Hawks: Lloyd Pierce gets a pass…For now

Atlanta Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce confers with Trae Young during the first half of the team’s NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons on Monday, Dec. 28, 2020, in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

Feb. 26, 2021 –
680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – I’ll give Lloyd Pierce a pass… For now

A lot of us had hoped that the Hawks would be better than 13-18 at this point of the season. 

The calls for the organization to move on from Lloyd Pierce as head coach and turn over to Nate McMillan have been heard at times. I’ve even been one of those voices. 

Hawks: Lloyd Pierce gets a pass…For now

I will give credit to Matt Chernoff (don’t tell him) for pointing out that Lloyd at times is not coaching the team that he believed he would this season. He’s dealt with injuries to Rajon Rondo, Bogdan Bogdanovich, DeAndre Hunter, Cam Reddish and early on Danilo Gallinari. 

The last player has seen the most court time out of all the players mentioned in that last paragraph. He needs to step it up on the offensive end. There’s no other way to say it. 

Through 20 games this season, “Gallo” is averaging 11.8 points and shooting 40.9 percent from the field. It is his lowest point average of his career. The 38 point, with 10 made three pointers against the Celtics (franchise game record) was by far the brightest part of his 2020-2021 season. 

Gallinari has to be more consistent. He’s had double-digit scoring games this season. But, he’s only done it in back-to-back games four times this season. That has to improve, if the Hawks are going to reach the Eastern Conference playoffs. 

Players like Danilo Gallinari having offensive inconsistencies are not necessarily to blame on Pierce. You brought him in to be offensive support for Trae Young and John Collins. He’s supposed to be one of your “adults” as Carlos Medina said before the season. 

Yes, you’d like to see Trae take that next step as a dominant player in the NBA. Maybe he’s just not that player? It’s possible. Not everyone can be Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Michael Jordan or Larry Bird. No, I’m not comparing him to them. 

But, he does need to have that performance where you say the Hawks won that game, because Trae took over and willed them to that win. 

General Manager Travis Schlenk made the moves needed to make sure this team reach the playoffs. The good news is, they still have room to work on reaching that goal. I don’t think anyone would argue that this team has played anywhere close to their best basketball. 

Perhaps the All-Star break next week is coming at the right time. Take a few days off, regroup and come back ready for the stretch run of the season. 

If this team wants to reach the playoffs, they have to weather the tough times of the year. Should they fall flat of that, then let’s talk about the future of this organization from the coaching perspective. For now, Lloyd Pierce deserves a shot at getting them there. Let’s see what he can do with it.

Dan Mathews

Chuck Oliver Show – Anchor/Fill-In Host 
WCNN-AM 680 The Fan, also on FM at 93.7

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