Hansen: Indiana Pacers made correct decision firing Nate McMillan

<p>Pacers shooting guard Victor Oladipo will drive the pace car at the Indy 500 Sunday, May 27. The car tops out at 212 mph. <strong>AP Photo</strong></p>

Pacers shooting guard Victor Oladipo will drive the pace car at the Indy 500 Sunday, May 27. The car tops out at 212 mph. AP Photo

Ian Hansen is a junior news journalism major. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the newspaper. Write to Ian at imhansen@bsu.edu

After four seasons, the Indiana Pacers finally made the correct decision. They thought hard about their future because with Nate McMillan as the head coach, there is a small chance of winning long term.

After four seasons of getting the fourth or fifth seed, but losing in the first round (three of which were sweeps), The Indiana Pacers finally fired McMillan. The timing was peculiar due to the fact that President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard announced an extension for him right before their playoff series against the Miami Heat.

The tides turned after arguably the worst series I have seen them play in, well ever. Not only did the Indiana Pacers get swept by the Miami Heat, but they got manhandled each and every game. 

One of the biggest gripes people had about McMillan was his archaic offense and his inability to make adjustments between games. They ran a simple and predictable offense that revolved around the pick and roll. It rarely set up players outside of the ball-handler and the player setting the screen.

Indiana does not have an elite player to mask McMillan’s flaws on offense, so it made things look stagnant and did not have the longevity to win a playoff series. It wasn’t all on McMillan either. I still have my doubts about Pritchard and his ability to put together a championship roster.

The issue stems from mediocrity. They don’t rebuild and draft players who will eventually become elite. This, combined with not being able to contend leaves them in a state of purgatory, which is the worst position in the NBA.

Despite this, they are headed in the right direction with simply getting rid of the coach, and if they want to be taken seriously in this league they need to hire someone who will have an offensive mindset. They do not need a coach who thinks the league is heading in the direction of two big men playing on the court at the same time.

My two top choices would either be current Houston Rockets head coach, Mike D’antoni, or former Brooklyn Nets head coach, Kenny Atkinson. These are two coaches who emphasize three-point shooting and both led their respective teams to be top-5 in three-point attempts last season. 

This, combined with their ability to develop young players will do wonders for an Indiana team still trying to get over that hump. McMillan and the rest of the team struggled to put their young players in situations to succeed. Two of their first-round draft picks didn’t even get playing time this season. 

There are many questions heading into this next season. Their future will depend on who they select as their head coach, being able to develop young talent and fine-tuning the roster to win. As a small-market team, this is the best route to go.

Contact Ian Hansen with any comments at imhansen@bsu.edu or on Twitter @ianh_2.


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