Indiana Pacers: 3 early head coach candidates if Nate McMillan is fired

Indiana Pacers -(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Indiana Pacers -(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Indiana Pacers
Indiana Pacers (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Nate McMillan could be fired by the Indiana Pacers

Things are heating up in Orlando. Recent Indiana Pacers rumors indicate Nate McMillan’s job is in critical condition.

That’s a disagreeable notion, in my humble opinion. As I stated in the article linked above, it makes little sense to move on from an above-average coach who has weathered quite the storm over the last year — with things that are far from in his control — during a stretch where the league environment will be anything but stable.

Nonetheless, I’m not paid the big bucks to make the coaching decisions, I’m just here to analyze and predict. And while a coaching search would undoubtedly bring up plenty of possible names both obvious and under the radar, these three candidates feel like the most likely to gain consideration in what would undoubtedly be a wide-scoped coaching search.

Pacers head coaching candidates: Jeff Van Gundy

Alright, let’s just get this one out of the way. Jeff Van Gundy hasn’t coached since 2007, but as a commentator for the last several years he’s arguably as in the know as one needs to be to take on a head coaching role.

Even more interesting is the fact that JVG technically reported that McMillan’s job is in danger. I don’t know if that implicates him as a serious option one way or another, but it’s a thing.

When he’s commentating, one can often hear JVG talking about anything but the game in front of him. And if he does happen to be talking about the game, he’s often complaining, most frequently about the state of officiating.

Who knows, maybe that’s what you need in a coach — a pessimist. After all, finding flaws and aiming to improve them is important in the head coaching role, right?

That said, JVG’s complaining, to me, often comes with little depth or nuance. I’m not sure his complaints are the type to foster further success. Complaining about officiating would only result in fines like crazy. Unless JVG is doing this one pro bono, not sure it’s for him.

Spending years coaching the Knicks and Rockets, Van Gundy posts a career-long winning record. The pinnacle of his coaching experience was in year four with the New York Knicks when he led them to an Eastern Conference Championship, only to lose to the San Antonio Spurs in the Finals.

Jeff Van Gundy is one of the classics from the 90s, and him coming back to coach would be legitimately intriguing, but on the Pacers? I don’t know, I don’t really see it. As one of the most well-known coaching candidates out there, though, he’ll get consideration for just about any open role.