Brooklyn has found their man. Equipped with plenty of basketball experience and a New York pedigree, Kenny Atkinson was named the head coach of the Nets on Sunday. Following their worst season in franchise history, now all of Kings County can breathe a sigh of relief.
In his press release, GM Sean Marks mentioned his excitement about making Atkinson the 21st head coach in franchise history.
“We are thrilled to announce Kenny Atkinson as our new head coach and to welcome him and his family to Brooklyn,” said Nets General Manager Sean Marks, in naming the 21st head coach in the franchise’s history. “Kenny’s years of NBA coaching experience working under successful head coaches such as Mike Budenholzer and Mike D’Antoni have provided him with the foundation and experience we were looking for in a head coach. We believe that Kenny’s core principles, leadership, communication skills and exceptional background in player development make him an ideal fit for the culture we are building in Brooklyn.”
Atkinson hails from Long Island, where he grew up in Huntington. After attending Saint Anthony’s High School, he played his college ball at Richmond. Then, for more than a decade Atkinson played professionally which took him from playing in the CBA in Texas to playing in Italy and also the Netherlands. Since 2008 Atkinson had worked as an assistant with the Knicks and the Hawks.
While the Long Island native might not generate the same excitement as a John Calipari or say a Tom Thibadeu, aka Thibs, Atkinson had shown enough promise to Sean Marks that he is up to the task.
This summer, the Nets have about $40 million in cap space that they can spend. Unfortunately, they cannot upgrade through the draft since they do not have a pick. Rebuilding this organization is not going to be easy for Sean Marks. However, now that he has has found his coach, fans are hoping that the nets horizon has brighter days ahead.
In his statement, Atkinson said that he was ecstatic about his first head coaching opportunity.
“I am truly honored and humbled to be named the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, and I would like to thank Nets’ ownership and management for this tremendous opportunity,” said Atkinson. “Together with Sean and his staff, we look forward to building a winning tradition here in Brooklyn. I also want to acknowledge and thank Mike Budenholzer and the entire Atlanta Hawks organization for their cooperation and support throughout this process. While I am eager to begin working with the Nets, I remain committed to my coaching responsibilities with the Hawks for the remainder of the postseason.”
As he mentioned in his statement, Atkinson will stay with the Atlanta Hawks as they fight their way through the Eastern Conference Playoffs. Currently, the Hawks are up 1-0 over the Boston Celtics. Game 2 will be in Atlanta on Tuesday night.