Brooklyn terminated head coach Kenny Atkinson on Saturday morning. He’s now a prime candidate to lead the New York Knicks next season.
Kenny Atkinson was in the midst of his fourth season as coach of the Brooklyn when he was unceremoniously dumped on Saturday morning. He had previously spent some time with other teams around the league, including four years as an assistant coach for the New York Knicks.
With the growing possibility of interim coach Mike Miller not returning next year, Atkinson could represent the perfect coach for the Knicks’ young core. Here’s why.
Atkinson has prioritized three-point shooting more than anything else throughout his Nets tenure. His teams have finished among the top five in three-point attempts in each of the past four seasons. Over that same time period, the New York Knicks have never finished better than 22nd.
Eliminating the inefficient mid-range jumper is also a staple of Atkinson’s system. Since he took over as Brooklyn’s head coach in 2016, the Nets have taken the second-lowest amount of mid-range shots in the league. They only trail the James Harden-led Houston Rockets.
As for the Knicks, they continue to shoot them despite not having the personnel to hit those shots consistently. Since 2016, the Knicks have led the league in mid-range attempts twice. They currently take the 6th most attempts.
The Nets have had a great track record of player development despite the absence of lottery picks. They’ve taken on reclamation projects like Joe Harris and Spencer Dinwiddie while also capitalizing on late first-round draft picks such as Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert.
The Knicks have a solid young core of R.J. Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, and Frank Ntilikina. While Dennis Smith Jr. and Kevin Knox have struggled, they still have lots of potential and Atkinson could help them realize it. With seven first-round picks over the next four years, the Knicks need to hire a coach who has a track record of developing young talent.
More from New York Knicks
- New York Knicks Fall to Eighth After NBA Draft Lottery
- New York Knicks: Players to Draft in Worst-Case Lottery Scenario
- New York Knicks: Three Players Who Should Thrive Under Tom Thibodeau
- Is Devin Booker to the New York Knicks Realistic?
- New York Knicks: Tom Thibodeau Officially Hired as Head Coach
Kenny Atkinson is represented by the Creative Artists Agency or CAA. This is the same agency that New York Knicks president Leon Rose was an agent for. He still has connections with many CAA clients.
While this doesn’t confirm anything, it’s clear that Rose has an affinity for people represented by his former agency. This was clear earlier this week when rumors spread regarding the Knicks looking to potentially trade for Chris Paul. Paul is a CAA client. As is Carmelo Anthony who has also been rumored on his way to MSG next season.
The New York Knicks have a busy offseason ahead of them, with numerous decisions regarding the front office just as much as the roster. As for a new head coach, Kenny Atkinson should be one of the top candidates.