The Brooklyn Nets now have the third-worst record (10-25) and third-worst net points per 100 possessions (-6.7) in the NBA. It’s safe to say that at this point, they’re the third-worst team in the NBA, ahead of the 76ers, who are pushing the once-finite limits of tankitude, and Lakers, who are torpedoing their way into dreams of Ben Simmons one Kobe Bryant misfire at a time.
Unlike the 76ers and Lakers, the Nets have no incentive to race towards the bottom. They don’t own their draft pick this season, and seven of their top eight players in minutes played are 26 years or older.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe and Brian Windhorst, on Lowe’s “Lowe Post” podcast, talked at length about potential NBA coaching changes. They go deep on a few teams: the Washington Wizards and Randy Wittman, Phoenix and Jeff Hornacek, the uncommunicative Byron Scott with the Lakers, to name some examples.
But the Nets and Lionel Hollins, in the immortal words of their former owner Jay-Z, only get half a bar.
“Brooklyn, Hollins is almost certainly out,” Lowe said, without inspiring a response or rebuttal from Windhorst, and they quickly moved on to Derek Fisher’s standing with the New York Knicks.
Windhorst and Lowe return to the Nets later to discuss the potential of a Joe Johnson trade, with Lowe noting that the team “still wants wins” and would only deal Johnson if it helped them win games this season, even if it hurt their future cap room.
Windhorst added that he “(doesn’t) see a way out” for the Nets from their current predicament, joking that if Lowe had the answer, he should become their general manager.
Hollins is in the second year of a four-year contract, with the last year being a club option. This isn’t the first time his job security has come under scrutiny: with reports earlier this year that Hollins was on the “hot seat,” Hollins responded thusly:
“The seat’s always hot,” Hollins said after his team’s practice. “It was hot when I sat in it for the first time as a coach. It’s a hot seat. Whatever goes down in that regard, I have no control over that. I don’t even worry about it, I don’t think about it, I don’t read about it. When it happens, it’ll probably be a surprise when it does — if it happens. But it’s just a job.
“Every job you have, you’re hired to be fired, at some point,” Hollins said. “Whether you win 56 games as I [did] before, or you don’t win. It’s just the nature of this business, and reporters and bloggers and fans and everybody has their opinion about what should be done, what’s wrong. I have no control [of that]. All I can do is come to work every day and do my job. And when it’s over, if somebody calls me up and says, ‘you’re not here anymore,’ I pack my [expletive] up and I go home.”
The Nets have struggled to close out games this season with a veteran team, having lost nine games in which they’ve led by double digits at any point. They’ve lost 12 games by double-digits and only won one, a 10-point victory over the Boston Celtics. Following their most recent loss, a 91-74 yawner to the Toronto Raptors, Hollins said “I’m not trying to take anything out of the game, I’m just trying to get wins.”
As is the norm in the NBA, speculation about job status follows losing teams with little upside. With Nets general manager Billy King’s contract also up this offseason, there’s also rumors that Russian principal owner Mikhail Prokhorov is grooming his replacement. One thing’s for sure: if the Nets keep spiraling, changes are inevitable.