3 Most Likely Replacements for Nate Bjorkgren as Pacers Head Coach
After a year of struggles and injuries, the Indiana Pacers will look to move on from the disappointing 2020-21 campaign following their loss in the NBA Play-In Tournament. Reports of first-year head coach Nate Bjorkgren causing tension behind the scenes means he could be on his way out after just one season.
Team president Kevin Pritchard was noncommittal to the head coach at his year-end press conference, which speak volumes about Bjorkgren's job security.
This is a talented Pacers team that should draw interest from top candidates if there is a vacancy this summer. Here are three likely replacements for Bjorkgren as Indiana's next head coach.
Pacers Head Coach Candidates
3. Becky Hammon
Momentum is building for San Antonio Spurs assistant Becky Hammon to make history as the first full-time female NBA head coach, and Indiana should give her the chance. She's one of the greatest WNBA players of all time and has earned raved reviews as an assistant to Gregg Popovich. Hammon has been on a head-coaching development track, from leading the Spurs' Summer League team in 2015 to filling in as acting head coach when Pop was ejected from a game earlier this season. She's drawn interest from teams in the past, and she even interviewed with the Pacers last year before they hired Bjorkgren. It's clear Indiana needs a breath of fresh air and an injection of optimism after this down season. Hiring Hammon as head coach would bring exactly that.
2. Chauncey Billups
The Pacers could bring in Mr. Big Shot himself Chauncey Billups to lead the team as well. He was another candidate that interviewed for Indiana's vacancy last year before ultimately joining Ty Lue as an assistant for the Los Angeles Clippers. Former players are always looked at as possible head coaches after they retire, and an accomplished point guard like Billups should have a cache of knowledge to pass on to the roster. The five-time All-Star and 2004 Finals MVP knows what it takes for a team to get to the promised land. While Indiana has enjoyed recent success, they haven't broken through yet. Billups may be the leader they need to rise to the top in a stacked Eastern Conference.
1. Mike D'Antoni
Respected head coach Mike D'Antoni is rumored to be the frontrunner for the Pacers gig if it does open up. He rose to prominence with the Seven Seconds or Less Phoenix Suns who challenged in the Western Conference during the mid-2000s and was part of conference finals runs with the Houston Rockets in recent years. His experience coaching true contenders is exactly what the Pacers could use as they hope to take the next step with a talented core headlined by All-Star Domantas Sabonis. It's hard not to imagine what D'Antoni could do with an offense that features Sabonis, Caris LeVert, Malcolm Brogdon and Myles Turner. After taking a chance on an unknown in Bjorkgren, nabbing a veteran coach to bring some stability is one way to fix the Pacers' current issues.
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Isaiah De Los Santos is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Isaiah De Los Santos also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username zayyy05328. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.