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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Chauncey Billups Indiana Pacers
Chauncey Billups (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/BIG3/Getty Images) /

Indiana Pacers possible replacement if Nate Bjorkgren is fired: Chauncey Billups

Easily the least experienced in the bunch, former champion and All-Star Chauncey Billups has only recently launched his own coaching career, joining Tyronn Lue’s staff as an assistant coach for the LA Clippers this season.

Despite his relative inexperience manning the sidelines, Billups, like D’Antoni, came close to securing the open head coaching job for the Pacers last offseason. The decorated point guard is a cerebral thinker and perennial All-Star who notably led the Detroit Pistons to a championship in 2004. Also, he was a constant thorn on the side of Indiana for a good portion of the 2000s, so he isn’t particularly foreign to the organization. In addition, he has good ties with Indiana’s Malcolm Brogdon.

Much of the work that he has put in with the Clippers this season is with player development. Veteran point guard Reggie Jackson, who is having some sorts of a career renaissance this season, pointed to Billups as one of the main factors for his much-improved play as a facilitator and a team defender. And that figures to hold up if he lands in Indiana where he can help mitigate issues plaguing the team that stem from a lack of discipline.

As the recent turmoil shows, the interpersonal aspect of coaching should never be understated. Billups’ prowess on the X’s and O’s of the game remains to be seen, but his way of connecting with the players is already top-notch. This can help in establishing a culture in Indiana that is a lot more conducive to team chemistry and yield to winning.

Hiring Chauncey Billups will elicit a willingness on the part of the front office to remain patient and embrace in-house development. Indiana is not a hotspot for free agent, nor trade igniters. Organically letting Billups grow with the team’s core, which is still young, can elevate the ceiling of this Pacers team.

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