After going on a free agent spending spree during the offseason, the Hawks appeared ready to compete with the Eastern Conference elite. Fast forward to one week before the All-Star break, and things have not gone according to plan. Sensing a big change needed to be made, Atlanta did just that on Monday afternoon, as they dismissed head coach Lloyd Pierce.
Pierce’s time with Atlanta has not gone as expected. In roughly two and half years in charge, Pierce’s overall record is 63-120. The Hawks failed to make the playoffs in Pierce’s two full seasons in charge.
Pierce’s dismissal comes as the Hawks currently sit in 12th place in the Eastern Conference. Through their last 15 games, the Hawks have the third-worst record in the entire NBA.
Led by star point guard Trae Young, the offense has been prolific and ranks 11th in offensive rating. Forward John Collins and guard Kevin Huerter have also enjoyed strong seasons on the offensive end. Despite the strong showing on offense, the Hawks defense leaves a lot to be desired.
On the season, the Hawks rank third-lowest in opponent’s turnovers per game. Their average steals and blocks per game both rank in the bottom half of the league. One of the biggest issues is having to compensate for Young on the defensive end. While Young is a fantastic offensive player, he lacks the size and strength to be more than a speedbump defensively.
The Hawks hope that assistant coach Nate McMillan will choose to become the interim head coach following Pierce’s departure. McMillan was the Indiana Pacers head coach for 4 seasons before joining the Hawks coach staff for the 2020-21 season. McMillan’s overall record during his four years with the Pacers was 183-126.