The Atlanta Hawks have fired their head coach Lloyd Pierce, due to the Hawks inability to win games and a disappointment in what was supposed to be a coming out year. The Hawks are certainly living up to their star point guard’s nickname (Ice Trae), as they are skidding to the bottom of the Eastern Conference, going 3-7 in their last 10 games. Lloyd was an assistant coach for many teams (Cavaliers, Warriors, and 76ers to name a few), but his first head coaching job was with the Hawks.
Nate McMillan will serve as the interim head coach of the Hawks until they decide to give him a head coaching contract or find someone else to coach the franchise. McMillan has been the head coach of the Seattle Supersonics with Ray Allen, the Portland Trail Blazers with Brandon Roy, and the Indiana Pacers with Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. During the 16 years with the three franchises, McMillan has gone 667-591, or a .530 winning percentage.
This year was supposed to be the coming out party for the Atlanta Hawks. Trae Young has had more time to develop, and was an All-Star the season prior. John Collins is one of the premier young power forwards in the NBA, Kevin Huerter is a dangerous three-point shooter, and with free agency pickups of Rajon Rondo, Danilo Gallinari, Kris Dunn, and most notably Clint Capela, many expected the Hawks to make the playoffs this season. They also drafted Onyeka Okongwu in the 2020 NBA Draft, but he has yet to debut with the team.
“We would like to thank Lloyd for his work and commitment to not only the Hawks organization but the city of Atlanta.”Travis Schlenk, general manager of the Hawks, on releasing Lloyd Pierce
The Hawks’ dreams of a playoff season seemed realistic and on track at first, as they started out 10-9. From there, they collapsed, with a large portion of the blame being injuries. Many of the free agents and draft picks (Rondo, Dunn, Okongwu) haven’t played a minute for the Hawks yet, while others (Gallinari, Bogdanovic) have had other minor injuries. The firing of Pierce came very quickly out of nowhere, as he coached the Hawks on Monday after their loss to the Miami Heat, and one Hawks player said that he found out about his coaches’ firing on Twitter.
Often times, the scapegoat for an NBA team can be the coaching. If the team isn’t winning, there’s something wrong with the coach. If the players aren’t getting along, it’s because nothing the coach does works. While in some cases this is true, coaches get too much of the blame. They can train and talk to their players as much as they want, but when the guys are on the floor, there is little to nothing they can do.
“You’re in the middle of the rebuild and then you blame the coach for the losses that you had no chance to win. Unfortunately, that’s just the way it’s worked in the league.”Doc Rivers, coach of the Philadelphia 76ers on Pierce’s firing
If the Hawks begin to win in the second half of the season, then maybe this move will have worked out as they wanted. But what do you think? Was this a good or bad move by the Hawks? Let me know in the comments below, don’t forget to follow the blog, and as always, have an awesome day!