The Hawks have interviewed former Dallas Mavericks coach Avery Johnson and current Mavericks assistant coach Dwane Casey twice each, but sources with knowledge of the team’s thinking say that no decision on the job vacated by Mike Woodson is expected before next week.
Although numerous coaching sources have described Johnson and Casey as the two finalists for the position, Atlanta officials have tried to downplay that characterization, pointing to the fact that Johnson’s fellow ESPN analyst Mark Jackson was just interviewed over the weekend. One source close to the situation also insists that one of the holdovers from Woodson’s staff -- veteran assistant coach Larry Drew -- remains under consideration.
Determining who leads the race at this stage, assuming that the Hawks will ultimately choose between Johnson and Casey, isn’t much clearer. Casey has been regarded as the favorite in league coaching circles from the start, given his association with Hawks general manager Rick Sund dating to their time together in Seattle, but Johnson is said to have made a strong impression on Hawks ownership.
The likelyhood of the Hawks next head coach being one of the four guys mentioned in the article above is pretty high, but does anyone else think that the Hawks may have someone they are considering that no media source has been able to get information from? It wouldn't surprise me a bit if there is a suprise candidate that has secretly interviewed for the job.
Of the four mentioned in the article above, my personal favoritey is Dwane Casey. Avery Johnson has his flaws that worry me, but overall, I think he's a solid coach that will do a good job if his players listen to him and don't tune him out. Larry Drew intrigues me because we really don't know exactly how he would run a team if given the chance. I think too many Hawks fans feel that because he was part of Mike Woodson's staff that he would run things the same way. Jeff Shultz from the AJC made a good point about Drew in that he knows the players and has seen the effect of Mike's style on the team. I have no way to prove it, but I believe that Larry Drew would be very different than Mike Woodson. I also have a high respect for coaches who have paid their dues and deserve a chance to run their own team, which is why Mark Jackson would be the least favorite of the four mentioned above.
Just to give a shout out for him, if there is a secret candidate, then I hope it is Eric Musselman.