The Denver Nuggets host the Indiana Pacers at The O2 in London on Jan. 12 as part of NBA Global Games London 2017. The game is live on BT Sport or via NBA LEAGUE PASS (www.nba.tv).Before the game next week, the DROP Team’s Benny Bonsu had the opportunity to interview Pacer’s Head coach Nate McMillan.
How have you adjusted your coaching style to fit the new-look Pacers?
Most of our group was together last year with Frank Vogel. Dan Burke had been with him the entire time he was there and Popeye Jones came the same year I was here. Billy Bayno was an assistant I had with me when I was coaching in Portland so we’re all very familiar with each other and we trust each other’s knowledge of the game. Dan Burke is the coach who really handles our defence and Billy Bayno and Popeye Jones work on both sides of the ball so we have an experienced group here that have been coaching for a long time and have coached with a lot of good coaches in their time. I really feel like I have strong staff.
In regards to Jeff Teague, he’s a phenomenal player, what sort of impact is he having on the team at the moment?
I think when you’re in transition and you’re coming into a new group there’s a filling out process and you need to get comfortable with the environment, where you are and what’s expected of you. You have to fit your game into the style of play to your new coaching staff and your team mates. I don’t think Jeff has ever played with a guy like Paul George who brings something a little different to the floor. At Atlanta Jeff pretty much created for his team and here in Indiana Paul George can create opportunities for Jeff. So they have to get comfortable with each other. It’s the same with Myles Turner. With Jeff he’s the quarter-back, the anchor: the guy who decides how we’re going to play on the offence and defence and he has to get familiar with the floor. I thought earlier Jeff was fine to adapt to his own team mates and I think you can now see he’s starting to get more comfortable.
Apart from coming to London to play the game, what are you most looking forward to in London?
The opportunity to travel over and represent the NBA. It’s an important game for both groups. It’s the NBA at its best: it’s not an exhibition game -the players will be playing hard to win the game. It’s not a vacation for the teams travelling to London. It’s a regular season game and it’s important. We need to continue to win to try and separate ourselves here in the East. We’re looking forward to the game, coming over and hopefully winning the game.