Hawks GM Danny Ferry’s efforts to move the franchise’s player development program forward will include a reach back to the team’s past.
Former Hawks coach Bob Weiss is set to join Larry Drew’s staff as a coach and consultant. Weiss will be heavily involved in developing players and will sit behind the bench during games.
Drew said he had considered hiring an assistant with previous head coaching experience when he got the Hawks job in the summer of 2010.
“Somebody who could really watch and look at the big picture of the team, be that birdie on my shoulder as far as suggestions and ideals and what he sees,” Drew said. “I started interviewing and compiling a list of guys. I met with Bob for a second interview and I thought he was the perfect guy from a consultant standpoint.
“He will be sitting behind the bench, looking at things and giving me ideas and giving me opinions about different things with the team as a whole. I’ve always admired him from afar–didn’t know him personally–but watched from afar, even he when played. He has a wealth of knowledge.”
Weiss’ hiring is one of a few Hawks staff moves announced today.
Kenny Atkinson has officially been hired as an assistant coach. He’s a former Knicks assistant who earned notice when Jeremy Lin credited him with helping his development.
“Kenny came highly recommended as a guy who not only had experience as an assistant but also phenomenal player development guy,” Drew said. “I did a lot of research on him talked to a lot of people. I interviewed him a couple times and thought he was a great candidate to be that third assistant coach and a player development guy.”
Assistant coaches Kenny Gattison and Tyrone Hill will not return.
“I thought Kenny Gattison and Tyrone Hill did a really good job but, like with anything else, you are always looking to enhance what you have and try to make a situation you feel can help the ball club,” Drew said. “I felt it was time for a change.”
The Hawks hired Jeff Watkinson as the strength and conditioning coach. Watkinson worked at Indiana University before leaving in 2010 to take a job as Eric Gordon’s “personal development basketball coach.” Watkinson replaces Chattin Hill, who was with the Hawks for seven seasons.
Former Hawks GM Rick Sund, who has remained on staff during Ferry’s transition, will take on a new role as a senior adviser to the basketball operations. Sund’s duties will include scouting and he will split time between Atlanta and his permanent home in the Seattle area.
“Rick has been helpful during the changes and I think it’s a good situation to still have him available as a sounding board,” Ferry said.
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat