Larry Bird Wants the Indiana Pacers to Score 105 Points Per Game

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May 16, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird announces Nate McMillan as the new head coach during a press conference at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

May 16, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird announces Nate McMillan as the new head coach during a press conference at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Larry Bird wants the Indiana Pacers to score more than 105 points a game this season.

Larry Bird has once again stated that he’d like the Pacers to score more points.

The question is, how will Nate McMillan’s revamped roster be able to achieve that?

Larry Bird has once again brought us Groundhog Day in August as the headlines read “I want the Pacers to score more points” day after day. This time, he reminded us during an interview on the Dan Patrick Show.

This time around, though, the bar is set at a definitive number. “We want a style where we can score… I’d like to score 105 points a game or maybe 106, but still defend the way we have,” said Larry Bird on the Dan Patrick Show

“We want a style where we can score… I’d like to score 105 points a game or maybe 106, but still defend the way we have,” said Larry Bird on the Dan Patrick Show

Bird wants the extra points while also remaining under the assumption that the Pacers can defend like they have in years past. And this expectation comes despite the departure of the head coach — Frank Vogel — that brought the Pacers, at Bird’s request, from 97.3 PPG to 102.3 PPG in one year while leading the team to third in the NBA defensive rating.

It’s clear that last year’s improvement wasn’t high enough for Bird, and he wants to push the bar even further. Jumping from 102 points to (for the sake of arguing let’s take the low end of the rate) 105 points would’ve put the Pacers squarely in seventh place in team PPG last season, only a smidge behind Portland and Boston for the sixth and fifth spots.

Expecting to be a near top-five offensive team isn’t a particularly outlandish request, though with the team’s roster last year it might’ve been one. However, Bird seemed to take steps in the right direction this offseason with the addition of players like Jeff Teague, Thaddeus Young, and Al Jefferson — all players that have made a name through their offensive ability and less so their defensive.

On the opposite side of the coin, however, Bird decided to replace Vogel with assistant head coach Nate McMillan, who on paper is batting about an .000 on the things Bird wanted in a new leader.

During the interview, Bird had some praise for McMillan, saying that “Nate’s got over 900 games that he’s coached in the NBA and he’s got a style…I think he’s going to do an excellent job for us.”

McMillan has coached over 900 NBA games, yes. He might do an excellent job for the Pacers, yes. He has a style, yes.

But that style? Slow-paced. In fact, McMillan coached, in sequential order, the 24th, 27th, 15th, 27th, 28th, 29th, 29th, 30th, 30th, and 30th fastest teams in the NBA in his head coaching tenure. Also, the Defensive Rating of those teams were 17th, 17th, 27th, 27th, 28th, 26th, 17th, 13th, 15th, and 14th in the league. None of those numbers are close to third.

So, maintaining the defensive prowess of Vogel’s Pacers while bumping up the PPG total to 105 may be a more daunting task than the roster may indicate.

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