The Hawks finally decided to rip the band-aid off last night, firing Nate McMillan before the second half of the season. This was a move that was inevitable, and after two straight terrible losses before the All-Star break, the team decided to fire him in-season rather than wait until the conclusion. Hopefully, this lights a fire under the Hawks, who have severely underachieved this season, much like it did a couple of years ago when the team decided to fire Lloyd Pierce in the middle of the season. However, the team plans to approach things much differently in terms of the coaching search this time around.
After the Hawks fired Lloyd Pierce, Nate McMillan, who had previously served as a head coach, was named the interim for the rest of the season. The Hawks performed so well under McMillan that the team decided to remove the interim tag. Obviously, that didn’t turn out to be the correct decision.
As of now, Joe Prunty will serve as the interim head coach, but the Hawks are already actively searching for their next guy, per reports from Shams Charania, who provided a couple of names to keep an eye on.
“We’ll see which coach they try to bring in… Quin Snyder has the best resume and probably the best available candidate of anyone right now”@ShamsCharania on who to keep an eye on as the Hawks new Head Coach after firing Nate McMillan. #TrueToAtlanta#RunItBack pic.twitter.com/PI090F2jCn
— FanDuel TV (@FanDuelTV) February 22, 2023
Charania says the Hawks are trying to make a hire in-season, mentioning Quinn Snyder, Kenny Atkinson, Charles Lee, and Jordi Fernández as potential targets.
Making a hire in-season is always tricky, but it looks like the Hawks are hell-bent on attempting to salvage what’s left of the season. Quinn Snyder would be a slam dunk. He was an assistant on the Hawks under Mike Budenholzer before becoming the head coach of the Jazz from 2014-2022.
Atkinson was another assistant under Budenholzer that left the Hawks in 2016 to become the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets. He’s currently an assistant for the Golden State Warriors, a position he’s held since 2021.
If you’re noticing a common pattern, Charles Lee was also an assistant for the Hawks from 2014-2018 and followed Mike Budenholzer to Milwaukee, where he remains an assistant for the Bucks.
Finally, there’s Jord Fernández, who is currently the associate head coach for the Kings. Previously, Fernández spent five seasons with the Nuggets as an assistant coach.
I think all of these candidates would be an upgrade over McMillan, but I do wonder why any top candidate would be eager to become the next head coach in Atlanta. Sure, a promotion is tantalizing, but the Hawks have shaky ownership, a new front office, and a point guard that has helped oust his last two head coaches. If I were one of the top head coaching candidates right now, I wouldn’t be eager to accept the Hawks offer.
Photo: Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire
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