Kiki Vandeweghe didn’t want to be the coach of this team, but Rod Thorn forced him into that role despite not having any coaching experience. Kiki was allowed to add Del Harris to the staff as a “co-coach,” though, and Coach Harris does in fact have a lot of experience, and let’s be honest here. Kiki might have the title of coach, but you know most of the decisions could (and should) be made by Del Harris. Del Harris has coached 14 seasons in the league and amassed 1013 and 556 (That’s a winning percentage of .549). He’s been around the block, and while going through the stats of his teams (and the teams that Kiki built in Denver), I noticed some trends that could help us as Nets’ fans figure out what to expect from here on out:
More Touches For Brook
A trend that I noticed when going through the Basketball-Reference pages of Del Harris’ teams was the number of shots his center got. In his first three years with Houston, Del Harris coached Moses Malone. Here are the number of shot attempts that Moses had:
- 79-80: 18.9
- 80-81: 19.3
- 81-82: 22.5
After getting fired in Houston after the 83 season, Harris’ next job was in Milwaukee. There, Harris wasn’t blessed with a Moses Malone type center, but he had Jack Sikma, who was a very good but aging player (32 in Harris’ first year). Here are his shot attempts per season:
- 87-88: 12.9 (3rd on team)
- 88-89: 10.4 (3rd on team)
- 89-90: 11.6 (4th on team)
After a few more years in Milwaukee, Harris was again let go. He resurfaced in the 94-95 season with the L.A. Lakers. His first two years there, Harris used a big man combo of Elden Campbell and Vlade Divac. And those two guys combined averaged 20+ shots combined (22.8 & 21). The 96-97 season brought a Shaq in his prime to Orlando, and here are his shot attempts per game.
- 96-97: 19.4
- 97-98: 19.1
- 98-99: 18.1
This year, Brook Lopez is getting 14.8 shots a game, which leads the team, but I (and I think most Nets’ fans agree with me) wish he was getting more touches down low and became a more productive player in the post. Del Harris has shown in years past that if you give him a terrific center in his prime (he had both Moses and Shaq when they were 24-26 years old), he will give him the ball. Now, I am not saying Brook is as good as Moses Malone or Shaq in his prime, but Brook could/should be the focal point of this offense, especially with Devin struggling to get his touch back returning from injury.
The Youth Movement
This is going to be all Kiki right here. When he arrived in New Jersey, he (along with Rod Thorn) made the decision to tear down the 3 headed monster of Jason Kidd, Richard Jefferson, and Vince Carter, and build it back up with young talent. Kiki has had a hand in acquiring guys like Yi, CDR, Devin, Courtney Lee, Brook Lopez, and Terrence Williams. Expect Kiki to give them more minutes and for guys like Trenton Hassell, Bobby Simmons, and Rafer Alston to go away. Kiki is going to want to showcase the guys he brought in and prove that if used correctly they could play well (Sort of how Bowers in New Orleans started playing the rookies he drafted when he took over, dispite Byron Scott refusing to do so).