Hawks announce Sixers assistant Lloyd Pierce as new head coach

Jack BaerWriter

The Hawks have announced 76ers assistant Lloyd Pierce as the 13th head coach in franchise history.

The 42-year-old Pierce brings 11 years of experience as an assistant coach to the table in Atlanta, having served the last five seasons with the Sixers as the team moved from the bottom of the NBA standings to the third seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs.

“This is a day I’ve been working towards for a long time and it’s an honor to be the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks,” Pierce said in a release. “After spending time with ownership, it’s clear they have a deep investment in and commitment to making this a model organization. This opportunity is a perfect fit for me, and I’m eager to get started.”

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Who is Lloyd Pierce?

Pierce played college basketball at Santa Clara, then played four seasons internationally in Mexico, Australia, Germany and Turkey. After retiring, he took an assistant coaching job back at Santa Clara and moved up to player development jobs in the NBA. Pierce first worked as a player development coordinator for the Cavaliers from 2007 to 2010, then spent a season as an assistant coach on Mark Jackson’s Warriors team.

Pierce later moved to the Grizzlies to work as an assistant coach with a focus on player development, then landed with the Sixers in 2013 under new head coach Brett Brown.

“If a team came in and said we want to rebuild, I can’t think of a more appropriate program that has gone from where we were to where we are that has a true story to tell,” Brown said. “You look at him, he’s a young coach. He’s in great shape. He’s tremendously, sort of, connected to the league. He’s defensively oriented. It’s a no-brainer in my eyes.”

Who else was considered for the Hawks head coaching job?

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Hawks reportedly narrowed their list of candidates down to four current assistant coaches: Pierce, Blazers assistant Nate Tibbetts, Hornets assistant Stephen Silas and Celtics assistant Jay Larranaga. Pierce had reportedly emerged as the strongest contender, and clearly nothing went wrong there.

After five years as a Philadelphia assistant, Lloyd Pierce is the new head coach in Atlanta. (AP Photo)
After five years as a Philadelphia assistant, Lloyd Pierce is the new head coach in Atlanta. (AP Photo)

What situation Pierce is walking into?

Pierce replaces Mike Budenholzer, who the Hawks parted ways with this offseason after five years in Atlanta. Just three seasons after a 60-22 season that netted Budenholzer Coach of the Year honors, the Hawks finished with an Eastern Conference-worst 24-58 season.

As the Hawks start to rebuild with young pieces like center John Collins and an upcoming high draft pick, Pierce’s player development experience was clearly important to general manager Travis Schlenk.

“As we set out to find a new head coach for our team, it was critically important to find a dynamic teacher who could connect with and develop our young core while instilling the culture and high standards we feel are necessary in a successful program,” Schlenk said. “Lloyd Pierce checks every box, and we couldn’t be more excited to have him leading the Atlanta Hawks into the future.”

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