With the NBA All-Star game behind us, there are still a few days before Nate McMillan and the Indiana Pacers take the court again. Before Friday’s contest against the New York Knicks, there are a few adjustments Coach McMillan needs to make.
Now, with a few days before the team takes the floor again, there are some adjustments the four-year coach needs to make to take this team to the next level.
The stretch right before the Pacers reached the All-Star break was downright dismal.
With the Pacers losing six straight games before barely escaping a Giannis Antetokounmpo-less Milwaukee Bucks team, some glaring changes need to be made before attacking the near 30 games left on the schedule.
There is justification for wanting to be patient with the Pacers’ coaching staff due to the continuous changes the roster has undergone the past few weeks, but there needs to be a sense of urgency as the Eastern Conference race only gets tighter.
Before the Pacers’ six-game losing the streak, the team had a firm hold on the 5th seed in the conference, with room to grow.
Now, the team has slipped and will need to climb the ladder in hopes of securing a higher seed.
It’s imperative that the Pacers return from the All-Star break on a positive note, or the latter half of the season will be painful.
The Pacers have a proven coaching staff from top to bottom so fans should have faith in the group.
What they already have done this season is impressive considering the bevy of changes. As a result, there is an expectation for things to turn the corner.
Hopefully, with some coaching adjustments, the true form of the 2019-2020 Indiana Pacers will start to take shape.
Here are three adjustments Coach McMillan should make after the All-Star break:
Get Doug McDermott involved earlier
The NBA has transformed into a league that is dependent on the three-ball.
It’s no secret that the Indiana Pacers have struggled to make and defend three-pointers this season. However, Doug McDermott has been the bright spot for the Pacers when it comes to anything beyond the arc.
McDermott is having his best season as a Pacer and that has been due to his ability to bring a spark off the bench by finding his shot early and often.
The small forward is shooting 44% from three-point range, which would be a career-best if the season ended today when he’s played in 30 or more games in a season.
McDermott is averaging 20 minutes played per game this season, but McMillan needs to increase that number in order for the Pacers to stay afloat against teams that dominate using the three-ball.
The Pacers’ bench has been the strongest link regarding three-pointers. Both Justin Holiday and McDermott have given the Pacers life.
It will be imperative for McDermott to continue his strong shooting as the Pacers look to improve. One way to do that is for Coach McMillan to call on his number earlier and more often.
McDermott is important to the team’s overall success.
Not staggering Myles Turner’s minutes
Myles Turner has had a solid season so far, but the center expects more from himself and so do fans.
For fans, it has been evident that Turner is at his best when in a rhythm.
The big man has had flashes of brilliance this season but just hasn’t been able to string together strong performances. Turner’s play this season has been sporadic but due to coaching decisions.
Coach McMillan hasn’t been doing his center justice by staggering his minutes, especially late in games.
In crunch time, it is expected for a team’s leader and veteran to step up to the plate. However, if that player is not on the floor, they cannot contribute to the greater good, that is the case with Turner.
There is an understanding of limiting a players’ minutes due to the length of the season and number of games in succession, but to give the team the best chance to win, Turner needs to not have long stretches where he doesn’t see any action.
In addition, staggering minutes has not only thrown off his rhythm, but it seems to have also had impacted his confidence.
Turner is important for this last stretch of the season as the team has high playoff hopes. Getting the center into a safe space will put the team in a position to succeed.
McMillan needs to give Turner some peace of mind regarding minutes played.
Let Malcolm Brogdon and Victor Oladipo ride it out
So far, Brogdon and Oladipo have only played 162 minutes with one another so things are just starting to take off for the duo.
Coach McMillan is trusting the process. Out of the 175 minutes, Oladipo has played this season, only 13 minutes have been without Brogdon on the floor as well.
Brogdon and Oladipo are some of the best players in the NBA and knowing the professionalism of the two, they will find a way to work things out despite the noise that clutters the situation.
Things are just getting started for the duo and that is something important to not lose sight of.
The Indiana Pacers have a lot to look forward to as the second half of the season continues. Coach McMillan has his hands full but is in a great position to display his worth and exhaust the potential of the Indiana Pacers.