As Amick explains, McMillan is a coach with “old-school sensibilities (and) a defense-first approach” whose offense relied more on mid-range shots than three-pointers — the Pacers ranked last in the NBA this season in three-pointers per game. President of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard viewed McMillan’s offensive approach as an “inopportune fit,” according to Amick.
Taking that into account, it’s no surprise that Mike D’Antoni was the first head coaching target linked to the Pacers. Amick says he expects Indiana’s next coach to have an offense-first philosophy.
Here’s more on the Pacers:
- As Victor Oladipo enters a contract year, his situation is worth monitoring this offseason. Amick wonders if playing for an offense-first coach like D’Antoni might convince Oladipo to remain in Indiana long-term, while Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report says a number of executives around the league believe the two-time All-Star is a candidate to hit the trade block this offseason.
- Asked about his future with the Pacers this week, Oladipo said he’s not thinking about that right now and is no rush to make any decisions, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “I know what I need to focus on, what I need to do to make sure my knee gets stronger and better and what I need to do to get better as a person and a player,” Oladipo said. “I learned a lot from this year, and I learned a lot from this series, so I just got to continue to keep working.”
- Speaking to reporters after the Pacers’ elimination, big man Myles Turner expressed frustration with the team’s fifth consecutive first round exit, writes Bontemps. “At some point, you have to get over the hump, man,” Turner said. “Five years of being in the playoffs, five first-round exits. So me, personally, I take that s–t personally. You gotta find a way.”
- Count Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra among those who wasn’t a fan of the Pacers’ decision to fire McMillan. Spoelstra said today that McMillan’s ouster was “totally ridiculous” and was critical of the “media fake extension” that Indiana gave him earlier this month (Twitter link via Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald). That contract extension reportedly just added a team option to McMillan’s deal, rather than any guaranteed seasons.
- In an Insider article for ESPN.com, Bobby Marks previews the Pacers’ offseason, including looming decisions on Oladipo and T.J. Warren. As Marks observes, Warren will be extension-eligible, but Indiana can’t offer more than $49.3MM over three years.