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Analyzing the Coaching Staff at the Indiana Pacers Ahead of the 2020-21 Season

| December 5, 2020 3:15 am PDT
Indiana Pacers Coaching Staff Analysis for the 2020-21 NBA Season

Life is hard operating out of the same division as Giannis Antetounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks.

Despite that reality, the Pacers have used excellent coaching and balanced play to make the NBA playoffs in each of the last five seasons.

Of course, each of those trips to the postseason led to first round exits. The Indiana brass decided enough was enough, and fired head coach Nate McMillan.

In comes a new head coach and an altered staff, as well as understandably lowered expectations. Most NBA betting sites don’t project the Pacers to do much more than maybe crack the playoffs again, but it’s worth wondering what can be expected out of the Indiana Pacers’ decision-makers on the sidelines.

To get to know the guys in suits better, here’s a look at the Indiana Pacers coaching staff analysis for the 2020-21 NBA season.

Nate Bjorkgren – Head Coach

The Indiana Pacers opted for a coaching change, as getting to the playoffs and losing immediately loses its luster over time. In comes Nate Bjorkgren, who was officially hired as head coach this offseason.

On paper, this looks like a fantastic hire. The 45-year old Bjorkgren has good coaching pedigree, having spent time on the staffs of the Suns and Raptors over the last five years.

Bjorkgren made his first splash in the NBA D-League, where he played a hand in the Energy winning their first ever championship. He parlayed that success into a head coaching gig with the D-League’s Bakersfield Jam, who he led to a stellar 34-16 record in his only year on the job.

From there, Bjorkgren jumped to the pros with the Suns, where he had the unenviable job of working through some terrible seasons.

Fortunately, Bkorkgren’s basketball mind was appreciated by the Raptors. Toronto reached and won their first ever NBA Finals with Bjorkgren providing assistance.

Indiana saw his winning mentality, as well as Bjorkgren’s desire to be aggressive on both sides of the floor. Pacers bench scorer Justin Holiday seems to think Bjorkgren’s talk about firing away early and often isn’t just hyperbole, either.

Should he follow suit on his promise, the Pacers could be an exciting and imposing team in 2020-21 and for years to come.

Indiana Pacers’ Assistant Coaches

  • Kaleb Canales
  • Greg Foster
  • Bill Bayno

Bjorkgren brings a very talented and versatile crew with him to the sidelines each game. One is actually an old face for Pacers fans, as Bill Bayno has been retained and will continue working the same job he’s had since 2016.

The former UNLV head coach is a CBA champion and has an impressive coaching resume dating back to 1985.

He’ll be joined by hand-picked newcomers in Canales and Foster, who were announced as official members of the Indiana Pacers coaching staff in November.

Canales is a very good addition to the staff, having been a trailblazer for the sport. A National Hispanic Sports Hall of Fame inductee and the first Mexican-American head coach in the league’s history, Canales brings 12 years of coaching experience to the table, and has been roaming NBA sidelines since 2008.

Foster is a familiar face, as he had a 13-year NBA career, and has also been part of NBA coaching staffs since 2013. He also brings title-winning experience to the table, having won a championship as a member of the Lakers and appearing in three NBA Finals.

Summary

This is a very diverse and versatile coaching staff the Indiana Pacers have. Words mean very little, but based on where Nate Bjorkgren has been and what he’s saying, Indiana fans should be pretty excited.

His team is already buying in, it seems.

Nate McMillan was a good coach who got results, but his ceiling was always capped due to a conservative nature.

With Bjorkgren and a seemingly underrated Indiana Pacers coaching staff in palace, this could be a much more fun and aggressive team. Now, if only the Pacers could land a superstar, and perhaps then they’d really be a team to fear.

Noah Davis
Noah Davis

Noah Davis is one of the more diverse writers at GamblingSites.com. Like many of his colleagues, he's a huge fan of both football and basketball. But he also writes about box office records, TV show prop bets, DFS, and all kinds of other subjects.

When it comes to the NFL, Noah's favorite team is the Cleveland Browns. He enjoys cheering them on with his wife and daughter.

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