Lloyd Pierce Rumors
The Hawks have reached an agreement with Melvin Hunt to join head coach Lloyd Pierce’s staff as an assistant, according to a person with knowledge of the deal. The hiring is expected to become official later Tuesday. Hunt will be the first assistant coach to be hired for Pierce’s staff since he was named Hawks head coach on May 11.
Q. We’ve heard that you oversaw the defense under Brett Brown in Philadelphia. What were your responsibilities? Lloyd Pierce: Everything. And I say that with humility. Brett empowered me to run our defense. I’m not taking credit from a selfish standpoint. He presented the opportunity to me I think three years ago and said I want to make you the single voice. I am going to rely on that to make the decisions, the executive decisions of what we do in-game and how we prepare. It was more of his empowerment than me leading. But he gave me full autonomy on what we were going to do on the defensive end whether it’s the drills, the game plan — I game-planned for all 82 games — the concepts and kind of creating that defensive culture. It’s been a huge responsibility. I don’t know how many assistant coaches in the league have had that responsibility to cover the entire defense and all 82 game preps. That was the role.
Q. This past season part of Philadelphia’s defensive profile was to force a lot of mid-range shots (only two teams forced opponents to take a higher frequency, according to Cleaning the Glass). How did you go about doing that? Lloyd Pierce: A lot of it is relying on who you have on the floor and trying to play to those guys’ strengths. The obvious (key) is Joel (Embiid) and his ability individually to protect the rim just with his size, his instincts, his defensive mindset. When you know that is your anchor and you have a backbone that’s out there, in a lot of ways we had the ability to get up and pressure the basketball more and funnel it to Joel and his rim percentage defense. I think we finished the season as the No. 1 field-goal percentage defense. Knowing we have an anchor it allows you to get up and pressure. Pressure takes you off the 3-point line, it funnels you down to the rim or it funnels you into a position where you have to settle for some of those mid-range shots. We use his and Amir Johnson’s ability to rim to be great presenters. They were always great position guys. It’s not about just blocking shots. It’s more about the positioning. That allowed us to play a little more confidently on the perimeter.
At the start of his first news conference as the Atlanta Hawks coach, Lloyd Pierce looked down at a row filled with four of his new players. His thoughts immediately turned to his passion: Defense. ”If we weren’t doing this press conference right now, I’d probably have these guys doing some defensive drills,” Pierce said Monday. ”That’s who I am.”
“If you don’t have a relationship with players, it’s not going to work.” Lloyd Pierce on what he finds works best for getting players to buy into their development.