Nate McMillan’s success in Atlanta, after Indiana curiously fired him back in August just two weeks following a contract-extension agreement, has further muddied these waters. Multiple league sources with knowledge of the situation described McMillan’s additional year as something more of a parting gift than an earnest extension. By the Orlando bubble when Miami swept Indiana in the first round of the playoffs, Pacers players had grown fatigued by McMillan’s tough-minded approach, sources said. His slower-paced scheme, which diverged from modern trends of playing style—Indiana finished 30th in the NBA in three-point attempts per game last season—was also a source of consternation within the organization.
Storyline: Indiana Pacers Turmoil?
The Hawks had the worst center rotation in the league last season and replacing that with 30 minutes Capela has been the main thing vaulting them into the East’s top five. His addition helped fortify a rather shaky perimeter defense with his rim protection and rebounding, a key reason the Hawks improved from 27th to 22nd in defense this year despite adding multiple offense-only players. The stats show the defense is respectable with Capela (108.0 opponent offensive rating) and flammable without (114.2). It’s not hard to see why: Capela’s 6.1 percent block rate is the league’s fifth best, despite the fact he doesn’t recklessly chase blocks.