Posted by Rick Laughland Posted on 7:26:00 PM with No comments
A Net Fans Favorite during his time with the New Jersey Nets, Jason Kidd was the impetus for the franchise's only two finals appearances in 2002 and 2003 and became one of the most beloved players across the NBA.
After forcing his way out of the Garden State in 2008 while faking migraine headaches and then demanding a pay raise after serving just one rollercoaster year as Brooklyn's head coach, Kidd finds himself in basketball purgatory with the Milwaukee Bucks. Nets fans will always look back fondly on Kidd's ability to transform a downtrodden franchise, but his unceremonious exit as both a player and head coach have somewhat tainted what could have been a pristine legacy.
With Kidd's time as a Nets player and coach now only a distant memory, former Memphis Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins leads the charge for Brooklyn. Under Hollins' watch, the Grizzlies were a perennial playoff contender and reached the Western Conference Finals in 2013 before getting outclassed by a savvy Spurs team in four games. Memphis' front office and Hollins didn't see eye=to-eye and his coaching philosophy ultimately clashed with the organization's belief in basketball metrics influencing playing time.
In his first year with the Brooklyn Nets, Hollins' strong emphasis on defense and rebounding will need to resonate with big man Brook Lopez who will be counted on to play at an elite level after Paul Pierce joined the Washington Wizards during free agency. It will be interesting to watch how the pieces of the puzzle fall into place, but with a younger roster and more seasoned coach, the Nets could be in a better position than last year to contend in an Eastern Conference that is truly up for grabs in 2014.