Nate McMillan

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Nate McMillan
Nate McMillan with Oregon National Guard cropped.jpg
McMillan visiting the Oregon National Guard
Atlanta Hawks
PositionAssistant coach
Personal information
Born (1964-08-03) August 3, 1964 (age 56)
Raleigh, North Carolina
Listed height6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Listed weight210 lb (95 kg)
Career information
High schoolWilliam G. Enloe
(Raleigh, North Carolina)
NBA draft1986 / Round: 2 / Pick: 30th overall
Selected by the Seattle SuperSonics
Playing career1986–1998
PositionPoint guard / Shooting guard
Coaching career1998–present
Career history
As player:
19861998Seattle SuperSonics
As coach:
19982000Seattle SuperSonics (assistant)
20002005Seattle SuperSonics
20052012Portland Trail Blazers
20132016Indiana Pacers (assistant)
20162020Indiana Pacers
2020–presentAtlanta Hawks (assistant)
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points4,733 (5.9 ppg)
Assists4,893 (6.1 apg)
Steals1,544 (1.9 spg)
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at
Stats at

Nathaniel McMillan (born August 3, 1964) is an American basketball coach and former player who serves as an assistant coach for the Atlanta Hawks of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He coached the Seattle SuperSonics from 2000 to 2005, the Portland Trail Blazers from 2005 to 2012, and the Indiana Pacers from 2016 to 2020. During his playing and coaching stints with the SuperSonics he was given the nickname "Mr. Sonic".

Early life and college career[edit]

McMillan grew up in the heart of North Carolina's basketball country and attended Raleigh's William G. Enloe High School, where he went unnoticed by major college scouts. After playing for two years at Chowan College (then a two-year school) in Murfreesboro, North Carolina,[1][2] he returned to Raleigh to play for Jim Valvano at North Carolina State. McMillan helped lead NC State to a first-place tie in the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season in 1985, and the Elite Eight in both the 1985 and 1986 NCAA Championship Tournaments.

NBA career[edit]

McMillan was drafted by the Seattle SuperSonics with the 30th pick in the 1986 NBA draft. He spent his entire NBA career in Seattle. During his 12-year playing career, McMillan put up career averages of 5.9 points, 6.1 assists and 1.9 steals. He still shares (with Ernie DiGregorio) the NBA rookie record for assists in a single game with 25. McMillan played as the starting point guard position for the SuperSonics for most of his career.[3] McMillan was known for his superb defense, leading the NBA in steals per game for the 1993–94 season and being named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team for the 1993–94 and 1994–95 seasons. McMillan was also known for his balanced play, which led to four career triple-doubles.

In the 1995–96 season, McMillan helped the SuperSonics reach the NBA Finals against the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls. The SuperSonics were the only team to beat the Bulls three times that season (once in the regular season and twice in the playoffs).[4]

Known as "Mr. Sonic" for his 19 years of service to the team, his no. 10 jersey was retired by the SuperSonics. He was also known to be one third of the "Big Mac" team of the SuperSonics in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the others being Xavier McDaniel and Derrick McKey.[citation needed]

Coaching career[edit]

Seattle SuperSonics[edit]

After retiring in 1998, McMillan stayed in Seattle as an assistant under Paul Westphal. He held this role until 2000 when the Sonics fired Westphal and made McMillan interim coach. Although the team missed the playoffs during his first year, he earned a winning record of 38–29 as interim head coach. He was hired as head coach for the 2001–02 campaign and led the club to the playoffs.[5] As a result, he was named permanent head coach after the season.

McMillan's Sonics had mediocre records the next two years, going 40–42 and 37–45. In the 2004–05 season, he led the team to 52–30 record in the regular season.[5] The team advanced to the Western Conference Semifinals, where they lost to the San Antonio Spurs.[6]

Portland Trail Blazers[edit]

After 19 years in Seattle, McMillan left Seattle on July 6, 2005, to become the head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers.[7] He took over a team riddled with cap problems and off-the-court drama, but steadily calmed the waters in Portland. His hard-nosed coaching style earned him the nickname "Sarge."[4] On December 5, 2009, McMillan ruptured his right Achilles tendon while scrimmaging with the Trail Blazers during practice.[8] He coached much of the season in a protective boot after surgery and led the team to 50 wins in spite of a historic number of injuries to his key players.[citation needed] McMillan coached the Blazers until March 15, 2012.[9]

United States national team[edit]

McMillan was an assistant coach under Mike Krzyzewski for the US national team in the 2006 FIBA World Championship and in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, winning bronze and gold medals, respectively.[10] He is also a member of the National Junior College Basketball Hall of Fame, due to his All-American performance at Chowan.

McMillan again served as an assistant coach under Krzyzewski for the US national team during the 2012 London Summer Olympics.[11]

Indiana Pacers[edit]

On July 1, 2013, McMillan was hired by the Indiana Pacers as an assistant coach for the 2013–14 season.[12] He replaced Brian Shaw, who accepted the head coaching position with the Denver Nuggets.[13] In May 2016, after former head coach Frank Vogel's contract was not extended, McMillan was promoted to replace Vogel as the Pacers' coach.[14] He was then fired by the Pacers on August 26, 2020 after being swept by the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs.[15]

Atlanta Hawks[edit]

On November 11, 2020, the Atlanta Hawks hired McMillan as an assistant coach under Lloyd Pierce.[16]

Head coaching record[edit]

Regular season G Games coached W Games won L Games lost W–L % Win–loss %
Playoffs PG Playoff games PW Playoff wins PL Playoff losses PW–L % Playoff win–loss %
Team Year G W L W–L% Finish PG PW PL PW–L% Result
Seattle 2000–01 67 38 29 .567 5th in Pacific Missed playoffs
Seattle 2001–02 82 45 37 .549 4th in Pacific 5 2 3 .400 Lost in First Round
Seattle 2002–03 82 40 42 .488 5th in Pacific Missed playoffs
Seattle 2003–04 82 37 45 .451 5th in Pacific Missed playoffs
Seattle 2004–05 82 52 30 .634 1st in Northwest 11 6 5 .545 Lost in Conference Semifinals
Portland 2005–06 82 21 61 .256 5th in Northwest Missed playoffs
Portland 2006–07 82 32 50 .390 3rd in Northwest Missed playoffs
Portland 2007–08 82 41 41 .500 3rd in Northwest Missed playoffs
Portland 2008–09 82 54 28 .659 1st in Northwest 6 2 4 .333 Lost in First Round
Portland 2009–10 82 50 32 .610 3rd in Northwest 6 2 4 .333 Lost in First Round
Portland 2010–11 82 48 34 .585 3rd in Northwest 6 2 4 .333 Lost in First Round
Portland 2011–12 43 20 23 .465 (fired)
Indiana 2016–17 82 42 40 .512 4th in Central 4 0 4 .000 Lost in First Round
Indiana 2017–18 82 48 34 .585 2nd in Central 7 3 4 .429 Lost in First Round
Indiana 2018–19 82 48 34 .585 2nd in Central 4 0 4 .000 Lost in First Round
Indiana 2019–20 73 45 28 .616 2nd in Central 4 0 4 .000 Lost in First Round
Career 1,249 661 588 .529 53 17 36 .321

Personal life[edit]

His son Jamelle played as a guard for the Arizona State Sun Devils[17] and is currently an assistant coach with the New Orleans Pelicans.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Nate McMillian". The Official Athletics Site of the Chowan University Hawks. Chowan University. Retrieved 30 October 2020.
  2. ^ "Nate McMillan". NBA.
  3. ^ "Nate McMillan Stats".
  4. ^ a b Buckner, Candace (16 May 2016). "Insider: 10 things to know about new Pacers coach Nate McMillan". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Nate McMillan Coaching Record". Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  6. ^ "2004-2005 Seattle Supersonics". Retrieved 20 May 2016.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "Trail Blazers hire Nate McMillan". Billings Gazette. July 6, 2005. Retrieved May 21, 2016.
  8. ^ "Blazers' injuries, ailments continue to pile up". The Oregonian. December 8, 2009. Retrieved April 24, 2010.
  9. ^ Buckner, Candace. "Nate McMillan finalizing negotiations to be Pacers coach" (May 15, 2016). Indianapolis Star. Retrieved May 20, 2016.
  10. ^ 2006 USA Basketball Archived 2007-10-14 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "USA Basketball: Nate McMillan". January 23, 2013. Archived from the original on January 30, 2018. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
  12. ^ "Indiana Pacers hire Nate McMillan as associate head coach – NBA Blog".
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Pacers Name Nate McMillan Head Coach". May 16, 2016. Retrieved May 18, 2016.
  15. ^ "Pacers fire McMillan after being swept in playoffs". October 30, 2020.
  16. ^ "Atlanta Hawks Name Nate McMillan Assistant Coach". November 11, 2020. Retrieved November 11, 2020.
  17. ^ "Jamelle McMillan Profile". Arizona State University Athletics. Retrieved January 31, 2020.
  18. ^ "Pelicans announce coaching staff additions and changes". September 13, 2019. Retrieved January 31, 2020.

External links[edit]