Kenny Atkinson hired as Charlotte Hornets head coach
Former Brooklyn Nets head coach and current Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson has been hired as the Charlotte Hornets head coach, according to The Athletic‘s Shams Charania. His only previous head-coaching stint was with the Brooklyn Nets (2016-20), going 118-190 in his four-year tenure.
According to Charania, Atkinson met with the Hornets on Wednesday with team officials, including owner Michael Jordan, for his second interview. He and former Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns and Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni were the only two reported coaches who had second interviews with the Hornets. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski details that it’s a four-year deal for Atkinson.
This is a good head coaching hire for Charlotte, who recently let go of James Borrego after four seasons. Borrego went 138-163, including back-to-back play-in appearances — though both of their play-in games resulted in 27- and 29-point losses to the Indiana Pacers and Atlanta Hawks, respectively.
The Hornets have ranked in the bottom-third in defense leaguewide in three of the last four years, including the ninth-worst defense this last year. When Atkinson took over prior to the 2016-17 season, the Nets were the second-worst defense the year prior and in the bottom-third in each of those two previous seasons. In his four years, their defense ranked No. 23, No. 21, No. 15 and No. 10, respectively.
Charlotte needs a capable defensive center to build that defense. Though adding Atkinson to implement a defensive structure is a good kick start.
But the Hornets boast a promsing crop of young talent, led by point guard LaMelo Ball, who’s arguably one of the most fun young guards to watch in the league. Atkinson has been good at developing young talent, namely Caris LeVert, Joe Harris, Spencer Dinwiddie and Jarrett Allen, among others.
Atkinson also spent the last two seasons under Tyronn Lue and Steve Kerr — two of the best coaches in the league — to pick their brain with the pieces the Hornets possess; Charlotte should be in good hands with Atkinson as the head man and should end their six-year playoff drought sooner rather than later.
This is a breaking news story. Stay tuned for updates.
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