The Indiana Pacers, ninth in the Eastern Conference this season, have decided to part ways with Nate Bjorkgren, who arrived last October.
After three consecutive eliminations in the first round of the play-offs, the Indiana Pacers had decided to part ways with Nate McMillan last season. Since then, the latter has been recruited by the Atlanta Hawks and is currently playing in the semifinals of the Eastern Conference. McMillan was replaced on October 20 by Nate Bjorkgren, but the Pacers have decided to part ways with him as well. With him, the Indiana franchise did not even play in the play-offs, finishing ninth in the regular season (34 wins – 38 losses) before losing to Washington in the play-in. It was the president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard who announced the decision on Wednesday: “It was my decision. It was a really difficult decision, which gave me a lot to think about, ”he admitted.
A fourth coach replaced at the end of the season
Former Phoenix and Toronto assistant Nate Bjorkgren failed to find chemistry within the squad, and wasn’t helped by injuries either, with a TJ Warren so brilliant in the bubble of ‘Orlando, injured in the foot after only four games and absent until the end of the season, and a Caris LeVert (arrived as part of the multi-team trade that led James Harden to Brooklyn) absent for 24 games after having discovered a cancerous tumor in the kidney. But the soon to be 46-year-old coach was still able to count on an exceptional Domantas Sabonis, who finished the season with 20.3 points, 12 rebounds and 6.7 assists on average, well helped by a Malcolm Brogdon at 21.2 points and 5.3 rebounds. But dissensions were felt within the group, and in particular in early May when Goga Bitadze and assistant Greg Foster got confused in the middle of the game. With this dismissal of Nate Bjorkgren, it is in any case a fourth coach of the 2020-21 season who will not be on the bench in 2021-22, after Brad Stevens of the Boston Celtics (he became president of basketball operations), Steve Clifford of Orlando Magic and Terry Stotts of the Portland Trail Blazers, who quit their franchise by mutual agreement.