Nets Fire Head Coach Lionel Hollins, Demote GM Billy King
Just a week after losing point guard Jarrett Jack for the year to a torn ACL, the Brooklyn Nets are making major changes. Per reports, the team will be moving in another direction with the firing of head coach Lionel Hollins and will be starting over at the top with GM Billy King officially demoted from his post.
Massive shakeup in Brooklyn: Lionel Hollins fired, GM Billy King steps down. pic.twitter.com/EA2R8JVPTh
— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) January 10, 2016
Brooklyn had gotten off to a horrid 10-27 start a year after making the NBA playoffs, and currently reside just six games above one of the worst teams in the entire league – the Philadelphia 76ers.
A fairly strong argument can be made that Lionel Hollins was never a great fit with the Nets, but an even stronger argument can be made that he was never equipped with a roster to make a serious run for a title. Just a few years ago Brooklyn had savvy veterans like Deron Williams and Paul Pierce in place, but D-Will never seemed comfortable in New York and Pierce quickly fled for greener pastures. An often injured Brook Lopez also contributed to Brooklyn’s struggles.
It wasn’t all bad for Hollins, who did help Brooklyn to the playoffs in his first season on the job, but in what was still a weak Eastern Conference at the time, couldn’t get the Nets to even .500 during the regular season. Hollins took over a Nets team that was regressing in terms of talent and competitiveness, however, and was increasingly inferior compared to an improving Eastern Conference.
It’s also worth mentioning that Hollins was used at least somewhat as a scapegoat, with not even two full years at the helm. Hollins didn’t come into his latest gig by accident, either, as he had found considerable success running the show in Memphis, where he had previously guided the Grizzlies to three straight playoff trips, including a loss in the 2012-13 Western Conference Finals.
While Hollins may not have looked like a bad hire two years ago, he hasn’t been able to get the Nets over the hump and instead the team even got worse. With change being absolutely necessary, Brooklyn turned their sights on the future with this latest shake-up. That could help get their 2015-16 season turned around, but the more likely goal is to simply begin rebuilding for the future.
After just locking up big men Thaddeus Young and Brook Lopez to long-term deals, that should involved surrounding them with a respectable supporting cast – something they haven’t had this year.
It won’t be a quick fix and may take a few years before the Nets return to the playoff discussion, but at least in the interim, Brooklyn realized that they needed to move on from Hollins before they can see any clear signs of progress. King being demoted from his GM role also puts more of a focus on better personnel, which should bleed into the draft and may even open the door to some big trades before the season is up.
The immediate future looks bleak for the Nets, but the quick moves Brooklyn just made at least ensure that they’re not content being where they’re at. NBA bettors may want to continue to refrain from banking on the Nets on a per game basis this season, but perhaps as soon as next season the team could start to realize its potential.
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