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76ers assistant Lloyd Pierce addresses candidacy for Atlanta Hawks head coaching position

On-the-record comments from the reported front-runner

NBA: Summer League-Philadelphia 76ers vs Golden State Warriors Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks have reportedly established finalists to fill their head coaching vacancy and at least one report indicates that Philadelphia 76ers assistant Lloyd Pierce is something of a front-runner for the position. With that in mind, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer caught up with the 41-year-old assistant on Wednesday, just one day after Pierce met with Hawks brass about the opening.

The full report is worth a read for context but Pierce reportedly sees himself as a strong match for the vacancy and part of that centers on player development.

“The main reason is just looking at their young players. They got four guys in the draft. They’ve got a couple of young players that are on their roster. So what’s most important when you are dealing with young players and young talent, it’s the development and relational side of that.

“It’s kind of my track record. It’s anybody’s track record of how do you communicate, how do you work with players, how do you develop, what does that mean?”

Pierce also reportedly described “some similarities” between what the Hawks are trying to accomplish with their rebuilding project and what the Sixers were able to do with their much-ballyhooed process under Sam Hinkie and Brett Brown. Beyond that, though, he cited a potential “advantage” in his ability to potentially marry player development to future success and that would be the formula Atlanta is likely seeking in its next head coach.

At this point, Celtics assistant Jay Larranaga, Hornets assistant Stephen Silas and Blazers assistant Nate Tibbetts stand as the reported competition for Pierce (via Michael Cunningham of the AJC) but these are the first on-the-record comments from a candidate to this point. The Sixers are, of course, still in action in the playoffs with Game 5 slated for Wednesday evening but, at this point, Atlanta’s coaching search seems to be in the final stages and he is firmly in the mix.

Stay tuned.