Isiah Thomas makes bold championship claim about Pacers coaching stint
Former Detroit Pistons point guard and NBA legend Isiah Thomas previously served as the head coach of the Indiana Pacers from 2000 to 2003. After winning multiple titles as a player with the Pistons, Thomas came up short of hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy during his three-year stint in Indianapolis.
However, that did not stop Thomas from making quite the bold claim that he and the Pacers were on the cusp of a title before he ultimately got axed.
“Those three years were great coaching moments for me,” Isiah Thomas said of his time with the Pacers during his talk with Heavy.com.
“I’ll be as bold as to say this: I think if [Larry] Bird hadn’t fired me, I think we would have won the championship that following year. I think we would’ve beat the Pistons. … That was my team and my time to go.”
Thomas notably took over as head coach for Bird, who moved to the front office for Indiana. He produced a 131-115 regular season record, with his teams making first round exits in three different postseasons.
Veteran NBA head coach Rick Carlisle would go on to replace Thomas in Indiana, with the 2003-04 Pacers finishing the regular season with a stellar 61-21 slate before eventually losing to the Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Thomas’ claims are obviously pretty bold, but it is hard to argue against the fact that Carlisle has been a much better NBA head coach than the longtime Pistons standout.