Report: Atlanta Hawks came to conclusion that players had ‘fully tuned out’ Nate McMillan

Jonathan Sherman
3 Min Read
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks made a big move on Tuesday when they fired coach Nate McMillan, and as the dust settles on the the move, more information is starting to come out.

According to a recent report, the team’s leadership came to the conclusion that Atlanta’s players had “fully tuned out” their coach.

Though the timing of McMillan’s firing is perhaps somewhat surprising, it definitely is not a shock that the organization decided it was time to move on.

The Hawks overachieved when he was promoted from assistant coach to head coach during the 2020-21 season, as they went all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals before losing 4-2 to the eventual champion Milwaukee Bucks.

Since then, things have been rather disappointing for the franchise. The team lost in the first round of the playoffs last season at the hands of the Miami Heat.

This season, the Hawks are at risk of missing the postseason entirely. Though they currently sit at the No. 8 seed with a record of 29-30 on the season, they own just a one-game lead over the No. 10 seed, the final seed to advance to the play-in tournament.

If they stumble down the stretch, teams like the Chicago Bulls or Indiana Pacers could end up leapfrogging them for one of those final spots.

Even if the Hawks do end up making the postseason, there is no real expectation for them to make any serious noise in the playoffs.

The issues that the Hawks have dealt with this season can’t all be put on McMillan’s shoulders, but it is clear that he was not leading the team in an effective way.

Now, Joe Prunty has taken over as interim head coach. Hawks general manager Landry Fields is expected to get started on the search for the team’s next head coach immediately, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Surely, Prunty could improve his chances of earning the position going forward by leading the team to the playoffs. However, it’s unclear how likely that is at the moment. The Hawks will resume their campaign following the All-Star break with a game against the surging Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday.

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Jonathan has worked as a sports writer covering NBA and NFL news since 2017. He's a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers and Minnesota Vikings.