Hawks’ McMillan: ‘I believe what we accomplished this season is just the beginning of what we can achieve’

The Atlanta Hawks named Nate McMillan as full-time head coach, the team announced Thursday.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, it’s a four-year deal. 

Named Atlanta’s interim head coach on March 1, 2021, McMillan, 56, led the Hawks to a 27-11 (.711) record over the remainder of the regular season, winning his first eight contests. Including postseason games, the Hawks recorded a 37-19 mark (.661) under McMillan’s guidance.

After leading the club to the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, McMillan and the Hawks topped the fourth-seeded New York Knicks in the First Round, 4-1, and took out the top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers in the Conference Semifinals, 4-3. The Hawks reached the Eastern Conference Finals for the second time in Atlanta history before falling to the Milwaukee Bucks in six games.

McMillan became the third coach in the last 40 years to lead his team to the Conference Finals after taking over in-season (Pat Riley twice, ’82 Lakers and ’06 Heat; Tyronn Lue, ’16 Cavaliers).

“I am truly blessed to be able to lead this special group into the future,” McMillan said. “I believe what we accomplished this season is just the beginning of what we can achieve if we stay connected and committed to each other.”

Including his time as head coach with Seattle (2000-05), Portland (2005-12), Indiana (2016-20), and the Hawks, McMillan has led his teams to a 688-599 (.535) mark in 1,287 regular-season games. He also has 71 games of postseason head coaching experience.

The future is bright in Atlanta with Trae Young, and all the other young talent on this roster. However, next season won’t be easy, especially when you look at the landscape of the Eastern Conference. Milwaukee, Brooklyn, and Philadelphia are still probably better than the Hawks, but maybe things will be different if the young guys can grow.

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