ATlANTA (AP) — Nick Van Exel has returned to the Atlanta Hawks, joining Nate McMillan’s staff as an assistant coach.

Van Exel spent the last two years as a scout with the Dallas Mavericks. The Hawks announced his hiring Wednesday, bringing back a former NBA All-Star who served as a player development instructor for Atlanta from 2010-12.

“Since his playing career ended, Nick has been very successful in helping develop young guards for the teams he’s worked with, including several that have turned into all-stars,” said McMillan, who led the Hawks to the Eastern Conference final last season after taking over as interim coach.

The Hawks are led by 22-year-old point guard Trae Young, who is heading into his fourth season. They also have young swingmen De’Andre Hunter, Kevin Huerter and Cam Reddish, as well as a pair of second-round picks they hope will develop into solid NBA guards, Skylar Mays and Sharife Cooper.

Van Exel will get a chance to work with that promising group under McMillan, who was retained as the permanent coach after the Hawks’ improbable playoff run.

“We feel he’ll be a great addition helping our young core guards continue to progress,” McMillan said.


Van Exel has previous coaching experience with the Memphis Grizzlies and Milwaukee Bucks. He also was a head coach for one season in the NBA G League and spent a year as an assistant at Texas Southern University.

Over a 13-year playing career in the NBA, Van Exel played with six teams. He earned a spot in the 1998 All-Star Game while with the Los Angeles Lakers.


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