Trae Young, John Collins and the Atlanta Hawks exceeded expectations with a deep run in the 2021 playoffs, and head coach Nate McMillan deserves a ton of credit for that.
While the Hawks’ Cinderella run ended in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals, no one can deny the massive change they have undergone since McMillan took over as interim coach when Lloyd Pierce was fired. After all, no one expected them to get out of the first round of the postseason–let alone reach the conference finals.
However, with McMillan’s guidance, they finished the 2020-21 campaign with the fifth-best record in the East with a 41-31 record. They went on to take down the New York Knicks and the top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers in the postseason before taking the Bucks all the way to six games.
With the success they had under McMillan, Collins expects the franchise to bring back the coach and remove his interim label.
“I would expect it to be a major shock if we didn’t see Nate back as coach of the Atlanta Hawks next year. I would definitely be extremely surprised,” Collins said after Saturday’s Game 6 loss, per Michael Scotto of Hoops Hype.
Trae Young certainly feels the same way as John Collins when it comes to Nate McMillan. After all, he was fully unleashed and his play with his teammates only developed under the 56-year-old tactician,
With that said, it will be an easy decision for the Hawks to hire McMillan as their permanent head coach. As Collins said it, there is just no reason they won’t do it with the kind of success they had.
The Hawks can build from their latest playoffs run, but in order to do so, they need McMillan to steer the ship.