Trail Blazers

Former Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan accepts offer to be Hawks interim coach

Trail Blazers

The Atlanta Hawks parted ways with their head coach Lloyd Pierce on Monday afternoon. And to replace him on an interim basis, they have promoted a familiar face.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, long-time NBA coach Nate McMillan will be the interim coach for the Hawks. McMillan's decision to take the interim job came with Pierce's blessing.

Getting that endorsement from Pierce was critical for McMillan, who was described as "fiercely loyal" to Pierce by Wojnarowski. Now, McMillan will move on to coach his fourth different NBA franchise.

McMillan, of course, was the coach of the Portland Trail Blazers for seven seasons from 2005-2012. During his time with the team, he compiled a 266-269 record. His best season came in the '08-'09 campaign when he and LaMarcus Aldridge led the Blazers to a 54-28 record and the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference. 

From there, McMillan would take the Blazers to the playoffs three straight times. In each of those years, the Blazers were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs in a 4-2 series loss. He was fired midway through the '11-'12 season ahead of the final year of his contract. At the time of his firing, the Blazers had a 20-23 record.

In his most recent coaching stop, McMillan spent four years with the Indiana Pacers. He compiled a 183-136 record there, but as his teams did in Portland, the Pacers sputtered in the playoffs. They logged a 3-16 record in the postseason and failed to advance out of the first round in four consecutive appearances.

 

McMillan will look to turn around the 14-20 Hawks and get them to the postseason in the wide-open Eastern Conference. It will be interesting to see if he can get the team there.

And if he does, it will be even more interesting to see if McMillan can shake the postseason issues that have dogged him for most of his NBA coaching career.