Nate McMillan.

The Indiana Pacers hire Nate McMillan as their new head coach

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The Indiana Pacers have announced the appointment of Nate McMillan as the team's new head coach.

McMillan makes the step up to the role after spending the last three seasons as Associate Head Coach for the Pacers under former coach Frank Vogel.

Vogel departed the franchise after they decided not to renew his contract which was due to expire this summer.

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President Larry Bird said the team needed "a new voice" and he has settled on a man from his own bench in McMillan.

The 51-year-old's last coaching job in the league was with the Portland Trail Blazers where he spent seven years up until 2012.

Prior to his stint in Portland, McMillan was the head coach of the Seattle Supersonics for five years - the franchise who he also played his entire 12-year NBA career with.

Portland Trail Blazers v Phoenix Suns

Bird had made it clear he wants Indiana to play a more uptempo style of basketball and score more points, something he believes can be achieved with McMillan at the helm.

"I truly believe Nate is the right coach for us at this time," said Bird. "When I heard he was interested, I got in touch with him, met with him and in our conversation I came away with all the confidence in the world in Nate to lead our franchise to where we want to go.

"His experience as a player, head coach and assistant coach in the NBA are valuable assets for us."

Portland Trail Blazers v Denver Nuggets

Vogel was a popular coach among the fans and the players, in particular, the team's star player Paul George.

McMillan, though, will have the benefit of already knowing his players and having a relationship with them, which should make his transition easy.

With the success that Vogel had in his time in Indianapolis - he led the team to two Eastern Conference Finals and had the best winning record of any Pacers coach in history - Indiana's new coach will be aware that he has big shoes to fill and will be under immediate pressure to reach similar heights.

Portland Trail Blazers v Houston Rockets, Game 3

"I want to thank Larry, Herb Simon and the Pacers for this opportunity, which is a great opportunity," said McMillan. "I've been around this franchise three years and understand what the expectations are and look forward to working hard to try to meet them.

"We have a good team and good base to build from. I'm very anxious to get started."

Bird added: "I like what he did in Portland, I like the fact that he's old-school, I like structure. I'm not saying Frank didn't have those things, but I've always admired Nate from afar and that's why it didn't take me long to decide to bring him in here."

After making the playoffs this year, where they were defeated in the first round by the Toronto Raptors, the organisation will be expecting their new coach to build on this for next season and McMillan will have to hit the ground running in Naptown to achieve this.

Eastern Conference
Paul George
Indiana Pacers
Central Division
Monta Ellis

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