The Brooklyn Nets, who preached the values of a hard-working culture established by head coach Kenny Atkinson and GM Sean Marks, made the surprising decision to part ways on Saturday with Atkinson, who had been Brooklyn's head coach since 2016, citing that the organization felt like it was time for a change. Given how he helped lead the Nets out of the NBA abyss and into the playoffs last season, Atkinson will absolutely have another NBA head coaching job lined up for 2020-21, with these four teams standing out as tremendous landing spots for the now-deposed coach.
4. Washington Wizards
Atkinson's speciality is working with scoring guards, and Washington has a terrific pair of them in Bradley Beal and the injured John Wall. Outside of those two, the Wiz are a young bunch still trying to develop an offensive identity. Plugging that young roster full of shooters and Washington's two superstars into Atkinson's up-tempo "shoot it if you got it" offense could accelerate the rebuild in the nation's capital.
3. New York Knicks
Atkinson is a native New Yorker who worked as an assistant with the Knicks from 2008 to 2012. One of Atkinson's best traits as a coach is his unparalleled ability to develop young talent, especially at ball-dominant positions. With RJ Barrett already in tow and the Knicks destined to add a quality point guard in the upcoming draft, the Knicks need a master teacher who is patient and willing to absorb losses in the name of development. Atkinson more than fits the bill. Plus, he would get a chance to exact revenge on the Nets by moving over to their crosstown rivals.
2. Atlanta Hawks
Every guard who handles the ball has become the best version of themselves under Atkinson. D'Angelo Russell went from disappointing to an All-Star in a year and a half. Spencer Dinwiddie went from the G League to 20 points a night. Caris LeVert grew up before out very eyes. Even in Atkinson's limited time with Kyrie Irving, Uncle Drew was dominant at times. If Trae Young is putting up 30 a game in Year 2 with Lloyd Pierce as his coach, imagine what the box score could look like once he starts working with a guy like Atkinson.
1. Philadelphia 76ers
The 76ers have clearly hit a wall given how their roster is currently constructed, as the Joel Embiid-Ben Simmons core under Brett Brown is failing to make a splash in the Eastern Conference despite all their talent. Adding Atkinson would be a massive change in philosophy, but it will also give a coach that led one All-Star and a bunch of misfits to a 42-40 record the two best players he has ever coached by a wide margin. A mind like his would find all sorts of creative ways to use Simmons and Embiid on offense -- the team would just need to have the courage to send Brown packing, which is far from a given.