Atlanta Hawks assistant coach Lester Conner react in the third quarter against the Detroit Pistons at The Palace. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
When the 2013-2014 NBA season opens, the Atlanta Hawks will not only have a new head coach in Mike Budenholzer, but will also have a new face in the “lead” assistant’s chair.
According to various reports, Larry Drew’s right-hand man, Lester Conner, will follow Drew to his new head coaching job with the Milwaukee Bucks. This move comes as no surprise, as Conner was brought in by Drew after a stint in Indiana, but the makeup of the Hawks bench for the upcoming season is very much up in the air.
The fates of the other assistant coaches, Bob Bender, Kenny Atkinson and Bob Weiss, is unknown at this time, but only Bender was employed prior to the Drew administration. Until the NBA Finals conclude, I don’t expect any further clarification, as, short of one of the assistants grabbing a job elsewhere, there is no decision-making presence in Atlanta until Budenholzer’s arrival. In addition, the only name that has publicly surfaced as a possibility for the Hawks to hire as an assistant coach is former NBA player, Darvin Ham, who the Hawks were reportedly given permission to interview.
Hawks fans would recognize Lester Conner for his extended work on the jumbotron in Philips Arena, as he would regularly give the “halftime interview” in the stead of Larry Drew, and while he wasn’t officially designated as “lead” assistant, it was widely known that he held that figurative position. It will be interesting to follow Drew and Conner in their new regime in Milwaukee, and I firmly believe that the duo will succeed with the Bucks.