Bjorkgren describes plan to take Pacers in new direction

FILE  - This Sept. 28, 2015, file photo shows then-Phoenix Suns assistant coach Nate Bjorkgren during the Suns NBA basketball media day in Phoenix. The Indiana Pacers were seeking someone who could communicate with todays players, who was open to a new offensive philosophy and who could win some postseason games. On Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020, president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard found his man  Nate Bjorkgren. He comes to Indiana after spending two seasons as an assistant on Nick Nurses staff in Toronto. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)
FILE - This Sept. 28, 2015, file photo shows then-Phoenix Suns assistant coach Nate Bjorkgren during the Suns NBA basketball media day in Phoenix. The Indiana Pacers were seeking someone who could communicate with todays players, who was open to a new offensive philosophy and who could win some postseason games. On Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020, president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard found his man Nate Bjorkgren. He comes to Indiana after spending two seasons as an assistant on Nick Nurses staff in Toronto. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

INDIANAPOLIS – New Indiana Pacers coach Nate Bjorkgren went right to work Wednesday.

Less than 24 hours after accepting the job, the 45-year-old former Toronto Raptors assistant started explaining his plan.

He expects the Pacers to move the ball and take more 3-pointers. He wants the defense to be more disruptive. He promises not to get locked into rotations and will be willing to take risks. Perhaps most important, he believes there needs to be more communication between coaches and players.

Those are exactly the traits president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard hoped to find when he embarked on a coaching search two months ago and Bjorkgren became the perfect fit.

“There are people in this world who bring energy and you like being around them," Pritchard said after introducing Bjorkgren on a Zoom call. “I think the litmus test is when those guys call you, you can’t wait to pick up the phone. Nate has those characteristics, and when he went through his presentation he created a vision that I could physically see in my mind how he was going to coach. We knew he was the right guy."

The proof will come in time.

But the first-time NBA head coach certainly presented a different kind of vision, one Pacers fans may embrace after watching years of stodgy, half-court basketball.

Bjorkgren wants to shatter those norms. He prefers an evolving style that conforms only to circumstances.