After letting Frank Vogel go, the Indiana Pacers quickly found their new head coach, announcing on Monday that they promoted associate head coach Nate McMillan to the vacant role. McMillan served as associate coach under Vogel for three years. Team president of basketball operations Larry Bird believes that the former Trail Blazers and SuperSonics coach is the best fit for the Pacers.
"I truly believe Nate is the right coach for us at this time," said Bird in a Pacers' release. "When I heard he was interested, I got in touch with him, met with him and in our conversation I came away with all the confidence in the world in Nate to lead our franchise to where we want to go. His experience as a player, head coach and assistant coach in the NBA are valuable assets for us."
"I want to thank Larry, Herb Simon and the Pacers for this opportunity, which is a great opportunity," said McMillan. "I've been around this franchise three years and understand what the expectations are and look forward to working hard to try to meet them. We have a good team and good base to build from. I'm very anxious to get started."
- NBA TV (@NBATV) May 16, 2016
The Pacers did not announce the terms of McMillan's contract but according to The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski, he signed a three-year deal with the team. This is notable because Bird believes that coaches should only coach a team for three years.
Indiana Pacers coach Nate McMillan signed a three-year contract, league sources tell @TheVertical. No options in the deal.
- Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) May 16, 2016
McMillan experienced mixed success in his previous head coaching gigs and his hiring seemed puzzling at the time since his teams usually have a slow and methodical pace on offense, which is quite contrary to how Bird wants the Pacers to play. But McMillan addressed this issue at a press conference on Monday, telling reporters that his system will likely be much different than it was in the past.
McMillan: "My approach will be different than it was in 2005. The game has changed... A lot."
-- Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) May 16, 2016
This is a promising outlook for McMillan to have and if the Pacers are able to retain assistant coach Dan Burke, who Bird wants back since he is a big part of the team defensive philosophy, Indiana should be right back in the mix in the East next season.