Atlanta Hawks hire assistant with Hall-of-Fame connection

Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /

On Monday, the Atlanta Hawks bolstered Quin Snyder‘s coaching staff by hiring Bryan George to the role of player development/video coordinator, per Jeff Schultz of The Athletic.

George was previously an assistant coach for ASVEL Basket, a French team partially owned by San Antonio Spurs hall-of-fame point guard Tony Parker. George has also been a video coordinator for the French National Team since 2017, a squad that won a silver medal at the 2020 Olympics. They also took home a bronze medal in the 2019 World Cup and a silver medal in EuroBasket 2022.

The hire marks the latest addition to a coaching staff that has already undergone some changes early in the 2023 Atlanta Hawks offseason.

Last week, the Hawks made franchise history when they hired Brittni Donaldson to join their analytics department, marking the first time the team had ever hired a female coach.

A bit later in the week, it was revealed that assistant coach Joe Prunty, who, for what it’s worth, had a perfect record in the three games he coached in Atlanta, would be departing to join the Milwaukee Bucks, a team he had previously coached for earlier in his career. The Bucks coincidentally hired Atlanta youngster AJ Griffin’s father Adrian to be their new head coach two weeks ago following the dismissal of yet another former Hawk in Mike Budenholzer.

It certainly isn’t a novel thing in the NBA for a recently-hired head coach to restructure his staff to his liking. Snyder took over for Nate McMillan last February following a frustrating first two-thirds of the season for Atlanta in which McMillan and star point guard Trae Young got into several public feuds that hung a cloud over the franchise.

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On his newly launched “From The Point” podcast, Young insisted that he and McMillan parted ways on good terms.

However, even the most casual fans could see that a change was needed after the Hawks teetered around .500 for an NBA-record number of games throughout the 2022-23 season.

While their record did not improve dramatically once Snyder took the reigns, there was a noticeable uptick in various departments, including three-point attempts, as well as Young’s effort on the defensive end of the floor.

The season culminated in an impressive play-in game victory in Miami followed by a six-game loss to the second-seeded Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs, which initially seemed to be cause for encouragement for the underdog Hawks, but how much of that was Atlanta’s doing and how much of that was Boston’s immaturity is now the subject of debate.

Still, it’s refreshing to see Snyder and the front office bolstering the bench with some highly-experienced, data-driven minds to help reshape the Hawks offense, which more closely resembled a team from 1996 than 2023 for much of this past season.

One of the things that George will surely notice as he assumes his video coordinating responsibilities is the lack of syncopation between Young and running mate Dejounte Murray. Too much of the offense consisted of a your-turn, my-turn style iso-ball, which can work if you have Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal or LeBron James and Kyrie Irving on your team. Unfortunately, Young and Murray are not those players, and Atlanta’s offense was overly-predictable as a result.

The fact that two of the five starters, John Collins and Clint Capela, were not even remotely threatening from outside the arc did not help matters, and that’s a need Atlanta will need to address this offseason to give this revamped staff a chance to turn this team into a contender.

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For now, though, it’s good to see that the Hawks are making strides to refocus things around Snyder’s more modernized vision for the team. Hopefully, this string of moves will pay dividends in 2023-24.