What makes this firing shocking news is the fact that Nets were praised all offseason about having a good culture which attracted superstars such as KD and Kyrie. Durant went out of his way to praise Atkinson for his coaching job and mentioned Atkinson was one of the reasons that he chose to sign with Brooklyn.
With the playoffs right around the corner, it was a perplexing decision by the Nets front office to make. If things weren’t working out between the Nets and Atkinson, it would have been prudent to wait until the offseason to make a coaching change. Now it will be up to Vaughn to lead the Nets into the playoffs.
Atkinson will definitely be one of the top coaching candidates this summer based on his development of the Nets and his implementation of the new guard system that’s used throughout most of the NBA. I would expect him to be one of the first coaches to get hired this offseason because there are plenty of teams that need a good head coach.
The Nets will try to turn things around next year. They were on a solid track to success before the signing of their big free agents. Whether or not they on track to be a championship-contending team prior to their signings is debatable. But last year’s team was definitely more enjoyable and fun-loving to watch than the current version.