Hawks formally introduce Lloyd Pierce as new head coach

Defense - "That's who I am"

May 15, 2018

Defense – clearly the primary focus for new Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce who was formally introduced by the organization Monday. 

"If we weren't doing this press conference right now, I'd probably have these guys doing some defensive drills," Pierce said. "That's who I am."

Those words avowed in the presence of four of his new players — DeAndre Bembry, Mike Muscala, Kent Bazemore and Isaiah Taylor — who attended the news conference Monday.

"I'm excited," Bazemore said. "... Bringing in a defensive-minded guy is important because that's where championships are won. If we start there, I believe everything else will fall into place."

Pierce, the former Philadelphia 76ers assistant now in his first head coaching position, also emphasized the importance of building relationships and establishing credibility. He said his first priority is to assemble a staff. Pierce will be looking for assistants who share his passion for defense and his proven ability to connect with young players.

A young Atlanta roster is about to add more youth in next month's NBA draft. The Hawks have three first-round picks and hope to land the No. 1 overall pick in Tuesday's NBA draft lottery.

Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk said Pierce's passion and ability to connect with guys immediately “jumped off the page” during the interview process. 

“He’s such a personable guy, such a passionate guy, and that’s extremely important as we look to build great young players - but also, great young people in the community of Atlanta,” stated Schlenk. 

Hawks chief executive officer (CEO) Steve Koonin was present for the news conference and says Pierce is exactly the kind of person he’d want representing the organization. Koonin also says its time for fans to trust the process. 

“We hired the architect from golden state and the assistant from Philadelphia who both rebuilt their teams to what looks like dynasties potentially in the future,” said Koonin. “The blue print is here. I think we’re right on the path.”

Pierce worked as an assistant with Cleveland, Golden State and Memphis before his tenure with Philadelphia. 

Pierce, 42, fills the position left vacant when the Hawks and former coach Mike Budenholzer mutually agreed to part ways last month.