Kenny Atkinson is one of biggest assistant coaches on the rise in the NBA, but don’t expect him to leave the Atlanta Hawks for the Sacramento Kings gig in 2016-17.
Chris Mannix of The Vertical wrote about the recent issues of the Sacramento Kings organization, who seem like they are on the verge of firing yet another head coach George Karl in the ownership of Vivek Ranadive.
The Kings were a playoff caliber team in the Western Conference when they met the Atlanta Hawks in Sleep Train Arena not even a month ago. Now the Kings have apparently fallen back into the normal dysfunctional ways, as Ranadive may end up replacing Karl with assistant coach and former player Corliss Williamson.
Firing George Karl would be the third head coach the Kings organization would have parted ways with in a two-year period. They fired Michael Malone now with the Denver Nuggets at the start of the 2014-15 NBA season and didn’t make it the rest of that year with Malone’s replacement in former Utah Jazz head coach Tyrone Corbin. Karl replaced Corbin midseason in 2014-15 and it seems like a revolving door for coaches in Northern California.
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What Mannix wrote was that the Atlanta Hawks’ top assistant Kenny Atkinson would be in position this upcoming offseason to potentially leave Atlanta and become a head coach in his own right. Atkinson is the Dominican Republic National Team’s coach and led the World team in the Rookies/Sophomores game in last year’s All-Star Game in New York.
Atkinson, according to Mannix, probably won’t jump at the opportunity to become a head coach with the Sacramento Kings at the start of next year because of the constant upheaval in the front office with regards to the Kings’ ever-changing coaching staff.
While it speaks highly of Kenny Atkinson to emerge as a potential long-term solution for the Sacramento Kings should Ranadive cut ties with Karl, how long are long-term solutions in Sacramento anyway? This is a Kings franchise that hasn’t made the Western Conference Playoffs in a decade and has one of the most talented, albeit frustrating players in the Association in All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins.
Although Atlanta Hawks fans do need to prepare for the likelihood that Kenny Atkinson will leave Atlanta sooner rather than later to become an NBA head coach, he won’t want to go to a dysfunctional organization like the Sacramento Kings.
Expect if and when Atkinson does leave that he’ll go to a city that has a strong basketball culture and solid ownership like for Hawks top assistant Quin Snyder did when he became the head coach of the Utah Jazz a few years ago.
It’s humbling to think that other teams in the Association covet members of the Atlanta Hawks coaching staff, as they like both the their ability to develop players as well as having organizational continuity. Not all that long ago did the Atlanta Hawks have dysfunctional qualities to it.
The Mike Budenholzer era in Atlanta has already had an impact for the Hawks organization and now other teams want a bit of what makes the Hawks special on their team. Should Atkinson leave Atlanta for a better opportunity than what he has in Atlanta, it will mean that the Budenholzer tree will have two solid branches in the NBA with Atkinson and Snyder.