphis, Seattle, Sacramento and Charlotte, and jobs in Toronto, Houston and Orlando could eventually come open.
Raptors coach Sam Mitchell, the NBA coach of the year and another former Pacer, likely would be a top candidate for several jobs if Toronto doesn't try to keep him.
Toronto president and general manager Bryan Colangelo said Tuesday he's ``not discussing our coaching picture publicly.'' But because Mitchell might have several options, coaches like Davis could get a chance somewhere.
The Pacers hired him to help coach the up-tempo offense they pledged to run this season. The team averaged 95.6 points per game, 1.7 more than the previous year, despite the departures of Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington at midseason.
Davis said he learned from Carlisle, even though the team finished 35-47, its worst season since 1988-89.
``Rick does a tremendous job of controlling the tempo,'' Davis said. ``I'm more of an up-tempo coach, but I can certainly see that there are times when you need to control the game.''
Davis said he's a better coach than he was at age 40, when he got his first head job with the Philadelphia 76ers. He coached during Allen Iverson's rookie year and went 22-60, then 20-51 the next year before being fired.
He went 31-33 with Orlando in 2004-05 before being fired from there.
Davis also has been an assistant with Minnesota, Atlanta, Portland, New Jersey, Orlando and the Los Angeles Clippers.
He said the Indiana opening is as good as any, despite any perceived image problems stemming from the brawl between Pacers players and Detroit fans in November 2004, and off-the-court problems that led to the gutting of much of the team's roster.
``We're not that far away as a team,'' Davis said. ``We got right down to the wire in terms of making or missing the playoffs.''
The Pacers have reached the Eastern Conference finals six times since the start of the 1993-94 season. They reached the NBA Finals in 2000, when they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers, and had the league's best record in 2003-04.
``This is a first-class organization,'' Davis said. ``Anyone who gets an opportunity to coach here would do themselves a favor to accept. It is a model franchise.''

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