This past weekend, Jason Kidd and the Brooklyn Nets shocked the NBA by parting ways rather unexpectedly. Kidd is now the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks. A few days after the split, the Nets have found their new coach. The team has come to terms with former Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins.
The deal is reportedly worth close to $20 million over four years.
ESPN’s Chris Broussard stated, “Billy King has always been high on Lionel Hollins. He considered him strongly before they hired Jason Kidd. When they thought about getting rid of Kidd in December when he struggled, Lionel Hollins was the first name off of King’s lips. So, this is not a surprise at all, and I think it’s a good fit for that team because it’s a veteran-laden team.”
Tom Penn said, “(Hollins) will organize them X and O wise but get them on the same page. He’s a master of relationships.”
Broussard pointed out that “last year (the Nets) played well going small, but (Hollins) made his living in Memphis going big and that made them an elite team. He can do that very quickly in Brooklyn with Brook Lopez, Kevin Garnett and (Mason) Plumlee.”
The contract in styles is definitely drastic from Kidd to Hollins. When the Nets were at their best last season, they used Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson as their forwards, with Kevin Garnett at the center position. Part of the reasoning for that was that Lopez was out for the season with a broken foot. Still, the Nets were just 9-17 when Lopez went down. The Nets finished the season with 44 wins.
Hollins was successful in large part to having terrific perimeter defenders like Mike Conley and Tony Allen, and having two physical big men, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. It will be interesting to see how much of an impact Hollins will have on the development of Lopez and Plumlee.
The team that Hollins is inheriting has plenty of questions to answer before the start of next season.
First and foremost now is the future’s of Pierce and Garnett. Pierce is a free agent and has plenty of teams interested in his services. If Pierce bolts for a different venue, it is possible that Garnett may decide to retire.
Last season, the Nets had the luxury of having one of the best defensive point guards in the league in Shaun Livingston. Livingston has now left for a lucrative deal with the Golden State Warriors.
Deron Williams is recovering from having surgery on both of his ankles. Lopez is recovering from a broken leg.
Brooklyn is also unlikely to re-sign Andray Blatche or Alan Anderson.
There is a big difference between the two recent hiring’s for the Nets. Kidd was a rookie head coach who had never coached at any level before being hired. His inexperience and uncertainty of what style he wanted to run came to light as the Nets struggled mightily early in the season.
Hollins is highly experienced. He last coached the Grizzlies to the Western Conference Finals in 2013. Do not expect for the Nets to play much of a different style than the Grizzlies did.