Pacers to hire Raptors assistant Bjorkgren as head coach

Raptors assistant Nate Bjorkgren offers instruction during a timeout on the Disney campus.

The Indiana Pacers have made a decision on a new head coach and that man is Toronto Raptors assistant Nate Bjorkgren, according to J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star.

Bjorkgren, 45, has been an assistant under Nick Nurse for two seasons. Before that he served as an assistant with the Phoenix Suns and the head coach of the G-League’s Iowa Energy and Bakersfield Jam.

He emerged from a list of candidates that reportedly included former Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni, former NBA guard Chauncey Billups, current New Orleans Pelicans assistant Chris Finch and multiple others.

From 2004-07, Bjorkgren started his career with Cactus Shadows High School in Cave Creek, Ariz.

The Pacers are replacing Nate McMillan, fired earlier this month after four seasons. Team president Kevin Pritchard recently outlined what he was looking for in a replacement.

“We’ve seen some of the hirings over the last few years, and they’re coming from all over the board,” Pritchard said. “The way I’ve set up this process is, we want to start with a big pool then get down smaller and smaller. I don’t want to rule that out. If there’s an existing coach who has experience, who knows how to build a program, but maybe has a little mark or has something he needs to improve on.

“… I believe this, that the head coach is critically important, but nowadays, that second, third and fourth coach almost are more important. So how they build out their structure and their coaching staff is critical.”

About the Author

Sam Amico
Sam Amico is the founder and senior writer of Amico Hoops. He has covered the NBA on a full-time basis for both Sports Illustrated and FOX Sports, and has been a regular contributor to CBS Sports, the Boston Herald and

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