With the NBA offseason underway for non-playoff teams, the Brooklyn Nets will embark on a coaching search and hire their sixth head coach (including interim coaches) since moving to Brooklyn in 2012.
With that in mind, The Brooklyn Game asked six players (including three with player options for next season) what qualities they look for in a head coach. Here are the answers they gave, verbatim.
Brook Lopez: Lots of different types work. There’s not obviously one way to do things. I think we just need an, obviously, a basketball mind, you know. I mean, I’m picking the bare minimum things here, but he needs to have the right attitude, and obviously I guess blend with the mindset and our goals here.
On if NBA coaching experience matters: I don’t think that’s the case. (One reporter) mentioned Brad Stevens. There’s lots of different examples. And obviously there’s options from a multitude of different areas, archetypes, whatever you may be.
Thaddeus Young: At the end of the day I’ve been a guy that’s been able to adjust to each and every situation. I think the only situation I had trouble adjusting to was my third year when I had Eddie Jordan. I just — the Princeton offense just didn’t work. It wasn’t that it wasn’t a good offense, it just didn’t work with the mesh of guys that we had. We had a young athletic team in Lou Williams, Jrue Holiday and Andre Iguodala and it’s just one of those things where passing and backdoor cuts and that stuff didn’t work for us. We had to get out in transition and try to get ourselves easy buckets.
But back to your question, the things I look for in a coach are his energy, the feel he brings to the gym each and every day, how successful he’s been with his players and his development in his players and how he believes in his players. If he can continue to bring something out of each and every one of his players each and every day and bring out something different that people haven’t seen, then that says a lot about him as a coach, and that’s something that I definitely would want in a coach. Somebody who lets you go out there and play and play through your mistakes and continue to get better in the process.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson: Someone who knows what it takes, someone who’s going to push us. Someone who has a winning mentality. You know, someone who cares, understanding the heat of the moment, don’t get — don’t have those battles, those times where it’s like (mimes confrontation). We get it. We might say this, say that, but it’s the heat of the moment, so don’t take it that way or anything like that. And then someone that fits with how we play.
Shane Larkin: I like a coach that’s straight up with you, tells you what he expects, and holds everybody accountable the first man to the fifteenth. That’s the coaching style I like. And that’s all you really ask for in a coach. I’m not going to sit here and say, ‘well I like a coach that plays me 40 minutes a game.’
You can pretty much just expect him to be straight up with you, if you’re going out and there and not playing well, he sits you down and explains you’re not doing what you’re supposed to do. Not a coach that says ‘oh, we love everything you’re doing,’ but behind your back, going to the other coaches like, ‘ugh, this guy can’t play.’ So that’s what I like in a coach.
Thomas Robinson: If you want to count all the teams, versus me actually saying the coaches that I actually caught a connection with, because I wasn’t anyplace long enough. But coach (Terry) Stotts from Portland, coach (Brett) Brown from the Sixers, tried to get closest with the coaching staff I could here, but with everything going on, it’s kind of tough. Those coaches allowed me to play. Coach Stotts gave me a disciplinary route, where he taught me how to do things and it made me open up and see the game different, as far as spots and stuff like that, defensive end. Then when I got with coach Brown with the Sixers, he allowed me to be free. Ton(y Brown) did the same thing going down the stretch, just allowed me to play basketball.
So basically what I’m saying is those coaches who allowed me to go out there and be a young player, make mistakes and learn from them, help me play off experience.
Wayne Ellington: I like a hard-nosed coach. I like a coach that’s going to be honest with you. I like a coach that’s going to build your confidence, and his ultimate goal is to play team basketball the right way and to win. That’s what it’s all about, winning and playing the right way and making sure you have your players’ back.