Atlanta Hawks: Knicks assistant Kenny Atkinson to join Hawks staff

Kenny Atkinson is set to join the Hawks as an assistant coach on Larry Drew’s staff.

Atkinson, a Knicks player development coach since the 2008-09 season, gained notice when former Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin credited Atkinson with aiding his development prior to Lin becoming a media sensation last season. The Daily News reported that Knicks boss James Dolan had wanted Atkinson fired because he thought Atkinson was leaking info to media and that the Knicks also wouldn’t allow Atkinson to leave for a position on Portland’s staff two years ago

It’s not immediately clear what Atkinson’s role would be with the Hawks but he apparently will replace one of the four holdover assistants on Drew’s staff: Lester Conner, Bob Bender, Kenny Gattison and Tyrone Hill. Nick Van Exel has been the team’s player development instructor for the past two seasons.

New Hawks GM Danny Ferry said one of his goals is to to improve the organization’s player development program.

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat
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87 comments Add your comment

MsDee

August 6th, 2012
11:41 am

Wel alrighty than!!

MsDee

August 6th, 2012
11:41 am

Oh, Im 1st ,by the day!!

Buddy Grizzard

August 6th, 2012
11:46 am

Sure smacks of a move imposed from above.

SteveW

August 6th, 2012
11:48 am

Wow! This sounds like good news

SteveW

August 6th, 2012
11:50 am

KWooden – From the last blog – If I can’t win a Championship – and I choose to be a Hawks fan regardless – I may as well hope for exciting and above average.

Buddy Grizzard

August 6th, 2012
11:50 am

I complained about Drew’s “inability to spot, utilize or develop the talent on his own bench” in March. Drew failed to identify Teague as a starting-caliber point guard or develop his talent. Drew failed to identify Zaza as a starting-caliber center or develop his talent. Now the Hawks will possibly get the assistant coach who helped Jeremy Lin break out as an international phenomenon. Drew didn’t want any changes to his staff? Great move, Ferry.

http://www.hoopinionblog.com/2012/03/comparing-twilight-of-two-hawks-eras-by.html

Astro Joe

August 6th, 2012
11:50 am

Buddy, FTPB, MC explains the “tiers” of the coaching staff, and Atkinson was formerly in the lesser role that NVE currently has for the Hawks. It would be great to have more than one guy focused on player development, my only question is if Atkinson’s fame was built on working with a PG and NVE has been Teague’s personal tutor, then it feels like there is redundancy there. But given that the Hawks have 37 guards on the team, maybe Ferry is making the right call.

hawksfancents95

August 6th, 2012
11:51 am

With some good euroleage experience (Kenny Atkinson) should be able to install the fundamentals of basketball to young players, playing as one, moving the ball, positioning, appropriate shots and communication. I think we are taking the right steps to developing younger players and giving them different viewpoints to expand on. it will be nice to finally have a project player that we can watch grow(john jenkins) and i hope our developemental program does its job.

Najeh Davenpoop

August 6th, 2012
11:52 am

If Ferry gets to pick assistant coaches, I just wish the DASG would have had the common sense to allow him to pick the head coach too, instead of precluding him from doing that by prematurely picking up LD’s option.

Buddy Grizzard

August 6th, 2012
11:54 am

Btw.. “Lin becoming a media sensation…” strikes me as somewhat belittling of Lin’s accomplishments. Instead of calling him a “media sensation,” you could as easily have said “prior to Lin becoming the guy that lit the Lakers up for 38.”

Buddy Grizzard

August 6th, 2012
11:57 am

“it feels like there is redundancy there…”

Atkinson is known for helping Lin make the leap from unknown to star. NVE has no such accomplishment to hang his hat on. This is what’s known as an “upgrade,” not a “redundancy.” ;)

Marcus

August 6th, 2012
11:57 am

interesting …

kwooden

August 6th, 2012
12:03 pm

SteveW, I will assume that Ferry will get a decent SF through a trade in the next few months and that will make the HAWKS at least respectable. If that’s the kind of excitement your looking for, more power to you. I will just watch and wait til the off-season, when the really action will begin! (I Hope!)

Astro Joe

August 6th, 2012
12:06 pm

Buddy, you clearly seem to have bought into the Lin-sanity 6 week success story. I guess putting together some videos for the 6-week phenom is considered a great achievement… in comparison to helping Teague develop into a starting-caliber PG (which he was not prior to working with NVE).

CSP

August 6th, 2012
12:10 pm

Danny Ferry!! Get all the quality Peeps!

Feldwood

August 6th, 2012
12:11 pm

Danny Ferry has made being a Hawks fan exciting again.

Najeh Davenpoop

August 6th, 2012
12:13 pm

Lin put up 20 and 8 in February while D’Antoni was the coach and Carmelo was out. Carmelo came back at the end of February, D’Antoni resigned a couple of weeks later, and Lin put up a very Teague-like 14 and 6 in March, on only 40% shooting. Lin is a solid player, but whether he can be a star in Houston’s system is a major question mark.

vava74

August 6th, 2012
12:18 pm

Without another significant move, this Hawks roster is, at best a 7th or 8th seed.

Everyone is simply forgetting that JJ and Marvin were solid/above average defenders and that we are now small like hell.

There none SG who could back down JJ in the paint and there were few that could shoot over him.

We will now have a smaller and less than stellar on D SG on the floor virtually 90% of the time.

Within all bad things that we could point out on Marvin we could point out his defense. He was disciplined and long, always giving a fairly steady effort and above average rebounding for the SF position.

Again, there were very few SF who could back down or shoot comfortably over Marvin.

Now, we are looking at bottom of the barrel SFs…

We will be GS east this year and I think we should focus exactly on the item under discussion on the blog: “player development” giving as many minutes to Teague and Jenkins as possible and in the process try to get a quality HC under contract, someone who can, within the limitations of this year show Josh that he has the knowledge and the leadership to make us a contender in the close future.

steven a smith

August 6th, 2012
12:31 pm

Can you smell what Danny Ferry is cooking??? The writing is on the wall boys.

O'Brien

August 6th, 2012
12:54 pm

AJ,

What are the chances of Benson putting on enough weight to be a solid backup Center capable of playing 20mpg when Zaza leaves? I’m just not sure he has it in him. I prefer him as our 3rd string center.

As for the roster, I have a hard time believing that Ferry is finished. At some point, I think he will find a way to replace one of the guards with a SF.

If he doesn’t, I would only use one of the roster spots on a SF (with size), because Korver will get minutes at SF too (imo), and Josh could also play minutes there as needed

Buddy Grizzard

August 6th, 2012
12:58 pm

And when did Teague score 38 on the Lakers? So much jealousy for Jeremy Lin because guys like Melo will never get the love he’ll have for the rest of his career.

Ra'mon

August 6th, 2012
12:59 pm

Guys, does this also mean that Ferry may make a run at Dan Antoni? Just curious. Ferry hires Mike D, Chris P. (and D12) instantly looks at the Hawks favorably. Guys remember, it was only 3 seasons ago that the Clippers were the clippers.

Buddy Grizzard

August 6th, 2012
1:06 pm

“Without another significant move, this Hawks roster is, at best a 7th or 8th seed.

Everyone is simply forgetting that JJ and Marvin were solid/above average defenders and that we are now small like hell.”

That’s going to depend on whom the Hawks start at small forward and how much Stevenson has left in the tank. If Stevenson is still capable of lock-down wing defense, he can replace what Joe and Marvin provided on the wing. Meanwhile, Ivan and Zaza are both better interior defenders than Marvin. If the Hawks land Pietrus or Barnes as the starting small forward, I don’t see this team finishing worse than 5th. Even T-Mac was solid defensively on Pierce in the playoffs. If Drew starts Josh, Al and Zaza together and Ivan and Petro prove to be capable backups, it will be an interesting season.

WeBurn

August 6th, 2012
1:13 pm

Hawks are going to have a head coach in waiting for when Drew’s contract is up.

Buddy Grizzard

August 6th, 2012
1:23 pm

If I’m LD, I sell this as my move all the way.

pointguardslim

August 6th, 2012
1:38 pm

how is LD going to sell it as his own move if it isn’t? People in the know ie execs or players lose respect for him if he’s lying. Gotta have some honor.

Maybe this guy is a spy for Ferry

Hawkfan

August 6th, 2012
2:13 pm

Love Ferry..keep it coming boss!
Drew will be next to go….

Mike is Back

August 6th, 2012
2:16 pm

OB, I think Benson can put on twenty pounds over the next couple of seasons…kind like DJordon did with the Clips…if the goal is to start developing young talent…then Benson is a great candidate to kick things off…he’s a shot blocker with a nice touch around the rack…certainly he’s not there yet…but definitely worth the investment

JayD

August 6th, 2012
2:23 pm

Everybody loves Danny……How many games has the Ferry regime won???

TMACfan

August 6th, 2012
2:35 pm

Wait for an actual season to be played out.

Whitman Lam

August 6th, 2012
2:35 pm

“The Daily News reported that Knicks boss James Dolan wanted Atkinson fired because he thought Atkinson was leaking info to media in previous years and that the Knicks wouldn’t allow Atkinson to leave for a position on Portland’s staff two years ago”. Wow, this Dolan cat is as paranoid as Macbeth.

Whitman Lam

August 6th, 2012
2:36 pm

Sorry, I meant King Lear. I get Shakespeare characters confused.

The Truth

August 6th, 2012
2:48 pm

“Knicks player development assistant coach Kenny Atkinson is set to join Larry Drew’s staff.”
“New Hawks GM Danny Ferry said he wants to improve the organization’s player development program”

What seems obvious from this move by Danny, he’s not impressed with Nick. Perhaps after watching enough film and observing Nick’s coaching in the summer league may be Danny has seen enough.

If LD is to survive a new contract, he must do what he does best, play politics and throw threats under the bus. In this case, it’s NVE. On the other hand, Danny could be posturing for a rationale to release LD by dealing him a losing roster and creating internal strife (hiring Atkinson) LD can’t overcome.

We Shall See what LD is really made of under these “new” conditions.

Astro Joe

August 6th, 2012
2:51 pm

Look at Deshawn’s last few seasons, is there any reason to believe that he can play more than around 20 minutes/game? Maybe if you close one eye, squint real hard and the light is very dim… in that case, he will look just like Metta World Peace.

OB, I’m not sure that he needs to add tremendous bulk (Benson). I’d work on his core strength and his fundamental skills. In today’s NBA, you could keep a designated “super-big” to defend the handful of low-post threats. IMO, the bigger issue is having someone capable of defending the pick & roll. There are far more mercurial guards capable of putting up big points than there are guys like D12, Bynum or Al Jeff.

Ra’mon, I doubt that someone like Ferry would view D’Antoni’s one-dimensional coaching philosophy as being the one to build a sustainable contender.

And playing a little “six degrees”, isn’t there some wedding connection between Melo & CP3 (wasn’t there a goofy rumor about them discussing playing in NYC together during a wedding)? And Melo and D’Antoni didn’t get along. Allegedly, D’Antoni quit after his request to have Melo traded was rejected.

ag

August 6th, 2012
2:55 pm

vava74 – okay very few SG’s could back JJ and the quality of SF’s in the league has gone down. I do remember the one occasion one of my favorite Hawks playing SF (one whom I wish would come back)… Mo Evans.. blew past Marvin and dunked…. or how many times, Ellis or even JR Smith, Young etc. lit the Hawks up… and you guess. on Joe Johnson.

Buddy Grizzard

August 6th, 2012
3:10 pm

“how is LD going to sell it as his own move if it isn’t?”

I’ve stated previously that I believe Danny is going to put LD in the best possible position to succeed and is not motivated to undermine him in any way. I think ownership must be ecstatic with how Danny has changed perception of the franchise in such a short time. If Danny had another coach lined up and went to ownership and said “we need to make a move” I bet they would eat LD’s salary and go with Danny’s guy.

So I really don’t believe Danny is out to get LD i.e.:

“Danny could be posturing for a rationale to release LD”

So how can LD sell this move as his own? He probably has instructions from Danny TO SELL this move as his own. Danny doesn’t want to undermine the coach and create a lame duck that they players won’t respect or listen to as Danny attempts to evaluate the roster in his first season as GM. Even if he’s making moves with the coaching staff that LD didn’t initiate, he and ownership may be telling LD to play along publicly if he wants a shot at a contract extension if all goes well.

Sautee

August 6th, 2012
3:20 pm

So Buddy, how does that square with your prediction that Ferry will make himself the next coach?

Astro Joe

August 6th, 2012
3:24 pm

I think Ferry negotiated hiring/firing the head coach during the interview process. And as such, he doesn’t need to justify anything nor have LD sell anything. There is no PR spin to any of this. Hiring some guy to the back-end of your coaching staff won’t save his job if the team under-performs, continues to struggle to execute during crucial times (see Game 6) or if Ferry simply wants to bring in his own guy. I agree that Ferry wants LD to succeed, why not? Any decent boss wants their employees to succeed. In this case, success isn’t likely going to result in some “requirement” to extend LD beyond the season. Next summer, the Hawks will likely have upwards of 8 new players on their team. As i continue to say, this is a transition year… the real construction starts next summer 9this summer has mostly been deconstruction).

Astro Joe

August 6th, 2012
3:30 pm

As I continue to say, this is a transition year… the real construction starts next summer (this summer has mostly been deconstruction).

Rev in Tampa

August 6th, 2012
3:34 pm

“On the other hand, Danny could be posturing for a rationale to release LD by dealing him a losing roster and creating internal strife (hiring Atkinson) LD can’t overcome.”

“Posturing for rationale to release LD”??? Danny don’t need no stinkin’ rationale to release LD.

Now, if he decides to keep LD past this season and extend his contract then Danny better provide a VERY CONVINCING rationale for keeping him.

Astro Joe

August 6th, 2012
4:07 pm

Rev., folk are making up drama. If you have ever been in a position where you have true autonomy and power, then you know that you don’t need to create scenarios to justify a decision. You just make the decision because you have the power to do so. After reading all of the articles about the interview process and after watching how Ferry has made bold moves in his first month as the head man, there is very little doubt that he truly is in charge of basketball operations for this franchise. Next summer, LD will be a free agent and Ferry won’t need any excuse to let him walk. IMO, the reason he stays now is because it would be a waste of money to fire him. This is a lame duck team with guys who hope to get a multi-year contract next summer (as opposed to entering the “Matt Barnes/Roger Mason/Mikki Moore” phase of their career). Hiring a new head coach for this motley crew won’t likely add 2 more home playoff games (estimated revenue of around $1.8M) to pay for LD’s contract. Not to mention that in 10 months, the number of quality candidates will increase.

hawksfancents95

August 6th, 2012
4:09 pm

JayD and TMAC

So yall were obviously happy with the rick sund regime, satisfied with the 1st or 2nd round exit. GM DF regime has won 0 games in Atlanta but he has demolished the old “just good enough” philosophy and is installing hope and faith with the atlanta fan base. yes we will have to see how things turn out but dont have a pessimistic view when we have made more positive acquistions to benefit the franchise in the past two months than i ever can recall. we will be as good as the last five years anyway with the chance to land a superstar or two next off-season.

Astro Joe

August 6th, 2012
4:16 pm

This guy’s profile sounds good… as a strong assistant coach. But honestly, nothing here suggests that he is iminently ready to be a head coach. Is he more ready than Budenholzer or Brian Shaw or Elston Turner or Mario Elie or any number of former head coaches? Actually, it seems like he is qualified to be a good assistant coach. Consider this, if Ferry simply wanted to improve the assistant coaching staff, what would he do? Maybe hire a qualified candidate who was available to join the coaching staff as an assistant?

http://www.nba.com/coachfile/kenny_atkinson/index.html

That Man Again

August 6th, 2012
4:21 pm

Well, it aint a bad thing, but really, these guys have been playing ball all their lives. I wish we’d quit making excuses for bums.

A real man will hire his own personal trainers/position specialist. There is no training to replace desire. Either you have desire or you don’t.

Hunger is the best pickle – Ben Franklin (poor Richards Almanac)

Luv Josh Smith

August 6th, 2012
4:38 pm

The real construction happens when we land a bonafide 5 and release the logjam at 4 where we have two All-Star capable performers. Speaking of rationale for keeping LD, Ferry has managed to quiet down all the trade Smoove for anything with a pulse talk that used to dominate this blog with one single interview.
Anthony Morrow can handle significant minutes at SG. He shoots good % from the field and on the line, but doesn’t rebound worth a crap. I think the man has a plan……
I’m sticking around.

Melvin

August 6th, 2012
4:43 pm

Astro,

Totally agree with your 3:30 post. I would add that I believe Ferry wants to add a superstar type player to this roster. Therefore he’s not going to risk or jeopardize the cap spaces/flexibility that he created for next season.

The Truth

August 6th, 2012
4:45 pm

“Posturing for rationale to release LD”??? Danny don’t need no stinkin’ rationale to release LD. – Rev

Let’s hope all of Danny’s GM decisions (great or small) are based on rational thinking and not an exercise of ego power tripping.

pointguardslim

August 6th, 2012
4:47 pm

Mo Evans huh? I almost threw up.

Josh Smith at 3 aka the glue guy aka the identity of the team
or Mo Evans…

pointguardslim

August 6th, 2012
4:48 pm

Teague
Morrow
Smith
Pachulia
Horford

cant wait till D12

Fundamentals

August 6th, 2012
5:08 pm

IF Benson, Petro & Williams can play some good D while Pachulia nd Horford get rest we could go big and put Josh at SF to compensate for our guards well. Smoove could post up his defender and Horford could do well with the pick & roll/pick and pop game. ZaZa will always be a good garbage man on offense. He plays well when he knows he’s counted on, he sulks when his role is reduced. We could definitely benefit from a trade for a legit SF or C….for the past 7 years, but who’s really counting. I think with proper player development and good coaching decisions the team as listed can easily meet the goal of getting bounced in the first round, maybe make the second. That’s the bar as it stands.

The silver lining is the cap space and flexibility Ferry has created to potentially make that jump to moving past the 2nd round someday. If it isn’t this season, what have we really lost? Is barely missing the playoffs that much worse than getting bounced in the 1st round? At least this year we have promise, hope and dreams of moves instead of the same ole story.

Good work Ferry. Keep the updates coming!