On October 13, 2017, the Atlanta Hawks named Nate McMillan as the team’s interim head coach. The former NBA head coach was passed over for the permanent job in favor of Lloyd Pierce, who was once McMillan’s top assistant at the Seattle SuperSonics. McMillan was shocked when he received a call from the Hawks, but he didn’t have to be shocked for long as he got on the phone for a lengthy interview with Pierce, who he had worked under at the SuperSonics.

Nate McMillan became the Atlanta Hawks interim head coach on March 31st, and while the job is temporary, it is still a major step in his career. It’s a chance for him to show that the 30 games he’s been coaching for the Cleveland Cavaliers are not a fluke. It’s also a chance for him to prove that despite not being able to take a team to the NBA Finals, he’s not washed up. It’s a chance for him to show that he still has what it takes to coach in the NBA.

Lloyd Pierce, the coach of the Atlanta Hawks, told the press at a press conference on Monday that he had made the decision to replace Mike Budenholzer as coach of the team on Monday. The reason given was that his decision was based on Nate McMillan, who was a strong candidate and who had actually agreed to be the coach of the team. The main reason for McMillan’s decision was that he did not agree with the team’s decision to part ways with Budenholzer.. Read more about atlanta hawks coaching staff 2021 and let us know what you think.

After 34 games of the 2020-21 NBA season, probably few thought the Atlanta Hawks could reach their first NBA Finals since moving to Georgia in 1968. The team started 14-20 and, as usual, head coach Lloyd Pierce suffered the consequences and was fired. The decision on his replacement seemed easy enough: assistant Nate McMillan, who led the Indiana Pacers to the postseason in each of his four seasons as the team’s head coach before being fired himself after last season, just two weeks after his contract extension.

But here’s the thing. McMillan really didn’t want to work.

In fact, he didn’t want to come to Atlanta at all, and Pierce had to persuade him. And who ultimately convinced McMillan to accept the interim head coaching job with the Hawks? Yeah, it’s Pierce again.

Nate McMillan was fired by Indiana, two weeks after the Pacers extended his contract


McMillan, who was named head coach of the Pacers in the 2016/17 season after being an assistant head coach for three years, led Indiana to its second consecutive postseason despite all the drama surrounding the Paul George postseason trade.

But despite losing George, McMillan led the Pacers to the playoffs in each of the next three seasons, though each time they were eliminated in the first round. On the 12th. In August 2020, it was announced that McMillan and Indiana had agreed on a one-year contract extension.

But exactly two weeks later, two days after the Pacers were eliminated in Orlando by Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat, McMillan was fired.

He had to convince Lloyd Pierce to join the Atlanta Hawks

Hawks interim head coach Nate McMillan during Game 1 of the 2021 Eastern Conference semifinals between the Atlanta Hawks and Philadelphia 76ers | Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

After leaving the Pacers, McMillan had no intention of retiring, but he wasn’t opposed to taking some time off. Because since he got his first coaching job with the Seattle Supersonics in 1998, after spending a dozen years as a player with that team, his only break was a 15-month period after his stint with the Portland Trail Blazers ended and his stint with the Pacers began.

But even then, he worked as an assistant to Mike Krzyzewski on the U.S. team that won gold at the 2012 London Olympics. So a break seemed like a good idea.

But a phone call came from Pierce, laying out his vision for a young Hawks team that he felt was ready to take the next step. But McMillan was still hesitant, knowing what calls would follow if Atlanta struggled early in the season. It took some persuasion, but eventually he agreed to join Pierce’s staff, but on the condition that he would not be the executive assistant. He just wanted to come and help, do nothing else.

Pierce had to convince McMillan to become interim head coach of the Hawks when he was fired.


After starting the 2020-21 season 4-1, the Hawks suffered four consecutive defeats to get below .500 and stayed around that mark for the next month until another four-game win streak dropped their record to 11-16. Seven games later, after a loss against the Heat on the 28th. Atlanta was 14-20 in February, and Pierce doesn’t have much time left.

Since it was Pierce who convinced him to come to ATL, McMillan was not interested in replacing him. But like McMillan, it was Pierce who convinced him to take the interim head coaching job, as McMillan recently told Yahoo Sports.

They wanted to make me head coach, I needed time to think about it. I talked to Coach Pierce and he told me to accept and move on.

Nate McMillan

With Pierce’s blessing, McMillan embraced his new role and led the Hawks to incredible success. Atlanta won 27 of its last 38 games in the shortened regular season and finished with a 41-31 record, good enough for fifth place in the East. Led by Tre Young, they defeated the New York Knicks in the first round and then beat the first-place Philadelphia 76ers to reach the Conference Finals for the second time since moving to the Eastern Conference in 1970.

Even if the Hawks don’t bring the title back to Atlanta this year, it’s already a phenomenal story. And with the high probability that McMillan will be exempt from the interim tag this season, that process has only just begun.

Statistics provided by Basketball Reference

COMPARED TO: The Hawks are a forgotten team from the first Lakers era – the Celtics were the only team to beat Bill Russell’s Boston dynasty in the NBA Finals.When the Atlanta Hawks fired Scott Skiles on December 18th, many fans suspected that the new head coach would be former Orlando Magic head coach, Lloyd Pierce. However, it was not until days later that the team officially announced it had hired Pierce. That’s when General Manager Wes Wilcox broke the news to new coach Nate McMillan that he had taken on the interim job.. Read more about nate mcmillan wife and let us know what you think.

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