In a brash move of supreme arrogance, brilliance, and desperation, Brooklyn Nets head coach Jason Kidd announced shortly before the team's Tuesday night game against the Denver Nuggets that lead assistant Lawrence Frank would no longer man the sidelines next to Kidd, demoting him to doing "daily reports" on the team, far away from the bench during games and practices. Kidd cited "differing philosophies" on basketball as the reason, despite having a professional and personal relationship with Frank for nearly a decade. The move came as the Nets flailed at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, far from the championship aspirations the team predicted two months earlier.
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With the Nets trailing by 24, out came the boo birds at home for the Nets. These weren't just one-time boos, they were multiple-time boos. It wasn't one loud, obnoxious fan, or one small section. These were the type of boos you'd hear at Philadelphia sporting event or even a New York Mets game. These were loud, consistent boos for a soon-to-be 5-13 Nets team with sky-high expectations.
It all started half a year ago.
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He was awful in the way you'd expect a late first-round rookie to be awful, except you'd expect a rookie to be a little more energetic doing it.
Came off the bench for the second straight game as Kidd elected to start Tyshawn Taylor, and though he did a lot of little things well, the Nets needed big things and no one -- including Livingston -- delivered.
HE DUNKED!? No, really, he dunked. Had some good moments against Faried defensively but there were possessions when Faried just outran him down the court. You can't expect Garnett to keep up with him.
Started in place of the injured Paul Pierce, and as far as Nets players went today, he wasn't all too bad. Played oddly in control for his standards, perhaps because he had to play off the starters. But like Livingston, the little things he did well weren't nearly enough to overcome the big things the team needed. Give him credit for playing with passion when few other Nets did.
HE DUNKED!? Yes, I know this game was a futuristic hellscape sent from afar to let Nate Robinson, but a Joe Johnson dunk is rarer than an emphatic Nets victory these days. Scored well in his usual Joe Johnson fashion, and you can't put this loss on him, but it's not like he could change the tide with Denver's athletes running all over Brooklyn.
Got excellent position on a couple of easy buckets but that's where the positives end: struggled with double-teams in the post, didn't finish a lot of close shots, and didn't defend the paint nearly as well as he has most of the season.
Standard Blatche on offense, Bad Blatche on defense.
The Eurostep is now the Tokostep. Liked his defensive aggressiveness and at times seemed like the only Nets player who gave a damn, but his limitations as a player are as much on display.
Aggressive but struggled to contain Ty Lawson & Nate Robinson and got burned on multiple defensive possessions. Tried to match Denver's athleticism but he can't do it alone.
Didn't look like he had a role here.
Early season criticisms of 15-time Brooklyn Nets All-Star Kevin Garnett raised questions if the decorated veteran has anything left in his tank. Garnett responded with an outstanding defensive performance against the Memphis Grizzlies. Now, KG's offensive game is coming into fruition.
The Big Ticket turned back the hands of time with a monster fast-break dunk against the über-athletic Denver Nuggets. Looks like Garnett may have some gas left in his tank after all.
Do you remember the last time Joe Johnson dunked as a Nets guard? I actually can't remember the last time Joe Johnson dunked in an NBA game, period. A quick YouTube search of 'Joe Johnson Dunks' confirmed my suspicion that a Johnson dunk is a rare event.
Joe Cool, better known for his lights-out shooting and floaters in the paint, put down this breakaway dunk against the Denver Nuggets early in the first quarter Thursday night.
— Michelle K. (@ChelleHGRadio) December 3, 2013
How can you have "different philosophies" w/an asst coach whom you played for and hired? Did you not know his philosophies? #Nets
— MEJ (@MoJay58) December 4, 2013
Only in Brooklyn can a team be this bad and the assistant coach takes the fall before the head coach. Who says experience matters? #Nets
— Daniel Siegel (@DanSiegel_H4TV) December 4, 2013
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Nets top assistant Lawrence Frank was reassigned by head coach Jason Kidd to doing "daily reports" for the team, officially kicking Frank off the bench for games and practices. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the tension between the two had built throughout the season, and this demotion was inevitable:
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When vying for the Brooklyn Nets head coaching job, Kidd pushed desperately to bring Frank on with him at the sidelines. "I'm working as hard as I can (to bring Frank on)," Kidd told Greg Kelly and Rosanna Scotto of Good Day New York in June. "Hopefully he does join the staff, because he would be great." The idea that Kidd could assemble a veteran staff was key in King's decision to hire Kidd, and assemble he did, convincing Frank to join the team as the lead assistant.
Now, after about one month and a 5-12 opening, Kidd has done a 180, sending Frank off the bench. Frank, who reportedly makes more than $1 million as the highest-paid assistant coach in the league, has been reassigned to doing "daily reports" for the team. He won't be on the team's bench for games or practices, and will not travel.
"Lawrence has been reassigned to doing daily reports, and he won't be sitting on the bench or at practice," Kidd said shortly before Tuesday's "So there's been a change. It doesn't change the coaching staff, guys will be there. So that's that."
Frank was considered the defensive guru for the team, but they've struggled on that end of the floor: even with world-class defender Kevin Garnett, the team is dead last in the NBA in points allowed per possession.
"It's about basketball," Kidd said prior to Tuesday's matchup against the Denver Nuggets, multiple times. "We move forward. You learn. But the big thing is, I'm focused, and I have to have these guys ready to go tonight."
Over the summer, Kidd, King, and everyone else within 3,000 miles of the Nets acknowledged that Kidd had a significant learning curve in becoming a head coach. But during Tuesday's press conference, Kidd said he didn't need Frank -- or anyone -- to ease that transition.
"I've been doing it from day one," Kidd said, when asked if he could have done it without Frank. "Understanding what it means to be a coach, having guys ready, that's what I've been doing since summer league."
Kidd added that there would be no replacements to his staff, which is set, but that it was his call and the choice is final. "This is the decision that I had to make, and we made it, and we move on. ... This is about basketball. That's it."
Frank missed six games last year to be with his wife due to an undisclosed illness on her part. He also missed time in preseason to be by her side. Though Kidd stressed that the decision was purely basketball-related, it's not clear if this demotion has anything to do with Frank's personal life.
"It's just different philosophies," Kidd said of the decision. "That's all. ... We'll figure out how to stop people."
Introducing…. The Brooklyn Game store!
The first thing you'll notice about our snazzy new store is our products are overpriced! Not as overpriced as, say, the Nets, but definitely not bargain basement. Why? As you may know, we are the exclusive partner of YES Network. But at the end of the day we're still an independent enterprise, reliant on our own methods to keep this ship afloat. A major chunk of that is advertising but that frankly is not nearly enough.
So we're selling some really cool stuff to make ends meet.
Think of it as a double Christmas gift: by buying a t-shirt or onesie, you'll be spreading joy to your favorite Brooklyn Nets fan (and that can be you) and helping your favorite place for Brooklyn Nets news & analysis keep up and running.
And there’s more! If you buy anything, you will automatically become a Premium Brooklyn Game Member. No, you don't get to hang out with Jay-Z. But if you send us a picture of yourself wearing the gear (email@example.com), you will have your most pressing Nets question answered by Devin on the site. They don't even have to be about the Nets -- they just have to be appropriate. Plus, you will be enrolled in our Member Hall of Fame, a special gallery depicting our loyalist fans.
You can think of it like giving to public radio, but instead of getting a tote bag, you get to sport the immortal words of Kevin Garnett who commented after his first Nets home game, "Big Up To Brooklyn!" Or you can think of as buying a subscription to The Brooklyn Game (willfully and generously forgetting that you can currently get the content for free).
We’ve got t-shirts, hoodies – men’s and women’s -- iphone covers, a baby onesie and a coffee mug – with The Brooklyn Game logo, the “Big Up To Brooklyn” message, or an ironic slogan combining the word "artisanal" and "Nets" in the same sentence.
You can get them in a variety of sizes and colors (though, of course, black looks best).
Anything ordered before December 13th will get to you in time for Christmas. Just some platelet-rich plasma for thought.
Best Wishes, Happy Shopping, and THANK YOU.