Brooklyn Nets Hire Kenny Atkinson as Head Coach; Former Atlanta Hawks’ Assistant
The Brooklyn Nets hire Kenny Atkinson, finding their 21st head coach in the franchise’s NBA history.
“We are thrilled to announce Kenny Atkinson as a new head coach and to welcome him and his family to Brooklyn”, said Nets’ general manager Sean Marks. “Kenny’s years of NBA coaching experience working under successful head coaches such as Mike Budenholzer and Mike D’Antoni have provided him with the foundation and the experience we are looking for in a head coach. We believe that Kenny’s core principles, leadership, communication skills, and exceptional background in Player Development make him an ideal fit for the culture we are building in Brooklyn.”
The 48 year-old Atkinson is currently serving as the lead assistant coach for Mike Budenholzers Atlanta Hawks. Atkinson will continue as an assistant coach until the conclusion of the Hawks’ postseason run. Due to the Hawks current playoff run, a press conference to formally introduce Atkinson will be held on a date that is yet to be determined.
Atkinson’s Legacy So Far
Atkinson has been recognized around the league as Budenholzers top assistant and he is well respected for his skills in preparation. Many around the league expected Atkinson to be an NBA head coach at some point. This position with the lowly Brooklyn Nets will be Atkinson’s first NBA head coaching opportunity.
“I’d like to extend a personal welcome to Kenny and wish all of the success as we begin a new era at the Brooklyn Nets,” said Nets’ owner Mikhail Prokhorov. Aside from his tremendous skills and experience he has the mindset we need to build a winning team, day by day, step by step. Together we can do great things.”
The Hawks made the playoffs in each of Atkinson’s 4 seasons, including the team’s first trip to the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2015 NBA postseason. The 2015 Hawks accomplished a franchise-record 60 wins including a franchise-best 19 game win streak. They also captured their first Division Championship in over 20 seasons.
Prior to his tenure with the Hawks, Atkinson was an assistant coach for 4 seasons with the New York Knicks as he helped them reach the playoffs twice. Atkinson also spent one year as the Director of Player Personnel for the Houston Rockets.
“I am truly honored and humbled to be named the Head Coach of the Brooklyn Nets, and I would like to thank the Nets’ ownership and management for this tremendous opportunity,” said Atkinson. “Together with Sean and his staff we look forward to building a winning tradition here in Brooklyn. I want to acknowledge and thank Mike Budenholzer and the entire Atlanta Hawks Organization for cooperation and support throughout this process. While I am eager to begin working with the Nets, I remain committed to my coaching responsibilities with the Hawks for the remainder of the postseason.”
The Nets are coming off of a 61 loss season and are looking for Atkinson to spearhead not only a change in culture, but also to get them back on a winning track. Tall order for the Nets.
(Brooklyn Nets Hire Kenny Atkinson)