The New York Knicks will be in the market for a head coach this summer and a big name just entered the mix. Should the New York Knicks make a run at Kenny Atkinson?
Today the Brooklyn Nets and head coach Kenny Atkinson have decided to part ways. The move has shocked the league after Atkinson’s success in Brooklyn. Could Leon Rose and the New York Knicks make a run a recently released coach?
Currently, the Brooklyn Nets hold the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference with a 5 game lead over 9th placed Washington Wizards. The team is coming off a 139-120 victory over the San Antonio Spurs where 8 players finished with 12 or more points.
Despite the Net’s two best players out with injury, the team has still been able to succeed. The timing makes the Net’s decision to part ways with Atkinson more surprising.
Through his first three seasons in Brooklyn the New York native proved his ability to turn a franchise around. Atkinson took over the Nets when the team was at its lowest, and slowly improved the team from 20 to 28 to 42 wins and taking the team to the playoffs before being knocked out by Joel “Do A 180” Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers last season.
In 2014 the Brooklyn Nets made one of the worst trades in NBA history, acquiring Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry to the Nets for Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, Tornike Shengelia, Reggie Evans, Keith Bogans and unprotected first-rounders in 2014, 2016 and 2018.
The team was able to recover very quickly from that trade and turned around a very, very bad situation. Kenny Atkinson played an instrumental role in that turnaround. A culture-building, well-respected head coach is exactly what the New York Knicks need.
Any team with a head coaching vacancy will have interest in Atkinson, but the Knicks should have a few advantages. I mentioned before that Atkinson is a New York native, so he could be inclined to accept a job from his hometown team.
Second, there is no chance Atkinson wouldn’t want the opportunity to rebuild another franchise just a subway ride away from his prior employer. The New York Knicks do have some appealing pieces as well. With young stars in Mitchell Robinson and RJ Barrett, a treasure trove of draft picks and future cap space, the Knicks are finally heading in the right direction. Now they just need a head coach to run it all.
Since taking over the Knicks 22 games in the season, Mike Miller has led the team to a 15-26 record. The team has clearly been better than when David Fizdale held the whiteboard, but I don’t believe it’ll be enough for Leon Rose to hand him the job full-time. I hope they find a way to keep Miller and his staff still with the team after this seasons success.
With all things considered should the New York Knicks make a run at Kenny Atkinson? My answer is absolutely. Atkinson would be the perfect coach for the Knicks due to his past success with player development and improving team culture with the Brooklyn Nets. He also has the big name appeal that will please team owner James Dolan.