Kenny Atkinson out as head coach
In a rather surprising development, the Brooklyn Nets and head coach Kenny Atkinson have parted ways, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times. Jacque Vaughn will take over in an interim role for the remainder of the season.
“After discussions with Kenny about the progress of the season, we mutually agreed that a coaching change would be in the best interest of the team,” Nets general manager Sean Marks said in a statement. “This was an extremely difficult decision, however the organization believes it is one that is necessary at this time.”
This decision certainly came out of left field.
By all accounts, Atkinson has been doing a fine job with the Nets since taking over as head coach for the 2016-17 campaign. He went 20-62 in his first season and improved to 28-54 in 2017-18 before leading Brooklyn to a surprising playoff appearance last season, spearheading a 42-win campaign.
The Nets are 28-34 thus far this season.
However, the Nets knew going into the 2019-20 campaign that Durant would be out while recovering from a torn Achilles, and Irving was in and out of the lineup due to injuries before being knocked out for the remainder of the year as a result of a shoulder issue that required surgery. Irving played in just 20 games.
It’s hard to see how any of that is Atkinson’s fault, but apparently, the Nets feel that going in a different direction is necessary.