After suffering an embarrassing 23-point loss to the lowly New York Knicks on Tuesday night and falling to dead last in the conference standings, Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce is not on the hot seat, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The young Hawks gave up 143 points to a Knicks team with the worst shooting percentage in the league at 37.7, and Atlanta is now 6-22.
Star point guard Trae Young called it the lowest point of the season.
The Hawks’ second-best player, forward John Collins, who is set to return next week from a 25-game suspension for violating the terms of the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program, is one of the primary factors in the organization remaining patient with Pierce.
Collins’ absence and other injuries have forced Vince Carter, a 42-year-old former All-Star playing in a record 22nd NBA season, to have his minutes overextended.
Frustration in the locker room has been building for some time as teammates have complained to each other about selfishness, not putting in the necessary work to turn things around and players not being held accountable, sources told Yahoo Sports.
A true vocal leader who commands the respect of his peers is missing from the roster, sources said.
Pierce is in his second season as head coach and his arrival came with plenty of fanfare for his previous roles in player development and relationship building with other franchises.
But there is work that needs to be done to strengthen the connection with a few significant players, sources said.
No one expected the Hawks to be playoff contenders this season with rookies De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish. But still, the team has underperformed.
Collins will be reinserted into the lineup on Monday against the Cleveland Cavaliers. If the Hawks’ play and attitude continue to erode, the heat on Pierce will start to rise.
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