The Atlanta Hawks have been linked to Philadelphia 76ers assistant Lloyd Pierce, who was a collegiate teammate of NBA legend Steve Nash.
Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Pierce could receive an offer if his second interview goes well and that he is now the frontrunner for the job (via ESPN):
“Pierce will interview with Atlanta Hawks ownership about the franchise’s head coaching job, and a strong meeting will likely catapult him into a job offer.”
According to Wojnarowski, the franchise is considering Pierce, Charlotte Hornets assistant Stephen Silas and Portland Trail Blazers assistant Nate Tibbets. Another report lists Boston Celtics assistant Jim Larranaga as a finalist as well.
Tibbets reportedly met with ownership during his interview process. It’s worth noting that Silas has previous experience coaching alongside the Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk from their gig with the Golden State Warriors.
Pierce also worked with Schlenk on the Warriors. Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown points to Pierce’s experience developing young players as a pivotal reason why he can successfully transition to a head coaching role on a rebuilding team like Atlanta. He was rumored to be in the running for head coach for the Sixers in 2013.
He became a player development coordinator for the Cleveland Cavaliers when LeBron James was in his fifth year in the NBA. Pierce then served as an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors when Stephen Curry was in his second year in the league.
As a player development coordinator for the Memphis Grizzlies, he worked with Marc Gasol during his fourth year playing in the NBA as well as Mike Conley when he entered his fifth season. Like Pierce, Josh Selby was in Memphis from 2011 through 2012. He raves about the job Pierce did with the Grizzlies.
“Lloyd Pierce is the front-runner for a head coaching job?!” Selby excitedly asked. “Man, I’ve been telling people that he should be a head coach! Lloyd is one of the best trainers I’ve ever met, business-wise and personal-wise. He’s such a great all-around guy. His work ethic is through the roof. He’s so smart; he really knows the game. Lloyd is the man. I can’t even lie, I really wish I had an opportunity to work with him again or had been able to continue working with him longer throughout my career. He’s great.”
Pierce has since been an assistant for the Sixers, working with young players like Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Dario Saric, Robert Covington as well as Michael Carter-Williams when he was named the NBA’s Rookie of the Year.
He has done extensive coaching work in the summer league and has coached in the college ranks as well.