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Coach McMillan looks to the future

Pacers head coach Nate McMillan meets the media for his season-ending news conference.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Pacers coach Nate McMillan admitted his team reached its goal. Make the NBA playoffs.

At the season-ending news conference, McMillan touched on a handful of topics.

Improving with a group that should get better just by being together longer, Paul George taking the next step to MVP status, Jeff Teague wanting to stay with his hometown team and team president Larry Bird knowing what the team needs to compete for a title.

“Larry watches everything, he knows what’s missing,” said McMillan. “That’s why he brought in Lance Stephenson. He helped elevate the passion in this team that got us to the playoffs. Overall, we need to be more consistent with our play. We’re expecting to be better. We have to be better.”

McMillan is also under the assumption that George will be back with the team next season.

“He’s under contract,” said McMillan.  “I had a good meeting with him and he wants the same thing that I want, that the organization wants, and that’s to win. My plans are that he’s back with us and we’ll be building to be successful.  He’s also a leader and the team followed his actions.”

George is able to opt out of his contract in the summer of 2018.

As for Teague, who will experience free agency for the first time in his career, McMillan says the Pike grad wants to grow more with this group.

“He needs to be better and I can make him better,” added the coach. “We all need to improve. There will be a lot of push to improve the roster.”

Bird will meet the media for his annual post-season session on Monday.