Now that the Knicks have introduced Jeff Hornacek as their new coach, all 30 NBA teams have a coach ... and 11 of them will be new next season. So CBS Sports thought they should rank them ... and they did.
There seems to be a contradiction, though, in their ranking of Kenny Atkinson as the ninth best hire. There's no argument that the 48-year-old career assistant with the Rockets, Knicks and Hawks has never done the big before (and as we've noted, not a lot of the front office hires have). But Ananth Pandian of CBS thinks that a development guru is just what the Nets --with their lack of picks-- need.
Here's his assessment... based on "their previous track record and what they bring to their new team."
Atkinson may be the biggest unknown out of all of the coaching hires. But that isn't a bad thing.
Atkinson has never been a head coach before but he has plenty of experience, especially from the player development side of things. He was director of player development for the Rockets in 2007 and then became an assistant with Mike D'Antoni in New York and the lead assistant with Mike Budenholzer in Atlanta.
A player development-focused coach like Atkinson is exactly what the Nets need though. New GM Sean Marks has taken a more long-term approach to rebuilding the team and has shifted the team's focus away from getting big money stars just because it helps ticket sales and should guarantee a postseason berth. They're not taking any shortcuts, which makes Atkinson seem like an ideal fit.
Of course, as Pandian notes, "How each will fare in their new situation is of course unclear until next season."
Who's the best hire on the list? Tom Thibodeau of the Timberwolves. The worst? Nate McMillan. Hornacek ranks four spots above Atkinson.
Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don't Lie, Yahoo's blog, says much the same thing, but notes how difficult the job will be...
His reported four-year deal will pay Atkinson to lord over what will have to be an extended rebuilding process, pitched mostly without earned draft picks thanks to the unconscionable work of former GM Billy King, and current owner Mikhail Prokhorov.
Best wishes, Kenny.