Despite playing almost the entire season without two-time All-Star Victor Oladipo, the Indiana Pacers have stayed afloat in the Eastern Conference. They are 31-20 and currently the fifth seed in the East.
Is there a more underrated coach in basketball right now than Nate McMillan?
“No, not at all,” Kendall Gill said on The Zach Gelb Show. “Nate was my teammate in Seattle for a couple of seasons, and I knew back then what a great basketball mind he was going to be. He just got Victor Oladipo back and they continue to play well.”
Gill, who covers the Bulls, watched the Pacers beat Chicago, 115-106, in overtime last Wednesday.
“That team is a well-oiled machine,” Gill said. “The Holiday brothers [Aaron and Justin] coming off the bench, they got everything, [Domantas] Sabonis stepping up this year and becoming an All-Star – if I’m any NBA team, I do not want to face the Indiana Pacers in the playoffs.”
That includes the Toronto Raptors (37-14), who have won 12 straight games and have the second-best record in the East despite losing Kawhi Leonard. Masai Ujiri is one of the hottest commodities in the NBA, and the Knicks – who will finish with a losing record for the seventh straight season – are expected to make a run at him.
“The Knicks need somebody like Ujiri to rebuild their franchise,” Gill said. “Wherever he goes – when he was in Denver, he built a winner; he goes to Toronto, he builds a winner. You lose one of the top-three players in the league and still your team remains on top. That guy knows what he’s doing. That’s why the New York Knicks will probably go after him.”