The Indiana Pacers have underachieved this season and the reason may be head coach Nate Bjorkgren, per recent NBA rumors. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the first-year head coach is not guaranteed to return to his head coaching position despite signing a three-year contract with the Pacers. Wojnarowski reported:
"Amid a year of difficulties with players and staff, Indiana Pacers coach Nate Bjorkgren's future with the franchise is uncertain as the regular season nears an end, sources told ESPN."
ESPN’s sources also state that Nate Bjorkgren has relationship issues with both players and staff members within the organization. However, he has reportedly been doing his part in making these relationships work. These issues could be his undoing eventually, particularly since the Indiana Pacers have lost their defensive identity during his tenure.
The state of the Indiana Pacers with Nate Bjorkgren
This has not been one of the better seasons for the Indiana Pacers, even with Malcolm Brogdon, Caris LeVert, Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner on the roster. They have been perennial playoff contenders since the 2010-11 season, missing the playoffs just once during that span.
Under Nate Bjorkgren's predecessors Nate McMillan and Frank Vogel, the Indiana Pacers made it to the playoffs for five consecutive seasons. That streak is in jeopardy this season if the Pacers don’t get their act together and that may prove to be difficult under Bjorkgren's watch. They have won just three of their last four games and will need a strong finish to secure a spot in the play-in tournament. Wojnarowski reported:
“The Pacers, 30-34 and ninth in the Eastern Conference, have been beset with injuries and missed games this season, but Bjorkgren's style of coaching and communication -- on the court, in the locker room and in individual settings with players and staff -- has often been the root of team turmoil this season, sources said.”
Wojnarowski also reported that Nate Bjorkgren’s time as coach of the Indiana Pacers will be evaluated once the season is over. Regardless of his relationship problems with the players, the team is still within striking distance of taking one of the two playoff spots that will be determined via the play-in tournament.