Indiana Pacers: 3 coaching candidates to replace Nate Bjorkgren if he is fired

Nate Bjorkgren, Indiana Pacers - Credit: David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports
Nate Bjorkgren, Indiana Pacers - Credit: David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mike D'Antoni Indiana Pacers
Mike D’Antoni – Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

Indiana Pacers possible replacement if Nate Bjorkgren is fired: Mike D’Antoni

If the Indiana Pacers opt for a more drastic change with the best chances for great immediate returns, then hiring decorated coach Mike D’Antoni is bound to pay dividends. The offensive guru, the engineer of trendsetting offenses with the “seven seconds or less” Phoenix Suns from 2003-2008 and the Harden-era Houston Rockets from 2016-2020, will electrify the team’s offense which still ranks 15th in the association despite improvement in that area.

Currently the associate assistant coach for Steve Nash with the Brooklyn Nets, the 69-year-old is still reportedly pursuing a head coaching job. And this may bode well for the Pacers, who notably targeted the veteran coach for its opening in the offseason before settling for Bjorkgren.

D’Antoni’s teams have usually been criticized for being too one-dimensional and less reliant on defense, but his success is unquestionable. It should also be noted though that his squads were not necessarily equipped to be masters at preventing points. However, in his Rockets tenure, the defensive capabilities of those Houston teams were understated, evidently with the 2018-18 squad that flirted with an NBA Finals appearance which was the league’s 7th-best defensive unit that season.

Other than defense, the biggest knack on D’Antoni’s coaching career was his inability to get his teams over the hump. His Suns tenure saw him repeatedly lose to Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs and his Rockets stint saw him fall prey to Steve Kerr and the dynasty Warriors. He has never led a squad to the Finals, but hey, coaching can only do so much, especially in the Western Conference where he spent the bulk of his coaching career.

With the Pacers still vying to be competitive and resisting an exhaustive rebuild, hiring Mike D’Antoni can help the roster achieve greater heights with his innovative thinking and notable amity with players and coaching staff. Just watch out for the possibility of missing 27 threes in a row.