What Charlotte Hornets Hiring Kenny Atkinson As Next Coach Means

Kenny Atkinson, Charlotte Hornets, NBA Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

The Charlotte Hornets have made their first big move of the offseason. After firing James Boreggo following another disappointing performance in the NBA Play-In Tournament, the Hornets now have his replacement.

Kenny Atkinson was named the team’s new head coach, agreeing to a four-year deal according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Atkinson reportedly beat out fellow finalist Mike D’Antonio and former Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts also received an interview. However, Atkinson was the only one to meet with owner Michael Jordan, which sealed the deal.

He is inheriting a team that won 10 more games this season than last as Charlotte went 43-39. That is a much better position than the last team that Atkinson coached, the Brooklyn Nets, were in when he took over. The Nets were in a full-on rebuild when Atkinson began his coaching tenure there and is credited as being a big reason they turned things around so quickly.

Known for his developmental skills, Atkinson is a great fit for a young Hornets roster that didn’t always seem prepared for the biggest games. He brings some defensive acumen along with him as well, something else that Charlotte needs plenty of.

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From 2016-20, as Atkinson stepped down from the Nets job on March 7th, 2020, he compiled a record of 118-190. His ouster had a lot to do with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, who have made it clear that they don’t want to be ridden hard by a head coach.

As a result, he has spent the last two seasons as an assistant with the LA Clippers and this season with the Golden State Warriors. Whatever issues he may have had with the superstar duo, he should have picked up some ways to change it after coaching the likes of Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, and Draymond Green.

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Overall, Atkinson has spent nine seasons as an assistant in the NBA to go along with the three-plus he spent as head coach of the Nets. He will now be tasked with helping a Hornets team that has made some strides but hasn’t made the playoffs in six years get back into the postseason.

Kenny Atkinson will have some excellent pieces to help him achieve that led by LaMelo Ball. Coaching the Charlotte Hornets should feel like he is picking right back up where he left off with the Nets before their superstar acquisitions.

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