Deron Williams: Nets “deeper than last year,” Lionel Hollins talks lineups

Lionel Hollins
Lionel Hollins faces low odds to win Coach of the Year. (AP)

Nets coach Lionel Hollins and point guard Deron Williams spoke with Sirius XM NBA radio hosts Frank Isola and friend of The Brooklyn Game Jerry Stackhouse to talk about the team.

Williams was asked about the departure of Paul Pierce, and also cited Shaun Livingston as a big loss for the franchise. He did not mention Andray Blatche, who signed a deal in China. “I think we’re a little bit deeper than we were last year,” Williams said, citing new additions Bojan Bogdanovic and Jarrett Jack, as well as the development of second-year center Mason Plumlee and third-year forward Mirza Teletovic.

He also doesn’t see the Nets as a “blazing fast” team, but expects them to run a bit more than they did last season, when they finished 25th in the league in pace and 29th in fast break points per 100 possessions. Instead, they’ll be “running wide, running hard, running through … (to) cause confusion,” Williams said, pointing to Hollins’s offensive philosophy predicated on ball movement, as well as his own personal goal to set up teammates for quick, easy baskets.

Williams added that he didn’t speak with Kevin Garnett over the summer, when Garnett was reportedly pondering retirement. “KG kinda goes into hibernation in the summertime,” Williams joked, adding that he’d kept up to date with Garnett’s decision-making process through Nets GM Billy King, and expected him back after seeing Garnett in the gym on the first day back.

Hollins, who said he’d never spoken with Garnett before this season, called him “very enthusiastic” and “very vocal” in practices.

He also hinted at the idea that Garnett, who played much better last season at center than power forward, might play some backup 5 this year. “(Jarrett Jack) and Deron can play along(side), one can play on the ball, one can play off of it. Then you got Joe Johnson at 3, you got KG, I don’t know who the 4 — the 5 might be in that situation, sometimes it could be Brook, maybe we want to go quicker, put KG at 5 and put somebody else at 4,” Hollins said. “It just depends on the situation. There’s a lot of options out there.”

“Part of the challenge is not letting him know how good he can be, but letting him know that he has more to offer than just 20 points a night,” Hollins said of his big man. “That he needs to rebound, that he needs to pass, that he needs to play defense, take charges, and block shots, all of those things that contribute to winning. Some guys go through their whole career and they never get challenged outside of the box. Once you get outside of your comfort zone, then you can grow.”

Full audio from each interview below, courtesy of Sirius XM NBA’s Soundcloud.