The Nets are bringing in a New York native to be the team’s next coach.
The club announced on April 17 that it hired Atlanta Hawks assistant and Long Island native Kenny Atkinson to take over for interim coach Tony Brown, who replaced the fired Lionel Hollins. Atkinson will begin the job once Atlanta’s postseason run is over. The new headman has what it will take to turn around the flagging 21–61 team, the team’s owner said.
“Aside from his tremendous skills and experience, he has the mindset we need to build a winning team day by day, step by step,” Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov said in a press release. “Together, we can do great things.”
Atkinson joins the Nets after four seasons under Mike Budenholzer as an assistant coach with the Hawks, who made playoff appearances in each of those seasons. It included a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals last year. Prior to his tenure with the in Atlanta, Atkinson was an assistant coach for four seasons with the Knicks from 2008 to 2012 under Mike D’Antoni, helping the team reach the postseason in 2011 and 2012. He also spent one season as the director of player development for the Houston Rockets.
“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,” said Nets general manager Sean Marks.
Atkinson, a Huntington native, also has international coaching experience working in player development in Paris, the Republic of Georgia, the Ukraine, and the Dominican Republic. He is eager to get started turning things around in Brooklyn — once his duties with the Hawks end.
“I am truly honored and humbled to be named the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, and I would like to thank Nets’ ownership and management for this tremendous opportunity,” Atkinson said. “Together with Sean and his staff, we look forward to building a winning tradition here in Brooklyn.”