Lloyd Pierce is scheduled to have a second interview with the Atlanta Hawks for their vacant head-coaching job, a league source confirmed and ESPN first reported.
The 76ers assistant coach is scheduled to meet with Hawks ownership this week. The source confirmed Pierce is clearly one of the top candidates.
Pierce’s initial interview for the job was Friday.
Pierce, who runs the Sixers’ defense, has been on the coaching staff since the fall of 2013. The Sixers won a combined 47 games during his first three seasons, including the team’s 10-72 campaign in 2015-16. Last season, the Sixers went 28-54 before improving to 52-30 this season.
Before Pierce joined the Sixers, he had assistant coaching stops with the Memphis Grizzlies and the Golden State Warriors. Pierce was also the Cleveland Cavaliers’ player development coordinator from 2007-10. But his experience in Philadelphia is perhaps the most impressive thing on his resume.
The Hawks tanked this season, finishing tied with the Dallas Mavericks for the league’s third-worst record at 24-58. After losing a tiebreaker to the Mavericks, Atlanta has the fourth-best odds to get the first pick in the draft lottery on May 15 at 13.7 percent. They have a 42.3 percent chance to get a top-four pick and can finish no worse than seventh.
The Hawks have two other first-round picks – Nos. 19 and 30 – and a second-rounder, No. 33.
Under Pierce’s guidance this season, the Sixers had one of the league’s top defenses. They were tied for sixth with the Miami Heat in opponent field-goal percentage at 44.9 percent. The Sixers were 10th in the league in points allowed per game, averaging 106 this season.
In March 2016, Pierce’s alma mater, Santa Clara, pursued him to coach its men’s basketball program.
While he attended Santa Clara, Pierce teamed up with backcourt mate Steve Nash. He helped lead the Broncos to consecutive NCAA tournament appearances in 1995 and 1996. After a four-year professional career with stops in Mexico, Australia, Germany and Turkey, Pierce returned to Santa Clara as an assistant coach from 2003-07 before moving to the NBA.
Pierce also coaches the Sixers’ summer-league team and has had a key role in Robert Covington’s development into arguably one of the NBA’s top three-point shooters and defenders.
Sixers want scorers over Anderson’s defensive presence
Justin Anderson provides much-needed defense and physicality for a Sixers team in desperate need of that. However, the reserve swingman hasn’t played in Game 2 and Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinal against the Boston Celtics.
“We are trying to get our best shooters on the floor,” said Sixers coach Brett Brown, whose squad trails 0-3 in the best-of-seven series. Game 4 is 6 p.m. Monday at the Wells Fargo Center.
“Your point about Justin being an athlete and a physical player is true,” Brown added. “At times, you are really seeking buckets. You are trying to find scoring options as much as anything.
“So with that sort of belief, the decision to play, as an example, Robert 32 [minutes], Marco [Belinelli] 32 and JJ [Redick] 32 comes up the most when you say you’re just trying to find our best scorers.”