Celtics fans currently have their eyes on the playoffs, where the team is facing the Atlanta Hawks. When the offseason approaches, we'll turn our attention to the draft, which will be impacted by the Brooklyn Nets for the next few years. So it is odd that those two worlds are somewhat intertwined in today's news.
The Nets have hired current Hawks assistant coach Kenny Atkinson to be their head coach.
"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 experience we were 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."
This move seems like good news for the Celtics and the Nets because it hints at a strategy of developing talent over time. A bigger name might have been convinced to sign on in a splashy move coupled with quick fix, short sighted trades and signings attempting to rush the rebuild. Instead, it seems like they'll take their time and attempt to do things right, regardless of who owns their pick.
Personally I don't wish any ill will on the Nets and I hope they can build something for the future. But selfishly I clearly want them to lose as many games as possible over the next 2 years. By all accounts Atkinson is a good coach, but even good coaches need talented players and it takes time to develop those players, especially when you don't have 1st rounders.
Shifting gears to the Hawks, it sounds like they'll still have their assistant coach for the rest of the playoffs.
The Hawks hold a 1-0 lead over the Boston Celtics after winning the series opener Saturday night, which means Atkinson will be with Atlanta for at least another 10 days. That could stretch on much longer, of course, as long as the team keeps winning. "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," Atkinson said.
I'm sure Kenny will give the Hawks and Celtics his full attention, but I suppose his new job and the logistics surrounding that opportunity could be somewhat of a distraction to him. Not really counting on that to be any impact at all on the court, but it is worth noting.