Pacers fire Bjorkgren as coach after missing NBA playoffs

 Head Coach Nate Bjorkgren of the Indiana Pacers is interviewed during the game against the Washington Wizards during the 2021 NBA Play-In Tournament on May 20, 2021 at Capital One Arena in Washington, DC. Copyright 2021 NBAE Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Stephen Gosling / NBAE / Getty Images / Getty Images via AFP)

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Nate Bjorkgren was fired Wednesday after one season as coach of the NBA’s Indiana Pacers, in which the team missed the playoffs for the first time since 2015.

The 45-year-old American went 34-38 in his first campaign as an NBA head coach following four seasons as an NBA assistant coach, two at Phoenix and two in Toronto, including a role in the Raptors’ 2019 NBA title run.

“The 2020-21 season was not what any of us hoped or anticipated it would be, and our results on the court certainly did not meet the standards for what our organization and our fans have come to expect,” Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said.

“We have determined this is the right time to move in a different direction.

“While we do not have a definite timetable for our search, we will move quickly to identify candidates who will make our team and our organization stronger.”

The Pacers have been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs in each of the past five seasons.

Last season was Indiana’s worst since going 38-44 in 2014-15, the season after the team fell to Miami in the Eastern Conference final for the second straight season.

© Agence France-Presse