Pacers president Larry Bird had seen enough of Frank Vogel and his old-style offense. While other teams were spreading the court, moving the ball and raining down threes, Indiana was doing something more traditional — and slow.
It didn’t matter that Vogel had made the playoffs in five of his six seasons on the Pacers’ bench, missing only in 2014/15 when a broken leg sidelined Paul George for virtually the entire season. It didn’t matter that Vogel produces top 10 defensive teams every year or that at age 42 he has developed a reputation as one of the NBA’s best coaches.
None of that mattered because Bird didn’t like the product he saw on the court and wanted things to change.
So he’s apparently hiring one of Vogel’s assistants.
The Pacers were finalizing contract details Saturday night with Nate McMillan, who has been serving as an assistant coach with the team since 2013. McMillan has nearly 12 years of head coaching experience in Seattle and Portland, where his teams were usually the complete opposite of what Bird says he’s looking for. None of McMillan’s teams ever managed to average 99 points per game.
Indiana had better alternatives, contends Gregg Doyel of The Indianapolis Star, who notes that Brian Shaw already has a strong relationship with George, Mike D’Antoni virtually patented the type of offense that Bird desires and David Blatt and Mark Jackson are playoff-level coaches who deserve another chance.
That brings us to tonight’s question: Is Nate McMillan a good choice to be the Pacers’ next coach? If Bird was unhappy with Vogel, does it make sense to promote someone from his staff? And if not McMillan, who should Indiana have tried to hire?
Take to the comments section below to share your thoughts and opinions on the topic. We look forward to what you have to say.