Late last night, Yahoo.com reported that Pacers are expected to name Nate McMillan head coach. Yes, the same Nate McMillan who was two seats down from Frank Vogel. Larry Bird mentioned last week during the press conference that he was looking for a fresh face, new voice for the players.
Larry wanted a up-tempo, high scoring team and felt that Frank couldn’t get it done. So who do you go with, someone already within the system and someone who is defensively oriented. McMillan’s teams while he was in Portland and Seattle scored an average of 92 PPG and were ranked 17th in offense each year.
Pacers fans, don’t frat….we were never going to get Mark Jackson (never had interest in job), or D’Antoni or Van Gundy. McMillan is someone who knows what Larry expects and has built a rapport with the team. McMillan was with Pacers GM Kevin Pritchard in Portland and was “his guy” so it is easy to see why they went with McMillan over the other candidates. While at first I wasn’t too “excited” that the Pacers signed McMillan, in the end he is a experience coach who has what it takes to build a winning team (see Portland during the Roy and Aldridge era).
McMillan has won over 50 % of his games and has lead his teams to the playoffs five times. He’s coached two teams to 50 + wins. The pressure will be on McMillan to win and do what he can to keep Paul George here after 2 years.
I honestly can see a scenario where McMillan in the next two years doesn’t get past a 6 seed in the East and gets fired, Paul George bolts for LA, and Larry Bird resigns from his position, which would leave the Pacers at rebuilt mode and hurt this fan base.
In conclusion, Let’s give Nate a chance and see what he can do with these players. Yes it isn’t flashy but flashy doesn’t always win championships. I’m anxious and excited to see what culture change he has for the Pacers and also what Bird and Pritchard do this off season to get the pieces that McMillan needs to be successful.
Larry & Kevin, get the right pieces here and a true Point Guard for Coach McMillan and let’s see what happens. Yes it’s not a sexy pick by Larry but it may just be the right one at this time. Time will tell.
Welcome aboard Nate & Go Pacers !!
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