Sunday June 26th, 2022 1:28PM

McMillan looking for more success as Hawks’ full-time coach

By Charles Odum AP Sports Writer
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

ATLANTA (AP) — Nate McMillan earned his deal as full-time coach of the Atlanta Hawks by leading the team to its first playoff appearance since 2017.

The playoff run took the Hawks all the way to the Eastern Conference finals, and McMillan says he believes more success awaits the young team.

“I am truly blessed to be able to lead this special group into the future,” McMillan said in a statement released by the team on Thursday, when his deal as full-time coach was made official.

“I believe what we accomplished this season is just the beginning of what we can achieve if we stay connected and committed to each other.”

McMillan’s deal was formalized after general manager Travis Schlenk said Monday an agreement had been reached but the contract had not been drawn up.

As interim coach, McMillan led the Hawks to an improbable run that changed the expectations for the young team.

The Hawks were only 14-20 under former coach Lloyd Pierce, who along with Schlenk led the rebuilding effort. McMillan, 56, was named interim coach after Pierce was fired.

The Hawks responded with an immediate turnaround, including sudden success in retaining late leads that had slipped away early in the season.

The Hawks posted a 27-11 regular-season record under McMillan and earned the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

“The incredible job Nate did after taking over this season made this an easy decision,” Schlenk said. “We were able to see how gifted a tactician, motivator and leader he is first-hand and the high level of respect and trust he earned from our players made securing him as our head coach our top priority.”

The Hawks beat the New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers in the first two rounds of the playoffs before falling to the Milwaukee Bucks in six games in the Eastern Conference finals. It marked only the second time in their Atlanta history the Hawks played in the conference finals.

The Hawks suffered a key injury during the conference finals when point guard Trae Young, the team’s leading scorer, missed two games with a bone bruise in his right foot after inadvertently stepping on an official’s foot and twisting his ankle in Game 3.

McMillan joined Pierce’s staff after he was fired as Indiana’s coach. He also is a former head coach in Portland and Seattle.

McMillan played his full 12-year career with Seattle after he was the No. 30 overall pick in the 1986 NBA draft. The Sonics retired his No. 10 jersey.

McMillan became the 20th winningest coach in NBA history, passing Mike D’Antoni, when Atlanta beat Golden State on April 4. He has led Atlanta, Indiana, Portland and Seattle to a 688-599 regular-season record.

The Hawks scheduled a news conference with McMillan for Friday.

  • Associated Categories: Sports
  • Associated Tags: Atlanta Hawks
© Copyright 2022
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
McMillan looking for more success as Hawks’ full-time coach
Nate McMillan earned his deal as full-time coach of the Atlanta Hawks by leading the team to its first playoff appearance since 2017...
10:47PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Fans banned at Olympics; Tokyo under state of emergency
Fans were banned from the pandemic-postponed Tokyo Olympics which will open in two weeks, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said after meeting with IOC and Japanese organizers on Thursday...
1:16PM ( 9 hours ago )
Match Preview: Atlanta United vs. Nashville SC
Atlanta United returns to action Thursday when it travels to face Nashville SC at Nissan Stadium...
8:00AM ( 14 hours ago )
Hawks look to bright future after surprising playoff run
As the final seconds ticked off on a season that lasted far longer than anyone expected, the crowd rose to its feet to salute the home team. The Atlanta Hawks sure earned the cheers...
By Paul Newberry AP Sports Writer
2:46PM ( 4 days ago )
Bucks finish off Hawks, head to NBA Finals for 1st time since 1974
Khris Middleton scored 32 points, including a run of 16 straight in a decisive third quarter that carried the Bucks to a 118-107 victory over the upstart Atlanta Hawks in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals Saturday night...
By Paul Newberry AP Sports Writer
12:06AM ( 4 days ago )
Bucks’ Antetokounmpo out, Hawks’ Young starting in Game 6
The Atlanta Hawks had top scorer Trae Young back in their starting lineup for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals on Saturday night, when Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo sat out again...
By The Associated Press
8:15PM ( 5 days ago )
NBA East final remains in holding pattern over key injuries
It has become a familiar holding pattern in the Eastern Conference final. The wait to see who’s going to play...
By Paul Newberry AP Sports Writer
5:32PM ( 6 days ago )
Bucks beat Hawks without Giannis, take 3-2 lead
Brook Lopez scored a playoff career-high 33 points and the Milwaukee Bucks withstood Giannis Antetokounmpo’s absence to beat the Atlanta Hawks 123-112 on Thursday night for a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference finals...
By Steve Megargee AP Sports Writer
11:21PM ( 6 days ago )