After losing assistant Marlon Garnett to Charlotte, the Hawks are hiring former guard Nick Van Exel as an assistant coach:
The Atlanta Hawks are hiring Nick Van Exel as an assistant coach, source tells ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 22, 2021
Van Exel had a long NBA career, starting off with the Lakers in 1993 before Kobe Bryant’s rise to superstardom. He was traded to the Nuggets in 1998, and he would make 11 more stops with NBA teams as a journeyman. Van Exel’s best season came in 2001 when he averaged over 21 points and 8 assists in Denver. Although never playing with McMillan, they were in the league at the same time for five seasons while Van Exel was with the Lakers.
Van Exel has worked with the Hawks before, serving in a player development role from 2010-2013 on Larry Drew’s staff. Van Exel has also worked with Drew in Milwaukee, and for three years in Memphis with David Fizdale and J.B. Bickerstaff. It’s always nice to have a former player help out, and we saw the dividends it paid with Coach McMillan. If Nate trusts Van Exel, so do I. Hawks fans know how good important assistants can be, as McMillan was in the same role before leading the Hawks to the Eastern Conference Finals after taking over mid-season.