Inside INdiana Business

New Pacers coach ‘ready to take on this challenge’

Bjorkgren was introduced to the public Oct. 21, 2020, during a virtual news conference.

INDIANAPOLIS (Inside INdiana Business) — The new head coach for the Indiana Pacers says he is ready to get going as the team prepares for a shorter-than-usual turnaround heading into next season. The Pacers on Tuesday announced the hiring of Nate Bjorkgren, who spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach with the Toronto Raptors.

During a virtual press conference, Bjorkgren said he felt good about the prospect of coaching in Indy after the first Zoom call with team officials.

“I just remember shutting off the Zoom call or even in the interview process when I left Indianapolis during the second interview, I had no regrets,” said Bjorkgren. “I’ve spent the last 23 years of my life coaching in about every possible situation that I could coach in, whether it be an assistant in the NBA, an assistant in the D-League, a head coach in the D-League…but those 23 years have led me to this point and I’m ready to take on this challenge.”

Bjorkgren says the key reason he wanted the job was the talent on the team.

“Just the back-and-forth communication with the players already gets me even more excited. This team is ready and as you know, they’re great basketball players but they’re even better people. And just talking to them on the phone and getting to know them just a little bit more in the last 24 hours has been special to me, so I’m really looking forward to coaching this group of guys.”

President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard said one of the key characteristics the team was looking for in a coach was innovation. 

“Is this coach willing to push the envelope in the new modern basketball regimen?” said Pritchard. “For me, that’s a little bit of risk management. We talked a little bit about having a coach that is willing to take more risks, who we will praise to take risks and sometimes it may not work, but I think there’s a learning process behind taking risks that’s super important in the NBA today.”

Bjorkgren says he has already begun work on putting together his coaching staff for the next season.