Lionel Hollins the latest Net under the bus
According to league sources, the Brooklyn Nets are concerned over the lack of fire in the team after getting run out of the gym by 39 points by the Los Angeles Clippers and 35 points by the lowly Utah Jazz. Now the Brooklyn Nets get to live in infamy as the fifth team in NBA history to be blown out by 35 points or more in back to back games. Here’s what’s scary Brooklyn Nets fans: we haven’t hit rock bottom yet.
Now the Brooklyn Nets have decided to launch an “in-season” evaluation of various facets of the team which includes Lionel Hollins, who probably hasn’t had time to buy furniture for the new condo yet. This situation is getting so bad that Phil Jackson has taken time to give thanks for a break from the New York media bashing.
Brooklyn management, supported by Nets ownership is monitoring the evaluation after the team has lost ten of twelve games and getting overtaken by the Charlotte Hornets for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference standings. The Hornets, who are dealing with a ton of injuries themselves which includes their losing their starting point guard Kemba Walker for six weeks, have done exactly what the Nets need to do at this point. Play hard every night and bring a defensive presence to the forefront.
Does this situation of a coach being on the firing line sound familiar to Nets fans? It should.
Nets management considered firing Jason Kidd before Christmas when the Nets fell on their faces out of the gate to the tune of a 10-21 record. Reports say that Jason Kidd still had the support of his players and rolled the dice to see what would happen down the line.
I think the Brooklyn Nets kept Kidd because if they had fired him so soon, they probably would have exposed the dysfunction that is going on now. Luckily, the Nets got hot after the All-Star break and finished with a 44-38 record. They then shocked the Toronto Raptors in the first round playoff series without Brook Lopez.
Unfortunately for Lionel Hollins, he has the same problem as Kidd with different challenges.
According to sources, which includes ESPNNewYork.com’s Mike Mazzeo, it seems that the locker room is not hip to the old school, outspoken style of Hollins now that the losses are starting to pile up. They are not the only ones that Hollins is annoying. Public criticisms of players on the roster has raised the ire of ownership as well.
From where I’m sitting, very little fault is Lionel’s. Furthermore, the problem at hand has been going on since the Avery Johnson era.
Let’s be clear here, Lionel Hollins is a very good coach. If you need some evidence, take a look at what the Memphis Grizzlies are accomplishing right now. What everyone is witnessing in Golden State this year has already been accomplished. What groundwork Mark Jackson laid out for Steve Kerr is what Lionel Hollins did for Dave Joerger in Memphis. The Mark Jackson saga in the Bay Area is nothing new. The Memphis Grizzlies gave Hollins the same treatment back in 2013 after losing in the Western Conference finals.
It seems that Hollins and management clashed over his coaching style and his alleged unwillingness to work out “philosophical differences.” Anyone starting to see a trend here?
Lionel Hollins is exactly what the Nets need at this point as their head coach. This team is very weak in the ways of discipline and consistency. Hollins turned a Memphis franchise that was reeling completely 180 degrees. That’s thanks to the coaching of Lionel Hollins. The tone and culture were set by Hollins that gave the team a winning mindset. That’s now what Brooklyn wants to accomplish after watching a revolving door of coaches.
So Hollins is criticizing players, so what? The Brooklyn Nets are an overpriced, underachieving bunch right now. It is very difficult to get blown out by nearly 40 points in NBA games, let alone in back-to-back games. This is on the players, not coach Hollins who has the rep to back that up. Where’s the pride? Where’s the leadership in the locker room? There’s something to what Hollins is talking about if the Nets can’t stay relevant past the first quarter.
The Brooklyn Nets have shown us that they have done a bad job in doing their research on Lionel Hollins if they are upset over his criticisms of Brooklyn’s big men, Brook Lopez and Mason Plumlee. This is nothing new. Hollins used to bench Marc Gasol in the fourth quarter while in Memphis. How has that worked out? Oh, that’s right, Gasol is arguably the league’s best center when healthy. Lopez might want to get Gasol on speed dial and get some cliff notes on how to deal with Hollins. How about Zach Randolph? There were rumors that they didn’t get along. Yet by the time Hollins left, Randolph was one of his greatest supporters.
This “in-season” evaluation serves as another bad distraction to the Brooklyn Nets roster. Management has undermined another head coach… again. They are airing their dirty laundry out… again. But finally, they are showing a level of inner dysfunction that will only reveal itself further as the season goes by.