NBA March Takeaway: Nate McMillan can coach
A month ago, the Atlanta Hawks were going nowhere fast. They finished February with a 4-11 record and fired head coach Lloyd Pierce on March 1st. Nate McMillan took over as the interim coach and has made a compelling case for why he should get the job permanently, leading them to a 9-4 record during March, 6th best in the NBA during that span.
There aren’t many defensive minds in the NBA as respected as Nate McMillan and he’s brought a much-needed defensive emphasis to this group after they really struggled on that end in February. Atlanta has the 23rd ranked defense in the NBA this year, but under McMillan, they’ve ranked 15th and were actually just outside the top 10 until a bad showing against Phoenix earlier this week.
The knock on McMillan as a coach has been on the offensive end, but with all the talented scorers on this roster this might end up being the perfect fit for both him and the team. If they can keep this level of defense going throughout the season they could very well be in line to host a round one playoff series, something that didn’t look possible a month ago.