The Atlanta Hawks coaching staff gets an offseason makeover

Atlanta Hawks Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /

The Atlanta Hawks lost Chris Jent, their top assistant coach just after the season finished. He took the top assistant role with the Los Angeles Lakers role under new head coach Darvin Ham. This means that there was the potential for a reshuffle and a new hiring opportunity at the Hawks.

To this end, Joe Prunty has been promoted to the lead assistant role to replace Jent. Prunty has been in the league since 1996 with stints as an assistant coach at seven different franchises before he joined the Hawks. He was even the Milwaukee Bucks interim coach in the 2018 NBA season. He joined Atlanta in 2021 after a season with the Phoenix Suns.

He has championship experience as an assistant coach. He was part of the 1999, 2003, and 2005 championship teams with the San Antonio Spurs. Considering he was under Dejounte Murray‘s last head coach at the time, Gregg Popovich, this may help the Hawks’ newest star integrate into the franchise.

This left the Atlanta Hawks with one coaching spot to fill.

This meant that the Hawks had to replace Prunty in the coaching staff and to this end, they hired Mike Longabardi per Woj of ESPN. Longabardi was a college assistant coach from 1996 to 2003 with stints at Pfeiffer, Adelphi, Lafayette, and Towson during this time. He was even the interim head coach of Adelphi in 1999.

Longabardi came into the league in 2003 as an assistant at the Houston Rockets. He then had stints with the Boston Celtics, Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, Washington Wizards, and Sacramento Kings.

Given the Hawks just traded for two Kings players, his insights may be invaluable to unlocking the Hawks’ best defensive lineup. Given that his nickname in college was Mr. Defense, he has a chance of helping the Hawks improve there. His time with the Kings did not coincide with the Bogdan Bogdanovic fallout so there should be no ill-will there.

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This sees the Hawks have a full rotation of coaches and will be able to get to planning the Hawks campaign, beginning with Summer League.