Nets move quick, hire proven Hollins


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HANG TIME NEW JERSEY – It didn’t take long for the Brooklyn Nets to find a replacement for Jason Kidd. It’s as if they’ve done this coaching search thing before.

The Nets announced Wednesday afternoon that they have reached an agreement with Lionel Hollins, who will be their fourth coach in the last two years. Avery Johnson was fired, P.J. Carlesimo was never considered to be more than an interim replacement, and Kidd thought that, after half of a season of success, he was ready for bigger things.

Hollins arrives after year off from coaching, which followed a 4 1/2-year stint in Memphis, in which the Grizzlies improved every year.

Grizzlies pace and efficiency, Lionel Hollins’ four full seasons

Season W L Win% Pace Rk OffRtg Rk DefRtg Rk NetRtg Rk
2009-10 40 42 0.488 96.1 8 104.8 17 107.6 24 -2.9 20
2010-11 46 36 0.561 94.5 15 104.4 16 102.5 8 +1.9 10
2011-12 41 25 0.621 93.4 18 101.0 21 98.9 7 +2.1 12
2012-13 56 26 0.683 91.1 29 101.7 18 97.4 2 +4.2 8

Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions

Hollins’ teams have never been better than average offensively, despite having Mike Conley, Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol for most of those four full seasons. The Grizzlies were one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the league, but they didn’t shoot well. And shooting is much more important than rebounding.

In Hollins’ last season in Memphis, no team made or attempted fewer 3-pointers. When you’re playing Tony Allen, Tayshaun Prince and Randolph at the 2, 3 and 4 spots, you’re not going to space the floor very well.

Last season, Brooklyn ranked 10th or 11th in 3-point makes, 3-point attempts, and 3-point percentage. And that was with a starting guard — Shaun Livingston — who shot 1-for-6 from beyond the arc.

Livingston is gone and his departure will hurt the Nets’ defense. Paul Pierce, meanwhile, is a free agent. And we don’t know for sure that Kevin Garnett will return for the last year on his contract. Those three and Kidd were Brooklyn’s biggest acquisitions last summer.

So the Nets could be hitting the reset button, going back to their core from their first season in Brooklyn, with Hollins on the bench. Even without Pierce or Garnett, they’d be above the luxury tax line, with only the tax payer’s mid-level exception to use on free agents. That could go to Croatian small forward Bojan Bogdanovic.

No matter what Pierce and Garnett do, Hollins’ success in Brooklyn will depend on the health of Deron Williams and Brook Lopez, their two former All-Stars who could still be in their prime, with emphasis on the word “could.”

Williams had surgery on both ankles in May. Lopez had a third surgery on his right foot in January. They will be the team’s biggest questions come October.

The good news is that Hollins can’t get off to a worse start than Kidd, who saw his team go 10-21 in the first two months of last season. If Williams and Lopez are healthy, Hollins will have three guys — Joe Johnson being the third — who can consistently draw double-teams offensively. Their guards and forwards will be able to spread the floor much better than Hollins’ Grizzlies did.

Though offense was the issue in Memphis, defense will be a bigger question in Brooklyn, where Hollins won’t haveĀ Allen or Gasol.

This is still one of the more talented teams in the league though. And it’s playing in the weaker conference. Hollins has an opportunity to keep it near the top.

9 Comments

  1. jabari162002 says:

    Congratulations to Coach Hollins. I think he got a raw deal when the Grizzlies let him go. Although I have nothing against Jason Kidd, I just think that Coach Hollins will get more out of the veteran team that the Nets have.

  2. MathSimon says:

    I’m worried about this. If Hollins can thrive with the Nets, this will show that he truly is a top-tier coach BUT, if he fails, he may likely be D’Antoni that needs the roster he needs to suit his style. But I’m giving Hollins the benefit of the doubt.

  3. Tony Roberts says:

    The news media (Sport Talk Radio) in Memphis seem to have issue with Lionel and made light of his involvement in the overall Community that included all demographics. They especially had issue when he seem to spend significant time contributing time and energy in the demographic that either purchased lower priced tickets or could not afford to purchase tickets for every home game. This demographic however still supported “THEIR GRIZZLIES”. If they could not afford tickets there were outside the FedEx Forum cheering them on.

    It is a sad state of affairs with the local sport talk shows. It did come full circle with the Lionel critics in Memphis when the implosion or debacle that led to the firing of management and the almost firing of Dave Joerger.

    Good things happen to good people that tend hold their head above fray. Bravo Zulu – Lionel!

  4. Carlo says:

    Happy for Hollins who really deserves a top bench.
    Nets are quite a mix-and-match of worn stars and rough youngsters. They need a stable and expenrienced hand to hold the reins while they can go ahead building for a more future-minded team (their “win immediately” strategy did not work).

  5. nbafan says:

    Congratulations, Lionel Hollins. I hope Mark Jackson gets to coach again soon as well because I think he’s a good coach.

  6. Kimmy says:

    Congrats! Now, will they keep Pierce and Garnett or does anyone even care?

  7. Max says:

    L.Hollins will do well in Brooklyn. Brooklyn could easily move forward in the East Conf. Just barely got push out this season. Hollins did well in Memphis!

  8. TheKush says:

    The perfect fit! I like Lionel Hollins! He also dresses well has an excellent sense of style wears some nice suits and carries himself the way you’d expect a coach too. Perfect Fit! I still think the Brooklyn nets should just call themselves the New York Nets! and try to take over New York in the next 3 – 5 Years! Still use the Brooklyn jerseys now and again but let New York know they’re there to take over not just Brooklyn but all 5 of the borough’s!