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How much blame does Nate McMillan deserve for the Pacers game 1 performance?

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  • How much blame does Nate McMillan deserve for the Pacers game 1 performance?

    How much of the Pacers Game 1 dud falls on the shoulders of Nate McMillan?


    In their most important game of the season thus far, Nate McMillan’s Indiana Pacers played what may be their worst half in a long time. Worse than the 24-0 run in Oklahoma City, worse than the second half against Philadelphia.

    In this second half, Indiana scored eight third-quarter points and 29 in the entire half. Their 74 points are the lowest in a playoff game since the Grizzlies sputtered against the Spurs for 68 points about a half-decade ago. It was a forgettable showing from Indiana.

    When catastrophe strikes, the angry mob seeks someone to blame. It’s one of the consistent phenomena of the human race throughout time and it held true today. Inevitably, one of the names that come up consistently when the Pacers play poorly is Nate McMillan. The “fire Nate” takes come and go, but they were out in full force after the bludgeoning Boston dealt Indy this afternoon.

    So, how much blame does Nate McMillan deserve? Not only for the 24 minutes of misery in Boston today but for the Pacers’ shortcomings as a whole? McMillan is far from a perfect coach. He has many flaws and the Celtics today were in an ideal position to expose those flaws.

    In contrast to the Golden State Warriors, third quarter collapses have become somewhat of a theme for this Pacer team late in this season. After the All-Star break, the Pacers’ third-quarter net rating of -9.1 is the fourth worst in the league. During 14 games in the month of March, that net rating plummets to -17.2, only trailing the dumpster fire that is the New York Knicks.

    The “turd quarter” was in full effect today, only scoring eight in 12 minutes. Though part of this was the players missing shots they hit in the first half, McMillan deserves some blame for failing to adjust in the second half. Brad Stevens, a master of after-half tinkering, shut down Indiana’s offense. Granted, Kyrie Irving took over in the third. When he’s on, there’s nothing anyone can do:

    Domantas Sabonis struggled mightily, only mustering seven points in this game. Part of this is his own limitations: his right hand is ineffectual and the Celtics have the big men to sit on his right shoulder and make his usual post wizardry near impossible to consistently execute.

    However, Sabonis is too skilled for his only use to be stagnant post-ups and dribble handoffs. His passing and handling craft are waiting to be taken advantage of and McMillan hasn’t shown any willingness to do that thus far.

    Myles Turner only took six shots. The Celtics set up their pick and roll coverage in a way where Turner was in a position to get a lot of good looks, but the Pacers didn’t attack that. McMillan repeatedly called reversal dribble handoffs for Bogdanovic or someone else, which the Celtics were ready for and blew up over and over.

    His offense is always bad. This is nothing new, really. But in the playoffs, it would be nice to see him make some adjustments based on his opponent. One more qualm: playing TJ Leaf at all is inexcusable to me. He is not a rotation player; if Nate wants to go 10 deep, play Kyle O’Quinn or Aaron Holiday (who played well in very limited action) over Leaf. As the underdog, there’s plenty of room to get funky.

    Lost in the garbage of the second half was, as usual, McMillan coached a fantastic defensive game. Boston scored an anemic 84 in their own right, bolstered by Marcus Morris hitting shots he normally doesn’t and a Terry Rozier contested buzzer beater three. Al Horford and Gordon Hayward scored 10 apiece, Jayson Tatum scored 15 and Irving only scored 20, shooting 35.3% from the field.

    In the first half especially, the Pacers’ rotations were crisp and disciplined. The Pacers did an excellent job forcing Boston into tough shots and their effort was superb. Pinpointing defensive coaching is harder than offensive coaching because of the lack of sets to diagnose, but it’s easy to discern the positive impact McMillan’s coaching has on stymieing opponent offenses.

    This is the conundrum: what does a team do with a 99th percentile defensive coach and 0th percentile offensive coach. The answer is unequivocally not firing him. Even if Victor Oladipo was healthy, I could imagine the offense struggling against elite defenses.


    However, the Pacers aren’t winning a title with their roster in its current form. They crave another true offensive creator. The nature of great primary initiators supersedes incompetent offensive coaching. Victor Oladipo’s shot creation combined with the services of, I don’t know, a Kemba Walker and/or Nikola Mirotic would make McMillan’s offense look a lot less egregious on most nights. It is fair to argue McMillan caps the ceiling of Indiana’s offense. He isn’t getting the most out of Sabonis’ unique skill set — and Turner has more offensive potential waiting to be unlocked.

    A realistic fix the Pacers can employ now is hiring an offensive coordinator type to completely take the offensive responsibilities from McMillan. Allow Nate to hone in on making the defense as staunch as it can be and find a creative mind to improve offensive flow. Firing McMillan is a gamble not worth taking. Even if you truly believe the Pacers are doomed with him at the helm, who is coming to save them? Not Ty Lue, not Monty Williams and certainly not Jason Kidd.

    The Pacers are not going to win this series. Without Victor Oladipo, they never were. Outmatched against a superior opponent, it is important to glean not only the bad but the good. This is not the true Indiana Pacers. That team is the one who (hopefully) will add a piece or two this offseason and contend in the East for many years to come, under the coaching direction of Nate McMillan.
    The Indiana Pacers came out for game 1 of the playoffs and flat out stunk. How much blame does Nate McMillan deserve for the performance?
    Sittin on top of the world!

  • #2
    This article is nonsense. There are always up-and-coming coaches waiting for promotions. I just think Nate is outdated. He has been coaching since the early 00's. I would prefer a more innovative coach.
    Being unable to close out a game in which you have a comfortable lead in the 4th Q = Pulling a Frank Vogel

    Comment


    • #3
      I would actually blame Pritchard more than Nate. Not really sure how a better coach could win with this roster. The off-season of 2018 has to be viewed as a complete bust. Washed up Evans and Doug McDermott were terrible signings. Where the hell were our scouts when Spencer Dinwiddie was available? Instead of trying to find a diamond in the rough, we are wasting time watching tape on washed up big named FA's. Do your damned job scouts
      Being unable to close out a game in which you have a comfortable lead in the 4th Q = Pulling a Frank Vogel

      Comment


      • #4
        I think you have to put the majority of the blame on Nate and some on the players. We missed open shots, but Nate had to know that Brad Stevens and the Celtics would adjust at halftime One of Nate's flaws is that he cannot make on the fly adjustments and we seen that first hand last game.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by LilSean320 View Post
          I think you have to put the majority of the blame on Nate and some on the players. We missed open shots, but Nate had to know that Brad Stevens and the Celtics would adjust at halftime One of Nate's flaws is that he cannot make on the fly adjustments and we seen that first hand last game.
          Seriously - if Nate's offense got us open shots and his defense held Boston to a significantly lower score than usual, then how was he supposed to adjust? If the players had been hitting the openb shots and FTs and missing contested shots and that caused the loss there would be more of a case here, but the fact of the matter is that Boston doesn't go on that crushing 3rd Q run if the players could put the ball in the hole.

          Now, I have a problem with the idea that the proper open shot is the longest open shot, but that has nothing to do with in-game adjustment.
          BillS

          A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
          Or throw in a first-round pick and flip it for a max-level point guard...

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Pacergeek View Post
            I would actually blame Pritchard more than Nate. Not really sure how a better coach could win with this roster. The off-season of 2018 has to be viewed as a complete bust. Washed up Evans and Doug McDermott were terrible signings. Where the hell were our scouts when Spencer Dinwiddie was available? Instead of trying to find a diamond in the rough, we are wasting time watching tape on washed up big named FA's. Do your damned job scouts
            Evans was coming off a season where he averaged 19 point and 5 assists per game, shot 45% from the field and 40% from 3. Signing him did not look bad at the time.

            McDermott is a 40% three point shooter. Signing him did not look like a bad move either, signing him for 3 years is questionable.

            Pritchard has been the Pacers GM for 2 summers. The first summer he hit a grand slam with Vic and Sabonis. The second summer his moves flopped. It happens. I think he will have another pretty good summer this year...not Vic and Sabonis good, but I think he will do okay. Word on the street is that he wants to get a star to put beside Vic. Let's see what he comes up with.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by BillS View Post

              Seriously - if Nate's offense got us open shots and his defense held Boston to a significantly lower score than usual, then how was he supposed to adjust? If the players had been hitting the openb shots and FTs and missing contested shots and that caused the loss there would be more of a case here, but the fact of the matter is that Boston doesn't go on that crushing 3rd Q run if the players could put the ball in the hole.

              Now, I have a problem with the idea that the proper open shot is the longest open shot, but that has nothing to do with in-game adjustment.
              you are very correct about this. I'm not sure what Nate is supposed to do when the Players are missing wide open shots like that they got in the 3rd. I mean it wasn't like Boston was playing lock down defense. They got more physical with us, but we still got a ton of open looks from 3. I thought it looked like we tried to throw some haymakers at the beginning of the 3rd to try and put them away early when we probably should have passed out of those open 3's and went to the rim. This Pacer team more than ever needs to establish a rhythm before they start jacking early 3's.

              You can't get champagne from a garden hose.

              Comment


              • #8
                At this point I'm on board with firing Nate:

                1. Myles Turner took only 6 shots, 1 on the first play of the game. So only 5 shots for the next 47+ minutes. In contrast, Budenholzer doesn't mind if Brook Lopez takes 6 threes in a half. I blame coaching for this.
                2. We need a real play-maker on offense and he continues to trot out Tyreke and Cory over Holiday. How much worse could Holiday really do? I blame coaching for this.
                3. Sabonis has regressed as the season went on. He is not being put position to maximize his strengths and at this point he should be getting more minutes than Thad on a nightly basis. I blame coaching for this.

                It's becoming apparent that Nate's old school approach is not going to cut it in 2019. He has shown no ability to adapt to the new game. It's time to move on.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Fire Nate? That is absurd. This Pacers team has greatly overachieved for two years now. Talent wise Pacers are middle of the pack at best. Probably the worst offensive team currently in the playoffs. Fire Nate if you really want, but when he comes in probably 3rd for coach of the year you might feel a little silly.

                  Pacers have been extremely well coached for two years now.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Can you give me an example of what exactly makes Nate a good coach? Our defense has been great, but we all know Dan Burke is a part of that. Our locker room has been great, but you don't exactly win games there. I'm really struggling to see what everyone in the national media is seeing.

                    Our offense is cringe worthy. We constantly have 3 players standing in place while running a two-man game. This works when you have a great facilitator, which we do not. He never makes adjustments. He won't play the young talent. We lose against every team with a good coach.

                    When I look at Nate I see Marvin Lewis. If you are okay with mediocrity while getting bounced in the first round every year, he is your guy. Maybe he is perfect for Indiana /shrug

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by HickeyS2000 View Post
                      Can you give me an example of what exactly makes Nate a good coach? Our defense has been great, but we all know Dan Burke is a part of that. Our locker room has been great, but you don't exactly win games there. I'm really struggling to see what everyone in the national media is seeing.

                      Our offense is cringe worthy. We constantly have 3 players standing in place while running a two-man game. This works when you have a great facilitator, which we do not. He never makes adjustments. He won't play the young talent. We lose against every team with a good coach.

                      When I look at Nate I see Marvin Lewis. If you are okay with mediocrity while getting bounced in the first round every year, he is your guy. Maybe he is perfect for Indiana /shrug
                      Example: 48-34 record the past two seasons with rosters that should not have won that many games. Even with Victor only playing 36 games this year we still went over our projected win total. We've also been a top defensive team the past two seasons.

                      The better question is, can you give a tangible example of how he is a bad coach? Not liking his rotations isn't really evidence.
                      Lifelong pacers fan

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Our offense is cringe worthy against really good defense because our offensive talent is the worst of any team in the playoffs. We have all role players on this team right now (obviously I am talking about without Vic), they play well together, are extremely well coach, they play hard, they play the right way, but they are not very talented.especially offensively. Although probably the Pistons without Blake are worse offensively and they got blown out - at least Nate helped keep the Pacers in the game.

                        What makes Nate a good coach. He is consistent, fair, hard working - just a few of his personal traits. His teams play hard, play together, focus on defense.

                        Did we lose every game to the heat this season? No. Did we lose every game to the Spurs this season? No. Did we lose every game to the Celtics this season? No. The Bucks? Not, the Nuggets? No, Clipper? No. The coaches of those teams are some of the best in the NBA so no we don't lose to every team with a good coach, like you suggest.

                        I don't even know who Marvin Lewis is, so I can't address that.

                        Bottom line the national media looks at our talent and besides having an allstar in Vic we don't have a lot of top tier talent, so to win 48 games two years in a row is remarkable. Our second best player is a weak second best for any of the top playoff teams. And Vic is a not a strong top player on a team that has finished 5th in the east.

                        Look at the top 4 seeds in east - each of the teams have a top player better than Vic and a second best player better than Bogey - or whowever you want to claim is the second best player. -The West is even stronger.

                        I mean look at the current Celtics team vs the current pacers team. OK we are the captains and we pick players - how many Celtics players are we taking before we take a pacers player? 5? 6?. I mean Rozier who doesn't play much would be our best backcourt player right now if he were on the Pacers and he is the Celtics 8th man


                        After the breakup of the 2014 team and PG asking to be traded, most expected a rebuilding team - I predicted last season 28 wins. The vegas over/under last season was 31.50. This season
                        Last edited by Unclebuck; 04-15-2019, 03:09 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I don’t necessarily want to fire Nate, but he doesn’t get a pass for our ****** offense just because of Vic not being here half the year. There’s really no good reason for teams like the Clippers, Wizards, and Pelicans to have a better offense than ours.

                          We really need to scrap our whole offensive philosophy and get players or coaches in here that can run a modern offense. Something’s bad wrong when you finish 4th in FG% but only 18th in overall efficiency.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by HickeyS2000 View Post
                            Can you give me an example of what exactly makes Nate a good coach? Our defense has been great, but we all know Dan Burke is a part of that. Our locker room has been great, but you don't exactly win games there. I'm really struggling to see what everyone in the national media is seeing.

                            Our offense is cringe worthy. We constantly have 3 players standing in place while running a two-man game. This works when you have a great facilitator, which we do not. He never makes adjustments. He won't play the young talent. We lose against every team with a good coach.

                            When I look at Nate I see Marvin Lewis. If you are okay with mediocrity while getting bounced in the first round every year, he is your guy. Maybe he is perfect for Indiana /shrug
                            Bengal fan here and yea, Nate reminds me quite a bit of Marv. Good comparison.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by BillS View Post

                              Seriously - if Nate's offense got us open shots and his defense held Boston to a significantly lower score than usual, then how was he supposed to adjust? If the players had been hitting the openb shots and FTs and missing contested shots and that caused the loss there would be more of a case here, but the fact of the matter is that Boston doesn't go on that crushing 3rd Q run if the players could put the ball in the hole.

                              Now, I have a problem with the idea that the proper open shot is the longest open shot, but that has nothing to do with in-game adjustment.
                              I put part of the blame on the players for missing shots, and I understand we don't have much offensive talent, but for the talent that we do have nate does not utilize it well. Yes I blame nate for having Tyreke Evans out there playing 17 minutes and not being able to produce. I blame Nate for not playing Holiday. I blame Nate for Myles turner only getting 6 shots. Nate is a solid coach, he gets his team to play hard on every possession, but he is just not strong at coaching a modern offense which results in 3rd quarters like the one we had on Sunday.

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