Why Atlanta Hawks coach Nate McMillan is safe where Lloyd Pierce was not

Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

The Atlanta Hawks are in a similar position to last season. They were expected to be a play-in team last season but they had an awful run of injuries which prompted the Hawks front office to pull the pin on the Lloyd Pierce era as head coach of the franchise.

Just prior to the All-Star break, the ax was swung and Nate McMillan was installed as the new head coach. He was given a gift with the return of Bogdan Bogdanovic on the same day but it was the implementation of his systems and structures which helped the Hawks to within two games of the NBA Finals.

During the offseason, they added Gorgui Dieng, Jalen Johnson, Sharife Cooper, and Delon Wright to the roster. However, due to constant injuries during the preseason, McMillan was unable to develop the chemistry within the team that he was seeking. It is safe to say that this season has also not gone to plan.

The Atlanta Hawks have stumbled from one crisis to another this season.

The Hawks have had another injury crisis this season which you could have been forgiven for thinking you were experiencing deja vu. When that was over, they experienced one of the worst Covid crises in the NBA. While they still have key players in protocols they are going to keep losing games. There is a reason that the Hawks are in their current position.

On top of that, there appears to be no dissent in the ranks. Pierce lost his players as evidenced by the leaked dissent between Trae Young and John Collins during a film session prior to a Charlotte Hornets loss last season. This stuff happens all the time but the fact that it got out speaks volumes.

However, the biggest reason that McMillan is safe is that he has a tremendous relationship with his superstar point guard. Pierce alienated Young early on with his comments about international representation among other things. While Young is on his side the Hawks will wait until they have a team back and then if the losing continues, McMillan might be in danger.

Next. The Atlanta Hawks made the right call moving on from Lance Stephenson. dark

He showed last season how far he could take the Hawks, there is no reason that he should not be able to do the same this season.