Lionel Hollins, Brooklyn Nets
Traditionally, I’ve refrained from advocating for the removal of a head coach. Personally, I feel that the increasing disposability with which we treat head coaches is something that has plagued the NBA. In this case, though, I must admit that Lionel Hollins doesn’t necessarily seem to be the right fit for the Brooklyn Nets. That, however, is due to no fault of his own.
Personally, I am a big fan of Hollins. I like his no nonsense attitude and demeanor. I like that he is a straight shooter. I like that he has some traditional basketball values and demands that his players play both ends of the floor hard and that his big man anchor his team on both ends of the court.
What I don’t like is Lionel Hollins being in a rebuilding situation since he doesn’t appear to have the stomach or the guts for it. He has slowly but surely begun to look and sound like a coach who didn’t sign up for what he is being subjected to.
Since Mikhail Prokhorov took over the franchise, the demand for general manager Billy King and his staff has been to—somehow—find a way to win a championship. The team traded away its future assets to acquire pieces that could help in the immediate term, but with the departures of Paul Pierce, Jason Kidd, Kevin Garnett, Andray Blatche and Deron Williams, the Nets are now a sinking ship.
Even worse, they are a sinking ship without quite a few of their draft picks. For Hollins, after being shown the door in Memphis, he was eager to re-enter the coaching ranks. Billy King approached him with an opportunity and, feeling that he had a roster capable of accomplishing some good things, Hollins accepted.
Now, less than two years later, instead of leading a fringe contender that was one or two pieces away from contending—which is what Hollins thought he was getting—he is leading a team full of young, inexperienced players and losing a lot of games.
As someone who covers the Nets closely and has been around the team since its arrival in Brooklyn, I can tell you, first hand, that Hollins lacks the patience and poise required of a coach in a rebuilding situation. From what I’ve heard, there have been more than a few instances where his frustration has boiled over with his players in practice, with one of Hollins’ former players telling me that he felt that Hollins spent more time complaining about the things that were going wrong than explaining what he actually wanted from his players.
A good coach in his own right, I think Hollins would be better served by taking over a team that was closer to competing for a playoff spot and perhaps the conference crown than one that was clearly tearing itself down and beginning an extended rebuilding process.
– Moke Hamilton