Lloyd Pierce is no longer the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks.
That fact has a lot of people scratching their heads. Unless something egregious happens mid season, most coaches get the boot at the conclusion of the 82 game journey. There have even been head coaches that have won under 15 games a season that made it all the way to the last game.
Besides being a promising young coach, Pierce has been a vocal member of the Atlanta community. He lent his voice to social justice issues and had been a vocal supporter of their WNBA counterpart, the Atlanta Dream. I will be the first to admit that these characteristics are great to possess but doesn’t mean you will be a good head coach in the NBA and should have a job. But then you look at the progress he was making with a young and inexperienced team and the aforementioned head scratching continues.
It wasn’t their record
The Hawks record going into the All-Star break is better this year than the past 2 years. They started this season 10-9 before going into a small slump. Furthermore, when you look at the personnel Pierce had to work with, the argument of “you can only work with what you got” comes into play. Pierce can make recommendations and suggestions for the roster but the final decision ultimately comes down to the General Manager. Obviously, the team is being built around young superstar Trae Young. But whether they are rebuilding or trying to compete for a playoff spot seems murky. Recent free agent moves and off-season acquisitions haven’t given Trae the strongest teammates to compete with. Or for Lloyd Pierce to coach towards a successful season, for that matter.
Then there is the present-day argument of a lack of black head coaches. This is highlighted because the NBA is a league made up of over 70% black players. Compound that with the perception that black coaches that do get hired are given a short window to be successful. Or they are given subpar teams making success extremely difficult find. This case is slightly different with former player and long time NBA Coach Nate McMillan fulfilling the interim role. Regardless of who fills the role, it still raises eyebrows with the good start Pierce was getting off to.
It wasn’t a lack of commitment
In addition to the odd timing of his departure, he also is a new father. Pierce’s wife gave birth to their son recently. You would think a valued member of the community would have an opportunity to grow. Both with your organization and his family within the city limits of Atlanta. For someone who is an integral part of the organization and community, you have to wonder, did he piss off the wrong person? Maybe something happened behind closed doors of it is just the harsh reality of the NBA that wins translate to longevity.
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