Kenny Atkinson is emerging as a legitimate challenger for the New York Knicks coaching job, and has the support of a great NBA coach.
Speaking with Marc Berman from the New York Post this week, Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer sought for Atkinson to become the next Knicks manager.
“I’d like to see him as a Knicks manager,” said Budenholzer. “It is a great opportunity. He understands that he will have a lot of opportunities and situations. He had a fantastic life with a big family. It would be a ride home for him. There’s nothing like coaching the team you grew up with, worked with. And with what they are trying to do and where they are.
“It is only interesting because it is so unique that it is so loyal to player development and can really help players improve,” added Budenholzer on Atkinson. “The league has improved a lot with [development], but it’s one of the first – his ability to do it at a very high level. And this is married to a guy who has a great sensitivity for the whole sport – five out of five, game concepts, defensive and offensive. He has a very high ability to run a good coach for player development. Some people are very good at this and are not interested in team things, five out of five. It also doesn’t click. Kenny does it all. “
Atkinson, who was released from Brooklyn nets in March, spent four seasons earlier as Budenholzer’s assistant on the Atlanta Hawks. This included the 2014-15 60-game winning Atlanta season in which Budenholzer won the Coach of the Year and the team sent four top-tier players to the NBA All-Star Championship.
53-year-old Atkinson, indeed a renowned talent development coach, seems to be gaining momentum for Knicks’ work. While Tom Thibodeau remains the apparent leader for the position, Atkinson may be the best solution for the team’s young raw talent list.