Atlanta Hawks: Lloyd Pierce Coaching Team USA is Good Sign for Future

Lloyd Pierce of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Lloyd Pierce of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

For the Atlanta Hawks, having the team’s first-year head coach join Gregg Popovich’s staff after just one year with the team is a great start.

Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce joined the staff this offseason after a supremely successful run with the Philadelphia 76ers in which Pierce was an assistant coach during the team’s newsworthy (and controversial) Process era.

In his first year with the Atlanta Hawks, Pierce implemented a highly successful modern offensive system and also oversaw the continued growth of second-year big man John Collins as well as rookies Trae Young, Kevin Huerter and Omari Spellman.

Pierce empowered Young in particular, and Ice Trae responded by becoming the best rookie in franchise history – producing a season that made Young deserving of at least a share of the Rookie of the Year award.

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Due to his early success and widespread plaudits from his colleagues, Pierce was recently named as a member of the United States National Team coaching staff under Gregg Popovich. Pierce joins Steve Kerr and Jay Wright of Villanova on the U.S. National Team staff.

“He has made great progression in his coaching career with stops at Cleveland, Golden State and Memphis, and then in Philadelphia before landing the head coaching job with the Hawks last year,” said Jerry Colangelo, director of USA Basketball’s men’s national team, in an official press release. “He has demonstrated the ability in particular to be an outstanding defensive coach.”

Indeed, Coach Pierce had a terrific first season in Atlanta, though his defensive personnel on the team was a little bit underwhelming – despite some strong performances on the less glamorous end from DeAndre’ Bembry and Dewayne Dedmon in Pierce’s first year in Atlanta.

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The Atlanta Hawks improved by five wins from the 2017-18 to 2018-19 seasons, and Pierce’s coaching was a big reason why. Clearly, Pierce’s peers appreciate his efforts and knowing that the Hawks have a U.S. National Team coach at the helm should be a boon for the franchise going forward.