Nate McMillan is not exactly the most praised coach by others scouts/executives/coaches around the league. They respect him, but his teams play slowly, are not running the most complex sets, and do not excel defensively. McMillan is seen as a bith of a throwback.
Last season, however, everything came together for McMillan and the Indiana Pacers. Well, mostly Victor Oladipo came together and the Pacers, who most expected to be one of the worst teams in the East but ended up with 48 wins and the five seed. McMillan deserved credit for trusting Oladipo and putting him in good positions to succeed, getting the roster to gel around Oladipo, and with that McMillan earned some Coach of the Year votes (he came in sixth in a crowded field).
Now it is about to get him a contract extension. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN broke the news.
We don’t yet have the details on this contract. NBA coaches with one year left on their contract often get either an extension or let go, having a guy in that “lame duck” year tends to undercut their authority with players and is less than ideal talking to free agents who want to understand the direction a franchise is headed. Indiana is going to stay the course.
McMillan got a largely new roster to come together quickly last season, and he stuck with the lineups that worked well. He earned the extension.
Now the real challenge comes, the Pacers got better this summer. GM Kevin Pritchard added Tyreke Evans and Doug McDermott to the roster to provide shooting and depth, and they drafted well with point guard Aaron Holiday (who impressed at Summer League). This is a deep team, it’s up to McMillan now to fit all the pieces together and get the Pacers to take another step forward.