The Indiana Pacers have had a lot of issues in the first year of head coach Nate Bjorkgren. Now it appears that those issues are causing Bjorkgren’s future with the franchise to become uncertain, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The first-year head coach is 30-34 with the Pacers this season and has the team in 9th place in the East. That is at least in the play-in tournament picture but this was a team with higher aspirations and expectations before the season began. Injuries haven’t helped but apparently neither has Bjorkgren.
It’s ironic really. Bjorkgren was hired before the 2020-21 season after the team decided to part ways with veteran head coach Nate McMillan. The Atlanta Hawks scooped up McMillan to be an assistant coach under Lloyd Pierce. The Hawks let go of Pierce and McMillan has taken over. Since McMillan was named interim coach on March 1, the Hawks are 22-10 and have climbed to 5th place in the Eastern Conference.
Bjorkgren, a former Toronto Raptors assistant, is also trying to work through issues within in the locker room, which is never good. The Pacers slew of injuries and the Victor Oladipo situation hasn’t helped this season. After Dipo was traded, the Pacers have lost Domantas Sabonis, Malcolm Brogdon, Caris LeVert, Myles Turner and Jeremy Lamb to various injuries and ailments. TJ Warren has also missed the entire season to this point and the Pacers were never built to withstand this many injuries.
The Pacers have a pretty brutal schedule to end the season. This includes games against the Atlanta Hawk, Washington Wizards, Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers. The Pacers are guaranteed to play in the play-in tournament and could lose the spot to the Raptors. If the Pacers can somehow get healthy before the play-in tourney, they’ll have a shot to make some noise. That could be enough to save Bjorkgren’s job in Indy.