Lloyd Pierce has drawn rave reviews for his work since arriving to be the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks prior to the 2018-19 season. The 42-year-old made a strong impression, both relationally and tactically, during his first campaign as an NBA head coach and, with that as the backdrop, word broke on Monday afternoon that Pierce was named to the USA Basketball Men’s National Team coaching staff.
“It’s an honor to receive this opportunity to represent our country and to work with such great coaches and staff,” said Pierce. “My family and I are excited about and committed to enjoying this journey.”
Pierce replaces Indiana Pacers head coach Nate McMillian, who withdrew because of scheduling conflicts, and he joins head coach Gregg Popovich (San Antonio Spurs) and assistant coaches Steve Kerr (Golden State Warriors) and Jay Wright (Villanova) on the bench. Pierce’s commitment will be for the 2019-20 “season” for the USA National Team, including the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China (Aug. 31 through Sept. 15, 2019) and the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan (July 24 through Aug. 9), with the team opening its pre-World Cup training on Aug. 5 in Las Vegas.
“Lloyd was an assistant coach at Philadelphia during the time I was serving there, and I got to know him,” said Jerry Colangelo, managing director of USA Basketball Men’s National Team program since 2005. “He has made great progression in his coaching career with stops at Cleveland, Golden State and Memphis, and then in Philadelphia before landing the head coaching job with the Hawks last year. He has demonstrated the ability in particular to be an outstanding defensive coach. Also, it was evident during our time together in Philadelphia that he was a strong leader, players respected him a great deal. I think we’re fortunate to have someone of his abilities. I think he’s really a good addition.”
By all accounts, this opportunity would provide tremendous experience for Pierce. From the perspective of the Hawks, it also isn’t a bad thing that the young, energetic head coach will be mingling with the best players on the planet over the next several months.