Nate McMillan gets an extension – which has been well-earned despite asinine arguments to the contrary

Nate McMillan is going to be the Pacers coach for at least another year, which should make fans happy.

Pacers coach Nate McMillan got a one-year extension today, and it was the exact right thing to do, regardless of a small subset of silly fans.

Despite a stack of evidence as high as the ceiling of Bankers Life Fieldhouse, there is a sect of Pacers fans on social media that whined after today’s announcement about how they would like McMillan to join Frank Vogel and Jim O’Brien as former Pacers coaches.

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They yelp about McMillan’s inability to win playoff series during his entire career, adjustments, and out of bounds plays that lack creativity.  Never mind that most of the disgruntled have never coached even a CYO game.  I would prefer to talk about McMillan’s success despite rosters that flip almost every season.

Here are the Pacers top five players in McMillan’s four seasons with the Pacers (current players in bold):


  • Paul George
  • Jeff Teague
  • Myles Turner
  • Thad Young
  • Monta Ellis


  • Victor Oladipo
  • Thad Young
  • Myles Turner
  • Bojan Bogdanovic
  • Darren Collison


  • Victor Oladipo (lost for the season after 36 games)
  • Thad Young
  • Myles Turner
  • Bojan Bogdanovic
  • Darren Collison


  • Domas Sabonis (lost for the Bubble)
  • TJ Warren
  • Malcolm Brogdon
  • Myles Turner
  • Jeremy Lamb (Lost for the season after game 46)
  • (Victor Oladipo has returned to play 20 games)

Despite the roster churn and injury issues, the Pacers have been able to click away impressive regular season winning percentages of .512, .585, .585, and .611.  Minus the stirring seven-game series loss to the eventual runner-up Cavaliers, the Pacers have bowed out quickly in the postseason, but it hasn’t been quite that simple.

In McMillan’s first season with an undermanned team, the Pacers were swept by the Cavs, but lost those four games by a combined 16 points.  By the way, the Cavs also swept the Raptors and beat the Celtics in five on their way to the finals.  The Celtics losses were by 13 (twice), 33, and 44.  It was argued accurately at the time that the Pacers played the Cavs closer than any of the three opponents the Cavs thrashed on their way to the finals.

The second year saw the hard-fought seven-game series loss to the Cavs, who then went on to sweep the Raptors (again), and beat the Celtics in six.  Again, it was argued the Pacers played the Cavs the toughest.

Last year, the Pacers were rolling with a 32-15 record when Oladipo went down with his torn right quad tendon.  From that point forward, the Pacers slogged through the rest of the regular season trying to replace their all-star, posting a 16-19 record before being dispatched in a non-competitive opening round series against the Celtics.

So the flaws McMillan’s detractors are so quick to cite were that his team twice lost to the eventual Eastern Conference champs prior to the Raptors and Celtics, and then lost Oladipo for the season at a point where they were on pace to win 55 games.

In his fourth year, this year, the Pacers returned a grand total of one starter, added Oladipo back to the lineup January 29th, needed to adjust to Brogdon missing games for a variety of injuries five times, and tried to get his team prepped for an unprecedented bubble finish to the season.  Including today’s win over the Rockets, the Pacers are 5-2, despite Sabonis being in Los Angeles getting treatment for plantar fasciitis.

Fans of change, be careful what you wish for.  McMillan has been damn good at getting the Pacers to play consistently hard, smart (mostly), and unselfish basketball.  Ask for a new coach at your own risk of sounding like you know nothing about the game you claim to love.

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