Raptors assistant Nate Bjorkgren hired as Indiana Pacers head coach

Nate Bjorkgren reportedly hired by Indiana Pacers as head coach. We must be doing something right.

You know you’re doing something right when teams start poaching your assistant coaches. Coming out of nowhere we got Nate Bjorkgren being reportedly hired as the Pacers next head coach:

It’s not exactly out of nowhere as Nick Nurse had previously confirmed that Bjorkgren had interviewed for the job and was a “finalist”:

The Raptors hired Bjorkgren as a scout in 2017. When Dwane Casey got fired and Nick Nurse took over, one of Nurse’s first moves was to promote Bjorkgren who he had a connection dating back to the G-League’s Iowa Energy. Bjorkgren worked as an assistant under Nurse between 2007-11. Prior to 2017 he was an assistant for the Suns between 2015-17.

Here’s a nice interview he gave a while back where he also talks about his relationship with Nurse:

“As strange as that may sound, it’s just been such a constant,” Bjorkgren said. “We spent hours and hours and hours together learning the pro game and I’ve learned so much from him. We prepare and we work and we’re constantly talking basketball and trying to find ways to get better. That hasn’t changed. It was that way in the D-League and it’s that way here in the NBA.”

“Even when we were opposing coaches, if I ever had a coaching question I would always call him,” Bjorkgren said. “He’s the first person I’d call if there was something I wanted to ask him about. If I wasn’t coaching or if Santa Cruz if we weren’t playing I was sure watching his games. I always tried to study him all year long just because I had a feeling I was going to have to go against him in the finals.”

He also outlined his goal to be a head coach after winning the title:

“I knew that I had to be the best assistant that I could be, like the very best assistant I could be,” Bjorkgren said. “And when you do that and good things happen we won that championship with the Iowa Energy. It allowed me to get some interviews and some places.

“Do I want to be an NBA head coach? Absolutely. And the best way to get to that level is to win a championship. So winning a championship helps everybody. But my number one focus is just to do the job at hand and be the best assistant coach I can be for as long as I can.”
Good luck to him. This is just another step towards the Raptors becoming the Spurs.

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