City Sports Report

Lionel Hollins Is the Right Coach For the Brooklyn Nets

Brooklyn Nets Head Coach Lionel Hollins (Photo by Herbert Delancey)

Brooklyn Nets Head Coach Lionel Hollins (Photo by Herbert Delancey)

Lionel Hollins is officially the new head coach of the Brooklyn Nets. And just like that, the new chapter in the team’s short history in Brooklyn has started. Hollins, like Kidd, faces a tall order in his first year as the Nets head coach. The team has no salary cap flexibility, not a ton of youth and has two “stars” that have some interesting flaws. But just like there are challenges here for Hollins, there are also opportunities for him to make it happen for this team.

In Hollins’ last job, he took a limited Memphis Grizzles team to the Western Conference Finals in 2013. If you look at that team, the franchise traded their best perimeter scorer in Rudy Gay earlier in the year and many felt the season was over for them. But behind the play of big men Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, the Grizzlies caught fire and were dominating in the playoffs. The run ultimately was ended when the Grizzlies faced the Spurs, but they went a lot further than anyone expected in the tough Western Conference. Fast forward to Hollins’ new situation and he is miles ahead of what he had in Memphis. He has a veteran team that (when healthy) can cause some problems, and if he gets Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce back, they provide the toughness needed to win in the NBA. The thing that most overlook about Hollins is his coaching style. He adjusts to what he has and makes it work. If he can get this team to buy into his system and what he can do for them, then he could make them a force in the East.

But of course, everything goes as far as their best players lead them. And in the Nets’ case, their so-called “best players” have been a disappointment to a lot of people. Center Brook Lopez has shown flashes of being a dominant center in the East. But the flashes quickly disappeared due to the injury issues for Lopez. If he is able to stay healthy, the oft-injured center could change the complexion of the Nets and give them a consistent force in the middle. Hollins can help him stay healthy with the luxury of having the second-year young forward Mason Plumlee. In Plumblee, the Nets have a young big man that has a ton of upside. If he continues to get better at finishing and develops a low post game, he can be a huge factor off their bench.

The other star of the Nets is Deron Williams. He was hailed as arguably one of the best point guards in the NBA a few years back. Well, that seems to be far from the case these days as he has struggled with injuries and inconsistent play throughout his whole career with Brooklyn/New Jersey. The latest setback for Williams is the double-ankle surgery he had this offseason. It seems that Williams has sunk as low as people wanting him out of town. But with the arrival of Hollins, there may be a resurrection. Just look at what Hollins did with guard Mike Conley, Jr. in Memphis. When Hollins first took over, Conley was considered an underachiever and many wondered if he would ever live up to the status the expectations (Conley was the 4th pick in the 2007 NBA Draft). Hollins came in and told Conley that he was his point guard and that he was going to live and die with him and his decisions to lead the team. Conley responded to the confidence Hollins had in him and as a result, he began to blossom and become the player some thought he would be. Hopefully Deron Williams paid attention to what Conley became under Hollins because he can do the same for Williams. As long as Williams begins to let go and trust the vision Hollins has for him and the team, he could get back to the level he once was at in Utah.

The combination of leadership and vision has made Lionel Hollins the coach he is today. The Nets really hit a home run in replacing Kidd with this former NBA veteran. He may not have been dealt the best hand in Brooklyn, but there is no doubt that if Brooklyn buys into Hollins, they can come out and be a darkhorse in the Eastern Conference.

For more sports talk, feel free to follow me on Twitter @General_MP or check me out on Facebook at Mike Patton-The General .

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