About twenty minutes after his first month as Brooklyn Nets head coach, Lionel Hollinsunfolded a Netsboxscoreand was not pleased with the facts the numbers bore.
Hollins is maneuvering to fix a team that has dropped nine of 15 games, the latest a 102-84 loss to the Bulls Sunday that could have been even worse than the score dictates. In the loss, it was the same old Nets.
“It’s about being mentally tough,” Hollins said. “It’s about competing. It’s about making good decisions. It’s about being together 100% of the time, all the time, playing for each other for 48 minutes and giving effort every night. It just can’t be part time.”
It’s clear, right now, that the Nets do not possess that mental toughness. Despite a healthyDeron Williams and Kevin Garnett, playing reasonably well for someone in his 20th season,it’s been one disappointment after another for fans and management alike.
The flex offense that was supposed to showcase an effective inside-out game, based on ball movement, has not materialized and rim protection has become a murky proposition.On Sunday, the Bulls were 18-of-26 from inside 10 feet.
The Nets are also24thin assist percentage at 53.9 and 24thin offensive rebounding percentage. And they’re among the worst in making shots from 10 to 14 feet and in stopping shots from zero to five feet.
Overall, the Nets are a middling offense at best ranked No.18 with a defense that ranks in the NBA’s bottom third in nearly every category.
But the Nets continue to work to get better, and to run their system potently.Brook Lopez says they “know can be a great team” and Kevin Garnett says they have to “continue to work at their system.”
“There are all kinds of changes you can try, but that to me is just not sticking with the process of trying to work out way through it. It’s not easy. Kevin [Garnett] said it tonight — ‘It’s a process.’ It’s been said many times before — I don’t know who said it — but Rome wasn’t built in a day.