After a three-year stint as the lead assistant to head coach Frank Vogel, Nate McMillan has signed a three-year deal to become Vogel’s replacement with the Indiana Pacers. The deal comes with no options for the team or the coach, according to the report by Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.
However, McMillan isn’t a rookie as a head coach at all. The Pacers will be his third head coaching gig, after previous stops with the Portland Trailblazers and Seattle Supersonics. He was let go from the Trailblazers in 2012 after a seven-year stint at the helm of that team, but never was able to get the team out of the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.
McMillan hasn’t been all bad as a head coach, sporting a .514 winning percentage in his 12 years as a head coach.
He’ll take over a team that is competitive in the Eastern conference, but slipped to the seventh seed and was ousted by the Toronto Raptors in a seven-game series in the opening round this season.
It certainly is a risky move for the Pacers, as McMillan certainly has a track record of mediocre runs as a head coach and the Pacers just got rid of the man he was serving under for not achieving more in the past three years himself.
I think Nate McMillan is a good coach. I don’t know that he can get more out of the Pacers than Vogel could.
— Greg Wissinger (@gwiss) May 16, 2016
Reaction to the hire has been muted at best, and something that Bird probably wasn’t hoping for.
Larry Bird-"It's time for a new voice"
*Hires Nate McMillan for Head coach when he has been with the pacers for years.
— Dale Sierp (@DaleSierp) May 16, 2016
It appears the challenge for McMillan it to separate himself from his role under Vogel and find his own voice and vision for the team. Will that be possible with just a three-year deal in place and Larry Bird looking over one’s shoulder?