hollins media day

Hollins: Nets will be tougher, exhibit motion on offense

Lionel Hollins wants the Nets to toughen up for this season, and it starts on the inside with Brook Lopez.

Hollins addressed reporters from the podium at media day and admitted, “I’d like us to be tougher,” when asked about the Nets’ style of play. Part of that toughness will come from the returing Lopez, who Hollins has challenged on multiple occasions already to become a better rebounder.

The Nets head coach also discussed the offensive style he wants to play. He said the offense will include isolation and post-ups, but his desire is to create a motion system that involves a lot of touches on every possession. Part is this offense will include Joe Johnson penciled in as the starting small forward, and an open competition will be held for shooting guard.

Hollins also added:

  • Bojan Bogdanovic and Alan Anderson will be among the players he considers to start at the two. Hollins said he’s impressed with Bogdanovic and Mirza Teletovic, adding “They’re more than just shooters.”
  • Deron  Williams will not have restrictions to begin the year, and that he has “high expectations from the start for D-Will.” He said Williams has looked excellent in work outs  thus far.
  • Lopez will presumably be limited to start camp. Hollins speculated he’d play a session every other day.
  • When asked about Williams’ reputation as a coach killer, Hollins responded: “I have a reputation of being a player killer.”
  • On the perceived weakness of East vs. West: “It’s like people looking in the mirror. Not everyone’s as beautiful as they think they are”

Brian Erni

Very illuminating. I was excited to hear Hollins sound off, and his comments didn’t disappoint. I’m excited that Bogdanovic will get a chance to start right out of the gate, but if I had to guess, I’d assume Anderson will get the nod at first. It will allow Bojan to ease himself into the American game, and eventually, take the reins when he’s ready. Hollins obviously has a very clear idea of how he envisions the offense, and it sounds like a hybrid of the iso-heavy system Avery Johnson and P.J. Carlesimo installed and the pass-heavy attack Jason Kidd favored. How the Nets will acclimate remains to be seen, but I think their more athletic team can certainly make better adjustments on the fly.

I was also glad to see Hollins respond to his critics with humor. He knew his reputation would come up eventually, so he used it to shield his star player. That’s a good thing. For a guy who has only coached in small markets before, he handled that situation like a pro, and I came away very impressed.

Overall, a much, much different press conference than anything Kidd put together last season. There’s not doubt this is Lionel’s world now.

The Isles are in Brooklyn tonight

Barclays Center will host its future co-tenant on Friday night, when the New York Islanders come to play their second exhibition game ever in Brooklyn against the New Jersey Devils.

The game will be televised, giving Nets fans a chance to see how their home arena converts to a hockey rink.

For complete coverage of Friday’s game, visit Islanders Point Blank.

It’s media day for the Nets, where optimism abounds

Brian Erni

Step right up and greet the Mets Nets...

The new-look Brooklyn club will meet the media on Friday at the PNY Center, and it should be an enlightening day for Nets fans.

KG brook mediaThis is the most optimistic time of the year, and I’d expect to hear a lot of rosy outlooks from the Nets. How they plan on proving their detractors wrong. That they’ll play with a Brooklyn Bridge-sized chip on their shoulder to prove that they’re still a top four team in the East. We got a preview of some of the key talking points for this season when Billy King addressed the media on Monday, but there will be more of the same on Friday…and that’s fine with me.

Answers can so often be trite, but Friday is the one day they actually excite me. There’s a crispness in the air and basketball is almost back. So bring on the optimism, Brooklyn. I’m ready to embrace this Nets team with open arms, and I’m eager for the Nets to pay lipservice to the reasons why I should think they can defy the odds.

We’ve covered the questions that need answering: Brook Lopez and, to a lesser extent, Deron Williams’ health, Andrei Kirilenko and Kevin Garnett’s minutes, and Bojan Bogdanovic’s ability to adjust. Of course, there will be questions for Jarrett Jack about filling the Shaun Livingston void, Mason Plumlee on his summer with Team USA, and the future of Sergey Karasev. The man at the helm, Lionel Hollins, should give us plenty of insight into it all.

On Friday, I’m most interested in hearing from Hollins, and how he responds to his critics, how he plans to navigate the jam-packed front court, and if he will expound more on the type of system he envisions this Nets team playing. This is the first day Hollins has a chance to set a tone for training camp, and I’m going to be intrigued to see exactly what the mood of this club will be.

It’s almost time to get ramped up again, and everyone’s record stands at zero-and-zero. How far this Nets team goes remains to be determined, but I’m excited about the possibilities.

jack smile

Why did Jarrett Jack choose number zero?

Jarrett Jack will wear number zero for the Nets this season, and there’s a reason why.

Jack told Tim Bontemps that his number choice reflects the start of a new phase in his career.

“Just new beginnings,” Jack told Bontemps. “That’s kind of my thing. I’m coming into my 10th year [in the NBA]. I wanted [number one], that normally is what I do, but zero is before that and just start from the beginning in a whole new place.

Number one is taken by Mason Plumlee and number two, another single digit Jack has worn in the past, is currently held by Kevin Garnett.

“They say every 10 years you should reinvent yourself, change your job or something, so it’s my tenth year in the league and that’s kind of my parallel to it.”

Brian Erni

I understand why Jack feels like he needs to reboot himself. Last year was a trying one for the veteran, though I believe that had more to do with the team around him than his performance. Yes, his offensive numbers were down, but the Cavs lineup was decimated by injuries, regression, and inconsistency. The truth is, Jack played well on the defensive side of the ball, and — if utilized properly by Lionel Hollins — could help fill the void left by Shaun Livingston. He won’t be a straight one-to-one replacement for S Dot, but he should be an effective back court piece.

What kind of coach will Lionel Hollins be? Old school or out-of-touch?

Brian Erni

Lionel Hollins is certainly credentialed to be an NBA coach. He had success in Memphis, culminating in a 56 win season, and boasts a career winning percentage over the .500 mark (.516, to be exact). But Hollins brings a more seasoned mentality to his spot on his Barclays Center bench. How will that translate to the Nets?

Lionel-Hollins-is-proud-of-the-zinger-he-just-delivered.-Rocky-Widner-NBA-Getty-ImagesI ask because, over the last few days, Hollins has undergone a few character assaults. When ranking the NBA coaches one through 30, CBS Sports’ Matt Moore put Hollins solidly in the middle of the pack (14th), but it didn’t stop him from taking a shot at his demeanor.

“The grumpy old man is back,” Moore wrote. He went on to note that, “The people [Hollins] clashed with are gone [from Memphis] now, too, except for John Hollinger, but it’s pretty firmly established that Hollins has zero patience for anyone.”

One of those players he didn’t have any patience for? Kyle Lowry, one of the most sought after free agents this NBA offseason, who chimed in on the struggles he had relating to Brooklyn’s current head man.

“Lionel didn’t say [expletive] to me,” Lowry said of his relationship with Hollins, and the accusation that Lowry was a negative influence on the team’s chemistry.  “It was crazy. I’m 22-, 23-years-old. How am I a bad influence on guys who are older? I just wanted to play basketball [...] I’m not trying to be on somebody’s bad side, but I think Lionel just needed a scapegoat, and I was the young guy and I had a little bit of an attitude. Who wouldn’t have an attitude who’s trying to play? You’re not even giving me a chance to play.”

To read more of this story, click here

Frank, Nets agree to buyout; Coach will leave for LA

Lawrence Frank and the Nets have agreed to a contract buyout (Bondy, Sept. 25).

Frank signed a six-year, $6 million deal with the Nets before last season before being transitioned off the bench.

Frank is expected to join the L.A. Clippers coaching staff.

Frank served as Nets head coach from 2004-2010. He was brought back to the organization last season to become an assistant under Jason Kidd. Despite being signed to serve as a mentor to the rookie head coach, he was quickly reassigned to administrative work after difficulties between Kidd and himself arose.

Brian Erni

And with that, the curious case of Lawrence Frank: Episode Two, comes to an end. What a mess this was. Ever since his falling out with Jason Kidd (which was rumored to happen by the third game of last year’s regular season) that resulted in his subsequent unceremonious demotion, the Frank experiment was a drain on the Nets, from both an economic and reputation standpoint. He may have filled out some great reports — and he would have to for over a million dollars a year — but this ultimately was a huge failure from start to finish.  Best case scenario, this frees up some cash to buy a pick, but truthfully, I’m just glad  the nightmare is over.
lopez injured

Brook Lopez playing five-on-five, ‘feels great’

Brook Lopez is playing five-on-five again, and he says his surgically-repaired foot is responding well.

“It was great,” Lopez told reporters earlier this week about being active for regular drills. “I got my second day of five-on-five in today. It’s been going well. It feels good to be back out there with the guys. Everyone’s been out there, and everyone looks good. It’s been good seeing Mase [Mason Plumlee] out there being vocal, doing his thing and seeing how much he learned over the summer [playing with Team USA].”

Lopez was asked if he felt tentative or hesitant about pushing off his foot, which cost him the final four and a half months of the season and the entire playoffs.

“No. I feel good out there,” Lopez responded. “There’s no problems. I feel great out there. I don’t want to leave the court.”

Brian Erni

Any encouraging report from Lopez allows Nets fans to breathe a sigh of relief. There’s not a player on the team that has as many question marks around him and is as important to Brooklyn’s success than Lopez.

The Nets plan to play bigger this season, and if they can stack a healthy Lopez alongside Kevin Garnett, with Plumlee filling in and grinding out big minutes as the workhorse, that could make for a lethal front court. It’s all a matter of if and when Lopez can regain that All-Star form, and the first step to that is Brook staying healthy through camp and into the regular season. So far, so good.