After making the playoffs and giving him an extension on August 12, the Pacers decided to fire head coach Nate McMillan. They will be one of the many teams searching for a new head coach this offseason. Here are potential head coaching candidates for the Indiana Pacers.
The rumored favorite for the Pacers job is Mike D’Antoni, if he is not retained by the Rockets. He is only under contract through this season, so the Pacers will hope to make a play for D’Antoni if the Rockets decide to move on.
D’Antoni has a 672-527 record in 16 seasons as a head coach He is known for his fast-paced style of play and for having a team that likes to shoot 3-pointers. His extreme style has even seen the Rockets play P.J. Tucker, a 6-foot-5 forward, at center.
The Pacers shoot better than the Rockets from deep, but they also have talented big men in Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis. D’Antoni will have to do some roster reconstruction, but the Pacers have their eye on him anyways.
2. Tyronn Lue
Lue is most famous for his time as the Cleveland Cavaliers head coach, where he won the championship with LeBron James in 2016. He is currently an assistant with the Los Angeles Clippers, but is rumored to be in the running for a lot of head coaching positions this offseason.
In three seasons with Cleveland, Lue won a championship and made the NBA Finals all three seasons. After James left, Lue started off his fourth season with the Cavaliers 0-6 and was fired. He has a 128-83 record as a head coach.
Because he is rumored to be a head coaching candidate for a few teams, Lue will have to pick the job that best suits him. Lue will not have the benefit of having a star that is of the same caliber as James, but the Pacers have a solid roster he could work with or he could move players to try and bring in a superstar.
3. Kenny Atkinson
He was hired as an assistant coach of the Knicks to take over the Nets. It was a rebuilding job and he did solid work, as he helped the team make the playoffs in the last two seasons. His coaching and development were noted around the league.
He was fired during this season with some surmising that new additions Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving wanted a different head coach. Atkinson posted a 118-190 record with the Nets and looked like he could continue to improve the team.
Atkinson was able to get the most out of the Nets, which is exactly what the Pacers need. They have plenty of good players, but need them all to be healthy and play to their potential in the playoffs.
4. Mark Jackson
Jackson has been an analyst for ESPN since being the head coach of the Golden State Warriors. Before that point, he was a point guard in the league for 17 seasons for seven different franchises, including the Pacers from 1994-2000.
In three seasons coaching the Warriors, he had a 121-109 record and made the playoffs in his last two seasons. Jackson was only able to win one playoff series and was fired, before the Warriors went on a run of dominance.
That was Jackson’s only coaching experience and he did solidly. He helped mold the Warriors, even if he wasn’t around for the championships. With the experience he has now and because he played in Indiana, he could be a good fit for the job.
5. Becky Hammon
Hammon has had her name in the head coaching rumor mill for a while, but hasn’t receiverd her shot yet. She has even been in the running for front office jobs, but has remained on the Spurs’ bench as an assistant since 2014.
She played for Colorado State in college and then had a good pro career in the WNBA and Europe. Since joining the Spurs, Hammon has helped them reach the playoffs in every year, but this season and the team did make it to the Western Conference Finals in 2017.
In her time with the Spurs, she has built the reputation as a good coach. She would be the first female head coach in NBA history.
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