We’ve spent this All-Star Break looking back at the best Nets in their best years, from Rick Barry to Deron Williams. But we need an All-Star coach to lead these guys.
Here’s the five choices:
Larry Brown: Few people in any discipline are as simultaneously well-traveled and well-respected as Larry Brown, a hired gun who’s coached for nearly a dozen teams and has ended just six seasons with a losing record. True to form, Brown spent two seasons in New Jersey, coached two winning Nets teams, and bolted for greener pastures six games before the end of his second season to coach at the University of Kansas. The Nets, who were 47-29 at the time Brown left in 1983, didn’t reach that winning percentage again until Jason Kidd joined the team nearly 20 years later.
Chuck Daly: Daly came to the Nets a ballyhooed choice after leading the Detroit Pistons to back-to-back NBA titles three years earlier with the Detroit Pistons. Daly didn’t win any titles with the Nets, but he got them to the playoffs in back-to-back seasons, leading them to a 45-37 record in his second year despite losing Drazen Petrovic to a tragic car accident and running a Nets team led by under-performers Kenny Anderson and Derrick Coleman. Hard to imagine anyone doing much better.
Lawrence Frank: I could point to Frank’s franchise-record thirteen-game winning streak to open his career, or how he nurtured Brook Lopez’s early development. I could point to his unparalleled work ethic, with 20-hour days and sleepless nights. I could point to his reputation around the league as a strong defensive mind with sound philosophies and a commanding voice. But I’ll just point to this: Jason Kidd’s going to make this team as a point guard. Obviously. Frank as the coach is the best possible outcome for hilarity’s sake by about thirty thousand miles. Help me make this dream come true.
Kevin Loughery: The first great Nets coach, Loughery is the franchise’s all-time winningest coach and the only one to win a championship in any league (earning two of the last three in ABA history). He did drink-spilling before Jason Kidd did drink-spilling.
Byron Scott: Scott led the Nets to two NBA Finals. I shouldn’t really need to say much else. He holds the franchise record for most playoff wins and the highest winning percentage of any coach that lasted longer than two seasons. He wore on Jason Kidd near the end of his tenure, but as the old saying goes, coaches are hired to be fired. Kidd may have led the two Finals squads, but Scott orchestrated the team’s league-best defense in those two years before getting the boot the next year.
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