Stephen A. Smith Dishes on Nets Demise, Head Coach Search

Derrel Johnson

NEW YORK — I had the opportunity to catch up with Stephen A. Smith from ESPN2’s First Take with Skip Bayless and 98.7 ESPN Radio’s the Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco show back on May 7. We spoke about the Brooklyn Nets.

One thing we can always expect from Smith is his unique insight into a situation, and that is exactly what he gave me.

CarlesimoI asked Smith about his opinion of the team’s loss Saturday night at Barclays Center to the Chicago Bulls.

“They proved to be a soft team that’s got a lot of things to prove. The only thing positive about them right now is the fact that Billy King is their general manager because he’s hardcore, he knows a soft team when he sees one, a soft team when he has one. Obviously he expected more from them, we all did, and they just proved to be relatively soft.”

He did give a great deal of credit to the team that the Nets lost to on Saturday as well.

“Now in fairness to them, the Chicago Bulls can do that to anybody, to most teams anyway and we understand that, but considering the fact that Luol Deng was out, and Kirk Hinrich was out and Taj Gibson was just less than 48 hours removed from having chills on the bench and Nate Robinson was just as much time removed from throwing up on national television, for them to come out and give that sought of putrid effort was incredibly disappointing and the Nets are going to have a long, long off season.”

During that long, long off season that Smith talked about, who are some possible choices for the vacant head coach position that Phil Jackson has allegedly turned down?

“Expect the Boston Celtics to receive a call for permission to talk to Doc Rivers… Expect Brian Shaw of the Indiana Pacers to get a call,” and he also mentioned Larry Brown. He then returned to the man who will lead the search.

“Billy King will scan the globe. I’ve known him for over 20 years. He’s not going sit idly by.”

Before I finished talking Brooklyn Nets with Stephen A. Smith, he touched on the Brooklyn Backcourt of Deron Williams and Joe Johnson.

“I don’t overreact to Joe Johnson’s performance simply because Joe Johnson usually shows up in big moments. The fact that he didn’t is not something to overreact to. It’s unfortunate that it was a Game 7 but he’s won so many games in his career taking and hitting the big shots and showing up in the big moments. His problem is he didn’t show up the other times a lot of times during the process of a game, but the big moments is when you can rely on him so I know that’s an aberration.”

Finally, Smith talked about the star point guard.

“Deron Williams is a superstar talent that’s got to play like a superstar and he did no such thing and that is going to have to change if the Nets are ever going to be what they aspire to be.”

Hard for me to disagree with anything that Smith had to stay. First things first, the Nets need to find a coach, and here’s to hoping that the coach will be a younger one like Doc Rivers or Brian Shaw, as opposed to one in the twilight of his career.