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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Kenny Atkinson Is The Right Coach For Jordan’s Young Hornets

  • Charlotte has the longest active streak in the NBA without a playoff series win (18 seasons).
  • Atkinson transformed a 20-win Nets team to a 42-win team in two seasons.
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Jordan’s on-court dominance has yet to translate to his career as an NBA owner, but hiring head coach Kenny Atkinson was a big step in the right direction. 

Charlotte has missed the last six playoffs and hasn’t won a series for 18 straight seasons — tying the Kings and Timberwolves for longest active streak — but with potential superstar LaMelo Ball and plenty of cap room, Jordan has arguably never been in a better position to succeed.

Enter Atkinson, who brings 16 years of experience and a reputation for maximizing talent, most notably for a Nets team with few draft picks and a deceptively low payroll.

  • He improved the Nets’ record from 20 to 42 wins within two seasons, getting them back into the playoffs in 2019.
  • The 42-win Nets had the 17th-highest payroll in the NBA ($118.9M) — but allotted $40M of it to players who played no more than 12 games.
  • He’s credited with developing young players such as Jarrett Allen, Joe Harris, D’Angelo Russell, and Caris LeVert.

The Hornets have $109 million on the books for the 2022-23 season — 10th-lowest in the NBA — but Jordan isn’t known for big spending. 

The 2016-17 campaign’s $103 million payroll was the only Jordan team to rank in the top 10 since he bought the team in 2010.

But if Atkinson can unleash the most out of Hornet cornerstones like Ball, Miles Bridges, and Terry Rozier, His Airness’ front-office career might finally take flight.

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