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Kenny Atkinson agrees to take over as Charlotte Hornets head coach: report
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Kenny Atkinson, assistant coach of the Golden State Warriors, looks set to become the head coach of the Charlotte Hornets. /CFP

Kenny Atkinson, assistant coach of the Golden State Warriors, looks set to become the head coach of the Charlotte Hornets. /CFP

The Charlotte Hornets have reached an agreement with Kenny Atkinson, assistant coach of the Golden State Warriors, over a four-year contract that will make Atkinson the new head coach of the Hornets, ESPN reported on Friday.

Atkinson beat Mike D'Antoni in the final contest for the job. Both had two meetings with the Hornets and talked to general manager Mitch Kupchak as well as team owner Michael Jordan.

Judging by the coaching style of the two candidates, it's not hard to assume that the Hornets will continue to go fast with small-ball squads in the 2022-23 season. The team averaged 115.3 points (fourth in the league) in 100 possessions (sixth in the league) with an offensive rating of 114.1 (ninth in the league).

LaMelo Ball (#2) of the Charlotte Hornets drives toward the rim against the Washington Wizards at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, April 10, 2022. /CFP

LaMelo Ball (#2) of the Charlotte Hornets drives toward the rim against the Washington Wizards at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, April 10, 2022. /CFP

Hornets' young ace LaMelo Ball scored 20.1 points, 6.7 rebounds and 7.6 assists per game last NBA season. He was joined by Terry Rozier III in the backcourt to run offense. Though 2.11-meter-tall center Mason Plumlee started each of the 73 games he played, he was given less than 25 minutes on average. The Hornets chose to trust their forwards more during clutch time.

Miles Bridges, P.J. Washington, Gordon Hayward (before injury), Kelly Oubre Jr. and Cody Martin joined Ball and Rozier to make the Hornets one of the season's fastest franchises.

The cost of going small included allowing 114.9 points (sixth worst in the league), a defensive rating of 113.7 (ninth worst) and the team's 43-39 record, which ranked them 10th in the Eastern Conference. The Hornets lost to the Atlanta Hawks 132-102 in the play-in tournament game, failing to reach the playoffs.

Kenny Atkinson (L), head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, talks to his player Jarrett Allen in the NBA game against the Toronto Raptors at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn borough, New York City, New York, January 4, 2020. /CFP

Kenny Atkinson (L), head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, talks to his player Jarrett Allen in the NBA game against the Toronto Raptors at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn borough, New York City, New York, January 4, 2020. /CFP

Though Atkinson spent most of his coaching career assisting others in different teams including the New York Knicks, Hawks and Warriors, he worked as the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets between 2016 and 2020. It took him two seasons to turn a fully rebuilding franchise into a playoff team, which was impressive.

The Hornets haven't made the post season for six straight seasons, the longest drought in franchise history and the second-longest among all active teams. Only the Sacramento Kings have done worse.

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