SAN FRANCISCO — Some beautiful information broke about Kenny Atkinson within the champagne-soaked hours between the Warriors’ title-sealing win in Boston final week and their championship parade by the streets of this metropolis.
Through the Finals, Atkinson had reportedly agreed to turn out to be the Charlotte Hornets’ new head coach. Shortly after the Warriors clinched their fourth title in eight years, Atkinson reversed course. He was staying in Golden State as an assistant coach on Steve Kerr’s employees, sliding as much as fill affiliate head coach Mike Brown’s seat after his departure to educate the Kings.
Why did Atkinson, the previous head coach with the Brooklyn Nets, resolve to remain? Kerr shared his ideas of him,
“We’re in an incredible place, we bought nice gamers, we reside in a wonderful a part of the nation, Kenny’s bought two children, youngsters who actually wished to remain, and I believe it is a actually tough factor to attempt to take a job in the course of the Finals with out actually getting an opportunity to unwind,” Kerr mentioned on the championship parade to NBC Sports activities Bay Space.
“I am glad that Kenny trusted his intestine, and hopefully Charlotte finally ends up with an incredible coach and all people strikes ahead. We’re fortunate to have him again, particularly Mike Brown, I want Kenny, and I am thrilled he is again.”
As well as, stories point out the Hornets and Atkinson reached an deadlock on bringing in his employees of assistants. Nonetheless, the Warriors are completely happy to have Atkinson again as a prime assistant. Kerr mentioned he “wants” Atkinson, a conduit between the Golden State’s rising analytics division and Kerr himself.
“He is very analytically pushed, and I believe the actual with analytics is the way you apply it to the court docket, and it’s important to kind of determine methods to course of data and the way it can translate to profitable basketball video games,” Kerr mentioned at Wednesday’s pre -draft press convention.
“It is not a straightforward factor to do. There’s so many numbers, and Kenny is among the uncommon coaches who actually has an incredible really feel for the numbers and the way these numbers translate.”
Atkinson has additionally been concerned in serving to develop rookie Jonathan Kuminga, Kerr mentioned. However a shift towards analytics-based teaching powered components of the Warriors’ regular-season run.
Andrew Wiggins’ embrace of catch-and-shoot offense, for instance, was fueled by knowledge that confirmed he was simplest taking extra 3-pointers than he had in seasons previous with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Paired along with his robust protection, Wiggins shot practically 40% from 3 this season, turned an All-Star starter and placed on the efficiency of a lifetime within the playoffs — formally breaking freed from the No. 1 choose “bust” label.
The Warriors’ teaching employees boasts a handful of analytics-focused minds equivalent to Jama Mahlalela, who labored carefully with Wiggins. Atkinson, like Mahalela, joined the Warriors previous to this season — maintaining them each will assist the Warriors and Kerr lean extra into the numbers.
Basic supervisor Bob Myers mentioned a training employees shift gave the Warriors a “completely different manner of issues” this 12 months.
“We had a fairly homogenous group they usually stayed collectively for fairly a while, new voices, somebody that is been in a number of organizations. I’ve solely ever labored right here, so has Steve,” Myers mentioned. “The folks we have introduced in have labored somewhere else. That is actually worthwhile for folks like us who’ve simply seen what this (group) seems like.”
Atkinson coached the Nets in 2019 to their first playoff berth since 2015 and stepped down midseason after Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving joined the group. After a 12 months with the Los Angeles Clippers, the Warriors introduced him on, in search of the robust outdoors perspective a former head coach can present.
“We do not do the whole lot completely, so it is at all times good to seek out somebody like Kenny who was a head coach however coached in lots of different locations beneath some good coaches and approaches issues in another way,” Myers mentioned. “I believe we realized after we employed him final 12 months we would have liked some new voices, and Kenny shouldn’t be reticent, so he’ll say what’s on his thoughts, and we worth that.”