With Mike Brown’s departure still fresh in fans’ minds, the Golden State Warriors appeared to be in real danger of losing yet another key assistant this summer. Earlier this week, Kenny Atkinson — who has been on Steve Kerr‘s staff for the last two seasons — was namechecked as a finalist for the Milwaukee Bucks’ open head coaching job.
Alas, the Dubs look to have avoided incurring another big loss on this particular occasion. Per a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Saturday, the Bucks have landed on former player and current Toronto Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin as their next play-caller.
Griffin, 48, will inherit a roster led by two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and five-time All-Defensive pick Jrue Holiday; one that finished with the best record in the Association during the regular season.
The 55-year-old Atkinson, meanwhile, will presumably remain in the Bay. It’s anyone’s guess exactly how long that will continue to be the case, however.
Kenny Atkinson Has Come Perilously Close to Leaving the Warriors in Consecutive Summers
Before finding his way to the Warriors, Atkinson had successfully built the Brooklyn Nets up from being a 20-win team in 2016-17 to one that captured 42 wins and broke a years-long playoff drought in 2018-19. If not for the club’s radical pivot into the Kevin Durant/Kyrie Irving era the following season, he might still be Brooklyn’s coach now.
Given that history — not to mention the bump he’s undoubtedly received by being Kerr-adjacent in recent years — the Warriors may need to brace themselves for the inevitability that Atkinson leaves for another top job.
Just last season, he nearly joined Brown in ending his run with the Dubs after agreeing verbally to become the Charlotte Hornets’ next head coach. And while he ended up having a change of heart in that instance and staying with Golden State, a league GM told Heavy Sports that the flip-flop likely won’t stop other teams from looking his way.
“Kenny has shown he has coaching chops. He can certainly do a rebuild, he has done it before,” the GM said in December. “A team that is underachieving and needs a change of attitude — Kenny brings a lot of positivity.
“The stuff with Charlotte last year might hurt him a bit, no one likes to see a team get strung along like that, then turned down very publicly. But you know, Billy Donovan did that with Orlando and he has had no problem getting and keeping jobs in the NBA.”
Warriors Bring a Slew of Prospects in for Predraft Workout
Per a report from The Athletic’s Anthony Slater, the Warriors brought a number of fringe prospects in for predraft workouts on Friday. It was a group that included Julian Strawther of Gonzaga, Coleman Hawkins of Illinois, Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis, Memphis’ Kendric Davis, Craig Porter Jr. of Wichita State and Villanova’s Caleb Daniels.
Of the lot, Jackson-Davis may have the best opportunity to land in the first round (where the Warriors own the 19th overall pick). The 6-foot-9, 240-pound big man — whose wingspan measured 7-foot-1 at the NBA Draft Combine — averaged 20.9 points, 10.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.9 blocks as a senior for the Hoosiers last season.
For his efforts, he was recognized as a consensus First-Team All-American. He’s currently ranked 33rd overall on ESPN’s draft prospect rankings.