1. Lionel Hollins
The latest: Nets will look into Lionel Hollins, Howard Beck reported, and that he is a top candidate for the job.
The skinny: Well, we’ve been here before, haven’t we? Hollins, a tough-nosed, defensive-minded coach, was unceremoniously ousted from Memphis after last season in lieu of Dave Joerger. After a solid slew of seasons that saw Hollins upset the San Antonio Spurs as the eighth seed in 2011 and reach the Conference Finals in 2013, differing views between him and management led to his dismissal.
Hollins played in the NBA for ten years from 1975-1985 and immediately joined the Arizona State coaching staff as an assistant after retiring. Following three years of that, Hollins was an assistant coach for Phoenix for seven years. After short one-year head coaching stints in both the International Basketball League and the United States Basketball League, Hollins served as an assistant for the Milwaukee Bucks before finally being offered the full-time head coaching job with the Grizzlies, the team he helped coach in the first year they were in Vancouver (1999) and in Memphis (2004).
It’s a mouthful, but the point remains: Hollins did it the right way. Hollins paid his dues and was eventually rewarded and success followed. Jason Kidd retired; became a head coach a few weeks later, demoted his former coach Lawrence Frank, had an average season by all accounts, got jealous of Derek Fisher, demanded control, and is on his way out. See the difference?
The verdict: Lionel Hollins has always had the respect of his team and that may be a crucial factor coming into this season after Kidd’s power play. If Kidd leaves and Garnett, Pierce, and Livingston follow, with Blatche and Anderson expected to leave too, they might need a coach who has a bead on his players like Hollins. The Nets might be able to do better than Hollins at this point, but they could do a whole lot worse.