McMillan Doesn’t Plan To Pursue Head Coaching Job For 2020/21

After being let go by the Pacers this week, veteran NBA coach Nate McMillan tells Bob Kravitz of The Athletic that he doesn’t anticipate seeking out a new head coaching job for the 2020/21 season.

“I’m going to take this year and just look at things,” McMillan said. “A lot has changed, the league and the game have changed, so I’ll take this year and see what happens, but I won’t get back into it this season.”

Several teams – the Bulls, Sixers, Nets, and Pelicans – are currently in the market for a new head coach and it’s possible others will join them as they’re eliminated from the postseason. McMillan’s strong 183-136 (.574) record over the last four seasons in Indiana would make him a viable candidate for some of those openings.

However, McMillan will continue to get paid by the Pacers for the 2020/21 season, so it makes sense that he’d prefer to take a step back and fully consider his options rather than jumping right back onto the coaching carousel.

As for his exit from Indiana, McMillan explained that he and the Pacers agreed to a modest contract extension before the NBA’s restart began in July — that deal was announced in August after rumors surfaced about his job security. When he agreed to the new contract, McMillan expected to have Domantas Sabonis available this summer and was anticipating a first-round series win.

“I thought about it and said, ‘Even though we hadn’t started the playoffs, I really thought at the time we were going to advance,'” McMillan told Kravitz. “I had all my players (except Jeremy Lamb). Domas was there. I always thought Victor (Oladipo) was going to play. We had everybody and I really thought we could get out of the first round. So I signed that extension thinking, ‘OK, next year we’ll be healthy and I’ll give it one more try.’

“And then we get down to the bubble and Domas has his injury and it was like, ‘Ohhhhh-kay,'” McMillan continued. “But I know what I said to myself and told the organization, for me, it was about getting out of the first round, so when the decision was made yesterday, I understood.”

McMillan also responded to criticism about his offensive system, which was viewed by some observers as outdated. The former Pacers coach explained that he wanted to play to the strengths of his roster, which included a pair of big men – Sabonis and Myles Turner – in the starting lineup.

“I would love to run. When I was a player, that’s the way I played,” McMillan told Kravitz. “But personnel dictates your style of play.”

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15 thoughts on “McMillan Doesn’t Plan To Pursue Head Coaching Job For 2020/21

  1. Otogar

    I don’t think anyone would have taken Indiana further though. They have no real star and have been plagued by injuries.

      • Otogar

        Djokic and Murray are arguably better than anyone in Indiana’s roster. And they haven’t got much farther anyway: semis last year and a likely first round exit this one.

      • Otogar

        (Actually, is a bit bold to suggest that someone who finished 4th in the MVP voting last year is no real star)

        • El Don

          Totally agree with you Otogar! If Jokic a 1st All-NBA team & 4th in the MVP race ain’t a star then who it is? That is the most outrageous opinion ever!

          • El Don

            Also Murray is makin’ himself as a star in this playoffs. First ever player to have 2 consecutive games of 40+ points & 0 turnovers in the playoffs! Meanwhile Harden & Westbrook might be RS stars but come playoff time… not so much, right?
            If you ask me, right now I take Jokic/Murray over Harden/Westbrook any day of the week & twice on Sunday!

  2. x%sure

    This thread. Per Bas.Ref., McMillan has won at clips of 52%, 59%, 59%, and 62% but has not left the first round. Olidipo, Sabonis, PaulGeorge allstars. The previous coach Vogel did better, with 2 EC finals and divisional titles. In the last 10 years, 57% won.

    McMillan kept quality high but did not break through. The camp atmosphere did not help.

    Sillivan is a joke.

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      Maybe McMillan isn’t pursuing a head coaching job because he knows that no one out there wants him. The eastern conference has been so weak for years now, and with one or two good players any half decent coach there can get his team to the ECF.

      • Otogar

        Any team (even the Bulls or the Hawks) has “one or two good players”. Giannis, Middleton, Bledsoe, Lowry, Siakam, Kemba, Tatum, Brown, Butler, Adebayo, Simmons, Embiid… are distinctly better than anyone in Indiana’s roster.

        • Otogar

          This year, for instance, the top 2 Indiana players in the All-Star voting were Sabonis (#7 among East frontcourt players) and Brogdon (#15 among East guards). But, according to you, a capable coach should have led Indiana to the ECF…

      • 1. I don’t blame McMillan (or any other coach) for taking a year off. Being a head coach is hard work, and it would be nice to be a millionaire and take a gap year.

        2. I agree that a better coach could have gotten more out of the Pacers the past couple of years. Maybe not so much in the regular season, but at least in the playoffs and from a player development perspective. Nate is too rigid as a coach, and doesn’t make the adjustments needed in a playoff series.

        He also relies way too much on veterans over trying to develop young players. Joe Young, TJ Leaf, Aaron Holliday, and Goga Bitazde all didn’t get the playing time that would have helped them develop.

        3. I disagree that no team would want McMillan. He’s a solid coach and a good locker room guy. He’ll wind up coaching again or in someone’s front office.

        • x%sure

          Agree, his Pacer tenure is not much of a demerit. The Pacers surprised with quality three years ago but Olidipo’s issues hampered the last two. Supposedly Dipo was not a fan, interesting.

          Who knows Pritchard’s influence. He did not trade away Turner for value even though the twin towers lineup did not work in 17/18. Turner did want to stay and a midwestern GM is likely to be impressed by that. Pritchard did dismiss their natural forwards, leaving a gap there. It was trendy. They should draft one though. TJ Warren became crucial but did not sustain.

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