Former Chicago Bulls head coach Jim Boylen is now out of this organization. Should they go after ex-Pacers head coach Nate McMillan to fill the opening?
A very volatile year in terms of head coaching changes around the NBA is still an ongoing storyline heading into the second round of the playoffs. There are some very high profile coaching jobs at the moment that are open including that of the New Orleans Pelicans, Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls, and now the Indiana Pacers and potentially soon to be the Houston Rockets. The most recent of those job openings came when the news dropped that the Pacers were parting ways with now former head coach Nate McMillan.
This was fairly shocking news that the Pacers were firing McMillan since they had just signed him to a one-year contract extension earlier this month. Usually head coaches aren’t fired two weeks after signing a contract extension.
During his four seasons at the helm with the Pacers as head coach, McMillan registered a record of 189-136. But it was likely his lack of playoff success that led to him getting canned this week. The Pacers were swept by the five-seed Miami Heat (as a four seed) in the first round of the playoffs this year.
The furthest that the Pacers made it in the playoffs under McMillan’s direction in four years was a first round exit (in seven games) during the 2017-18 season. A solid record in the regular season for McMillan couldn’t salvage his job for at least one more year after another early playoff exit.
But his departure from the Bulls divisional foe Indiana does bring up an interesting point in their camp. Should the Bulls consider hiring McMillan after the departure of their now former head coach Jim Boylen (who was fired back on Aug. 14)?
Whoever the Bulls hire next must be a home run since they pretty much whiffed on the last two tries. Boylen held a record of 39-84 during his two seasons as the Bulls head coach. Former head coach Fred Hoiberg didn’t do a whole lot better beyond making the playoffs during the 2016-17 season.
McMillan is an interesting choice for the Bulls since he brings a plethora of regular season experience and productivity with a Central Division team to the table. Beyond his four years as head coach of the Pacers, he was the head coach of the Seattle SuperSonics for five years and the Portland Trail Blazers for seven.
His overall regular season record as an NBA head coach sits at 661-588 (52.9 winning percentage). But his career playoff record as an NBA head coach isn’t near as good (17-36). He has just one playoff series win in his career, which came back during the 2004-05 season in a second round exit with the SuperSonics.
Since McMillan does have a lot of success at different points as an NBA head coach on his resume, the Bulls should at least give him some level of consideration for their opening. But we should continue to monitor what other names might come about in this wild coaching market this offseason.