NBA Rumors: Indiana Pacers Promoting Nate McMillan To Head Coach Despite Bad Fit

NBA rumors are swirling around Nate McMillan. According to ESPN, the Indiana Pacers are closing in on a deal that will make the former point guard their next head coach. McMillan is reported to be replacing Frank Vogel, who was surprisingly let go after the playoffs ended. The move comes as somewhat of a surprise to many in the National Basketball Association because it is a bad fit with what team president Larry Bird is looking for.

Frank Vogel is an experienced head coach in the NBA. There seems to be a lot interest from various teams looking to acquire his services right now. Larry Bird, however, appears to believe that Vogel is not the right man to run the Indiana Pacers. The former Boston Celtics great wanted the team to play more uptempo. Bird wanted more offense. Vogel, though, wanted to focus on defense and play traditional lineups instead of going small ball.

NBA coach Frank Vogel
Frank Vogel [Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images]
Familiarity might be the biggest reason why Nate McMillan is being promoted to the head coaching position with the Indiana Pacers. He already has a working relationship with Larry Bird. McMillan is already aware of what Bird wants from the Pacers offense. Bird already knows what type of employee McMillan is. Bird might feel more comfortable with McMillan changing up his style to suit the vision that Larry has for Indiana.

Another possible reason why Nate McMillan is being promoted to head coach by the Indiana Pacers is because of his relationship with general manager Kevin Pritchard. McMillan and Pritchard worked together in the Portland Trail Blazers organization. Pritchard might have played a big key in convincing Larry Bird to give McMillan a chance. Pritchard might have convince Bird to go with McMillan instead of someone like Scott Skiles, who recently shocked the NBA by announcing his resignation from the Orlando Magic.

Indiana Pacers president Larry Bird
Larry Bird [Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images]
The vision that Larry Bird has for the Indiana Pacers is for them to become more like the Golden State Warriors. He wants his team to be as exciting as the defending NBA Champions. For much of the past season, Bird tried to convince Frank Vogel to play Paul George at power forward instead of his natural position of small forward. Vogel knew that his star player didn’t want to do that, so he kept him on the perimeter.

Unfortunately for Indiana Pacers fans, Nate McMillan isn’t the type of coach that plays uptempo basketball. He’s much more traditional. Like Frank Vogel, McMillan likes traditional lineups that play defense and slow down the game. Larry Bird wants the opposite. There’s a good chance that McMillan is going to revert to having Paul George playing small forward after briefly trying him out at power forward. The team will more than likely utilize the rising Myles Turner at power forward instead.

Indiana Pacers forward Paul George
Paul George [Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images]
Though it seems highly unlikely, there’s a chance that Nate McMillan might change up his coaching style. He’s been a head coach in the NBA for more than a decade. McMillan has had stints with the Portland Trail Blazers and Seattle SuperSonics, the team that he played for. Since his resume isn’t all that outstanding, it wouldn’t be out of the realms of possibility that Larry Bird has convinced McMillan to change up his style.

For good or bad, Nate McMillan is receiving his third chance to be a head coach in the NBA. Indiana Pacers fans are not all that enthusiastic about the move because they fear that McMillan is not a fit with Larry Bird. However, the only way we are going to know for sure is when the next season starts in the fall. McMillan will either be the answer, or he will be gone by next summer.

[Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]

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