Nate McMillan is back as a head coach in the NBA.
It was reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical that the Indiana Pacers and McMillan are finalizing a deal that will allow him to be their next head coach. McMillan has been serving in an assistant coach capacity with the Pacers since 2013.
The Indiana Pacers are finalizing a deal to promote assistant Nate McMillan to head coach, league sources tell @TheVertical.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) May 15, 2016
While there's no doubt that the 51-year-old is an experienced head coach with a history of winning, the hiring decision is a little bit odd for Indiana. President of basketball operations Larry Bird had previously stated his intention for the Pacers to run a more high up-tempo offense. It was considered one of the decisions why he fired Frank Vogel, who favored a grind-it-out offensive philosophy while playing stingy defense.
However, McMillan also comes from a similar background. During his coaching stop with the Seattle Supersonics, the team averaged just 89.3 possessions per 48 minutes in five seasons, while the Portland Trail Blazers averaged just 88.2 possessions during his seven-season tenure there.
Having said that, although his teams have been historically slow, he's had four top-five offenses:
Nate McMillan's teams have ranked in bottom 6 in pace in 9 of his 10 full seasons, but he's had 4 top-5 offenses. pic.twitter.com/n7lJXNm6wd
— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) May 15, 2016
McMillan has a 478-452 career record as a head coach. While his teams have never won less than 32 games in a full season, he's only led his team out of the first round of the playoffs just once.
As the Pacers continue to move on to a more small-ball, up-tempo approach, it should be interesting to see how McMillan adapts his coaching style to the one that Bird desires.
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