Potential head coaching candidates for the Atlanta Hawks

Head Coach, Lloyd Pierce, knows that the Hawks have the talent to do well this season. But they must work as a unit instead of as individuals. Photo by Matt Siciliano-Salazar | The Signal

After three seasons, the Atlanta Hawks decided to part ways with Lloyd Pierce on March 1. In those three seasons, Pierce had a record of 63-120 and did not come close to a playoff berth. 

Former Indiana Pacers head coach Nate McMillan took over the team and has since thrived in his familiar role with a franchise. Since replacing Pierce, McMillan has bolstered the Hawks from the Eastern Conference’s 11th seed to the fourth in the standings, highlighted by an eight-game win streak. 

All reports indicate that McMillan has no intent to continue the head coach’s role after this season, which means the Hawks will look for their 29th in franchise history.

Here are potential head coaching candidates into which the Hawks should look.

Kenny Atkinson

Last year, Atkinson was the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, and then ultimately, he and the Nets agreed to part ways. During his stint as head coach of Brooklyn, he took the team to the playoffs in 2018, even after Brooklyn traded away multiple future first-round draft picks back in 2013.  

Kenny Atkinson is the perfect coach for the young Hawks roster.  Kenny Atkinson runs an offense that features a lot of three-point attempts. Back in 2018, the Nets were fifth in total 3 point attempts with 2,965. Players like Trae Young, Kevin Huerter and John Collins could benefit from Atkinson’s high-scoring offensive game plan. 

Mike Brown

Currently the Golden State Warriors assistant coach, Brown knows a thing or two about being a head coach in the NBA. His first go-round as head coach was with the Cleveland Cavaliers through 2005-2010, which featured a finals appearance. Brown also had the opportunity to coach Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers for two years in 2011 and 2012, but in year two with the Lakers, he was fired after only five games. 

Brown has been an assistant coach for the Warriors for the last five seasons, which has won three championships during that span. 

Brown will bring a veteran coaching history with a vivid background on getting to the finals. 

Wes Unseld Jr.

Being the son of the late, great NBA Hall of Famer Wes Unseld Sr., some would say Unseld Jr.’s rise into NBA head coaching resulted from his last name, but many are wrong to think that. 

Unseld Jr. has been a part of many front offices over the last decade. He started as a personnel scout for the Washington Wizards and is now an assistant coach for the Denver Nuggets. 

Unseld Jr. coaches the ball’s defensive side for the Nuggets, which has improved since he arrived in Denver back in 2016. 

Over the last couple of seasons, the ball’s defensive side has been the biggest problem for the Hawks, and hiring Unseld Jr. could help solve that.