Pacers Fire Bjorkgren After One Season
The Indiana Pacers announced the firing of head coach Nate Bjorkgren last week after he completed just one season with the team.
There was plenty of optimism when he was named the head coach prior to the 2020-21 season, but it was one filled with plenty of drama.
The Pacers originally signed Bjorkgren to a three-year contract, but he had just one guaranteed year remaining on that deal. Instead of giving the young head coach a chance to improve, the front office felt that a move was needed to be made immediately.
Kevin Pritchard, President of Basketball Operations, announced that it was his decision, and it was made after meeting with Bjorkgren following the season. There were several reports of tension between the coach and the players, and it was concluded that he had “lost the locker room.”
Bjorkgren was selected for the job after the team conducted nearly 20 interviews a season ago. He came to the organization with plenty of respect and recommendations, but he was just unable to mesh with the current roster.
According to Pritchard, prior head coaching experience will be required when making the next selection. Terry Stotts, recently fired by the Portland Trail Blazers, is expected to be one of the top candidates.
The Pacers failed to make the playoffs for the first time in five seasons after falling to the Washington Wizards in a play-in game. Injuries played a role in the difficult season for the Pacers, but it was clear that the coach was not helping the cause.
This was the first head coaching job that Bjorkgren has had in the NBA, but he was a head coach in the G-League. He also served as an assistant with the Phoenix Suns and Toronto Raptors.
Boston, Orlando, and Portland all currently have head coaching positions available as well, and several candidates will be considered for the same jobs.
Turner Not on All-Defensive Team
The NBA has begun announcing the awards for the 2020-21 season, and Myles Turner was a top candidate to be named to the NBA All-Defensive team. Turner is the anchor of the Indiana Pacers defense and is widely regarded as the top shot-blocker in the league.
Turner led the league in blocks this season, but that didn’t give him enough recognition to be included on either the First or Second All-Defensive team. This announcement was one that did not please the big man, and he expressed his disappointment on Twitter.
This is the second time that Turner has led the league in blocked shots but not been included on the All-Defensive team. He continues to be disrespected by members of the media that vote for these awards.
Turner did receive five first-team votes and 14 second-team votes, but it wasn’t enough. He led the way for forwards that didn’t make either team but still fell well short of the required points needed.
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, another talented shot-blocker, was named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year.
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