ATLANTA – The Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club will play host to the Dallas Mavericks on Oct. 24 on ESPN in their home opener as the team begins its season-long celebration of 50 years in Atlanta. Following its $192.5 million transformation, the second-largest in NBA history, Philips Arena re-opens for basketball as State Farm Arena. The Hawks will welcome the season with a new arena and a new head coach, who will attempt to mold the team’s young, inexperienced roster.
Lloyd Pierce was named the 13th full-time Head Coach in Hawks history on May 11, 2018. Pierce, 42, came to the Hawks following five years as an Assistant Coach with the Philadelphia 76ers, who finished last season third in the Eastern Conference with a 52-30 mark and advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Under Pierce’s guidance last season, the Sixers’ defense led the NBA in field goal percentage defense (.434), ranked second in three-point percentage allowed (.342) and was third in defensive rating (102.0). Two Philadelphia players, Robert Covington (First Team) and Joel Embiid (Second Team), earned NBA All-Defensive selections.
Pierce joined the Sixers after two seasons with Memphis, where he was Assistant Coach-Player Development, helping lead the Grizzlies to back-to-back playoff appearances and the Western Conference Finals in 2013. He spent the 2010-11 season as an Assistant Coach with the Golden State Warriors after three years as Assistant CoachPlayer Development with Cleveland (2007-10), where the Cavaliers made three playoff appearances and a trip to the
Eastern Conference Finals in 2009.
The architect of the current team, Travis Schlenk, is in his second season as Atlanta’s General Manager and Head of Basketball Operations. He was named to his position on May 25, 2017.
Following through on his stated goals of adding young talent and positioning the team for the future in terms of salary cap and roster flexibility, the Hawks have acquired consensus 2018 First-Team All-American Trae Young (the fifth overall pick in 2018), drafted NBA Second-Team All-Rookie forward John Collins (19th overall in 2017), Tyler Dorsey (41st pick in 2017), Kevin Huerter (19th selection in 2018) and Omari Spellman (30th overall in 2018), while also obtaining first-round picks from Houston (2018), Dallas (protected 2019) and Oklahoma City (protected 2022), as well as multiple second-rounders.
Schlenk, a veteran of more than 18 years in the NBA, joined the Hawks after 13 seasons with the Golden State Warriors, including the final six as Assistant General Manager, where he assisted two-time NBA Executive of the Year Bob Myers in the management of all day-to-day basketball operations activities. He was previously the Warriors’ Director of Player Personnel for two years after five seasons as an assistant coach and video scout.