Indiana Pacers Hire Nate Bjorkgren as their Next Head Coach
Shams Charania is the senior lead NBA insider/Writer/Analyst for The Athletic and Stadium. He has confirmed that Nate Bjorkgren, has left the Raptors to become the head coach of the Pacers.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 20, 2020
This will be Bjorkgren’s first-ever NBA head coaching job. However, he does have experience at the NBA level. He was the assistant coach of the Phoenix Suns from 2015-17 and the Raptors from 2018-20.
Nate Bjorkgren has also found success in the NBA and D-League (now G League) level. In 2011 he won the NBA D-League championship with Iowa Energy. He also won the 2019 Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy with the Raptors.
Coincidently, Nick Nurse was the head coach of both the 2010-11 Iowa Energy and the 2018-19 Raptors. This is what current Raptors head coach Nurse said about the Nate Bjorkgren signing according to First Take: Stephen A. Smith:
“Very happy for him, great person, great coach, we’ve we’ve done a lot of basketball together side by side he certainly deserves the job the Pacer’s got a good one,” Nurse said.
Nate Bjorkgren’s Role with the Toronto Raptors
Nate Bjorkgren has been a successful assistant coach with the Raptors. The Raptors won the 2019 NBA championship and produced several great players like Fred VanVleet, Norman Powell, and Pascal Siakam. Bjorkgren will be hoping to do the same with the Pacers and make them a model franchise in the NBA.
The Expectation with the Indiana Pacers
The expectation for Nate Bjorkgren will most likely involve getting past the first round. The Pacers made the NBA playoffs five-straight times but were unable to get past the first round each time.
The Pacers are a good team as they finished with 45 wins and 28 losses in the 2019-20 NBA season. This record was better than the Miami Heat, who ended up going to the NBA Finals this year.
Now, the playoffs are different than the regular season, but it does show the potential of the Pacers side. Domantas Sabonis, who is only 24 years made his first-ever NBA All-Star Game this year.
Furthermore, right now the Pacers have a 28-year-old Victor Oladipo. He has represented the Pacers in both the 2018 and 2019 NBA All-Star Games. Although, he could be traded in the off-season this year.
Lastly, the Pacers have 27-year-old T.J. Warren, who averaged 31.0 points, 2.0 assists, and 6.3 rebounds in the 2019-20 NBA season part of the bubble. As a result, Warren made the All-Bubble First Team. There are a lot of good players on the Pacers team.
There is going to be a lot of pressure on Bjorkgren. Nate McMillan was controversially fired as Pacers head coach after getting swept by the Heat in the first round of the NBA playoffs this year.
In a sudden turn, the Pacers fired Nate McMillan as head coach just two weeks after announcing a contract extension. https://t.co/mPwkY7pppL
— USA TODAY NBA (@usatodaynba) August 26, 2020
McMillan also did not have Oladipo in the 2019 NBA playoffs and Sabonis in the 2020 NBA playoffs because of injuries. It is an issue Bjorkgren might also have to deal with as head coach of the Pacers.
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