If Jeff Van Gundy hears it, the rumor must really be out there. It’s not as if the former coach and current ESPN/ABC analyst is making the rounds at the Wide World of Sports looking for big NBA scoops, but he has heard that Pacers coach Nate McMillan could be on the hot seat. In the latest episode of The Lowe Post, Van Gundy and host Zach Lowe both confirm the rumor, noting they’ve both heard it all season.
Van Gundy says multiple people have discussed McMillan’s job status with him since he arrived in Orlando to call nationally televised bubble games, and Lowe says it’s been in the NBA ether for quite some time.
“It’s been the hottest rumor all season,” Lowe agrees. “It’s been a rumor all season long.”
McMillan, who has led the Pacers out of the Paul George era with far more success than anyone imagined, is often criticized for integrating a style that would be more familiar in the 1990s NBA, but even McMillan has gone modern in the bubble, playing T.J. Warren at power forward and pulling Myles Turner out behind the three-point line.
Without Domantas Sabonis and with Victory Oladipo making the slow return from a ruptured quadriceps tendon, the Pacers were always going to face an uphill battle to make real noise in the bubble, but altogether, the past two seasons have seen the team exceed expectations.
In the podcast, Van Gundy indicates he doesn’t believe the Pacers could be much better with a different coach, while Lowe seems to believe the team could make a change purely to take advantage of an Eastern Conference without a proven superpower. Indiana faces the challenge of still not having chosen between Sabonis and Turner, two players whose presence on the same roster will always make it hard to craft a great offense, though coaches are often the first to go when a team wants to make a change.