The Atlanta Hawks have fired third-year head coach Lloyd Pierce.
Atlanta is 14-20 straight up and 16-18 against the spread. Pierce’s tenure ends with a 63-120 record.
However, Pierce can’t really be judged on his first two seasons when the organization was rebuilding and clearing up salary-cap space.
Atlanta made a slew of offseason moves coming into this year, acquiring the likes of veterans Danilo Gallinari, Rajon Rondo, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Solomon Hill, Tony Snell and Kris Dunn. But injuries have been a major issue for this team, with Cam Reddish, Rondo, Gallinari, Snell and Bogdanovic missing a significant number of games. In fact, Dunn hasn’t even made his season debut yet due to an ankle injury.
Worst of all, second-year forward De’Andre Hunter has missed the last 15 games. Atlanta has lost 11 of those 15 games.
Hunter was averaging 17.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. He’s expected to return at some point later this month after undergoing knee surgery last month.
Can you make a valid argument that Pierce deserved a longer rope based on the lack of personnel in his first two seasons and this year’s injuries? Of course.
With that said, Atlanta has allowed 11 fourth-quarter leads to get away in losses this season. Furthermore, top assistant Nate McMillan is way more qualified than Pierce.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted in the last hour that McMillan will be the club’s choice to become the interim head coach if he decides to accept the gig. ‘Woj’ noted that McMillan has been fiercely loyal to Pierce.
Atlanta is currently in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, but it is just 2.5 games back of the Hornets for the eighth seed. The Hawks are only 3.5 games back of the Knicks for the fourth seed.
In other news for the Hawks, Bogdanovic is ‘questionable’ for Tuesday’s game at Miami. Bogdanovic hasn’t played since Jan. 9. Reddish will miss his fifth consecutive game with an Achilles’ issue.
The Heat beat Atlanta 109-99 last night as a 2.5-point home favorite. The ‘under’ cashed, but the ‘over’ is on a 10-2 run for the Hawks in their last 12 games.