New Indiana Pacers head coach Nate Bjorkgren is excited to be a part of the Pacers organization as he insists his team will be fun to watch next season. After getting swept by the Miami Heat in the playoffs first round, the Pacers fired coach Nate McMillan.
Bjorkgren doesn't have a previous head coaching experience in the NBA as he left his job of assistant coach with the Toronto Raptors to join the Pacers. Bjorkgren was a part of the 2019 Raptors team that won the NBA title.
"We'll be a fun team to watch," Bjorkgren said, per ESPN. "You're going to see a lot of movement on both sides of the ball, different guys handling the ball, pushing it up the floor. We want to utilize the 3-point line.
My approach to defense is you change and change quite frequently, between quarters, after timeouts, during an 8-0 run. I think that's the disruptive part." Before becoming an assistant in the NBA, Bjorkgren worked for years in the NBA G League.
"You have to adapt very early and quite often," Bjorkgren said. "You could be at a shootaround and two guys get called up and another is going overseas so you have to coach on the fly. You have to know the next guy will be there and that's the part of the coaching, keeping everybody ready at all times."
Bjorkgren sees talent on the Pacers roster
Pacers star guard Victor Oladipo is still undecided about his future and Bjorkgren could convince him to stay with the team. "I wanted this job so bad because of the talent on this team," Bjorkgren said.
"As you know, they're great basketball players, and they're even better people. Just getting to know them more in the last 24 hours is really special to me, and I look forward to getting to know them more as we move forward."
Meanwhile, Pacers President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard thinks Bjorkgren brings positive vibe and energy. "There are people in this world who bring energy and you like being around them," Pritchard said after introducing Bjorkgren on a Zoom call.
"I think the litmus test is when those guys call you, you can't wait to pick up the phone. Nate has those characteristics, and when he went through his presentation he created a vision that I could physically see in my mind how he was going to coach. We knew he was the right guy."