Hollins on Nets: “We have a lot of work to do”

Nets Head Coach Lionel Hollins enters this season ready to establish a new, tougher attitude for the Nets, and on Media Day, he spoke about what he has seen from the Nets and the potential they have.

On what he would like the characterization of the Nets to be with him at the helm, Hollins said, “A team that’s going to work hard every day and walk in the gym trying to get better, being aggressive, competing. I want to be a team that, when we shoot 36 percent, we still win the game. I don’t want a team that thinks it can go out and play when everything goes well, but one that can play and grind it out no matter the circumstances.”

Right now, the Nets starters are Garnett at power forward, Brook Lopez at center, Deron Williams at point guard, and Joe Johnson at shooting guard or power forward. The fifth starter job will likely go to Alan Anderson, Andrei Kirilenko, Jarrett Jack, or Bojan Bogdanovic. Hollins said of the battle for the fifth spot, “Yes, it’s open competition, and that’s across the board…It’s going to be a guard. Joe Johnson’s going to be a “3” (power forward). But, as I say that, I don’t want to be held to that because 2 and 3 are the same position, basically like 4 and 5 are same position, technically. I am looking for one of those guys to be able to play guard. We don’t have a lot of small forwards. Bojan to me is a guard, Alan Anderson is a guard, and AK and Joe at small forward.”

On how the roster looks: “We have a lot of work to do, a lot of work to do. I mean, there’s a lot of possibilities, but we have a lot of work in terms of being aggressive and just the whole ball of wax to be a good team. There’s a lot of things, but we have some talent, and it’s about meshing that talent and being a solidified unit that goes out and does what they need to every day.”

On what Kevin Garnett can bring to the Nets this season: “I see that he’s in great shape, and I’ve never been around, I can’t say never, Tony Allen was like that, guys that are so vocal. He’s constantly talking and that energy is contagious, it bodes well, and I look for him to have a good year.”

On Garnett’s leadership and what his effect on the team: “Leadership stuff is overrated, you just go out and play your game and do your job and you’ll lead by example and you try to help your teammates be better, and KG’s done that his whole career and I expect him to continue to do that.”

On his early impressions of newly-signed forward Bojan Bogdanovic of Croatia: “I like him, he’s a basketball player, he’s not just a shooter. I’m excited about the possibility for him.”

On what he would like to change from a coaching perspective: “I want to fix everything so we can win a championship. Every time you go into a season, no team is perfect at the start, it’s something that’s a process that the team has to be developed into being the team they want to be and that I have expectations for.”

On if it easier as a new coach to take over a team filled with veterans: “This team has to be molded as well; it has nothing to do with age. The thing that’s nice is most of these guys have been in the league and have contributed and have accomplished things. That makes it easier from that perspective versus having a lot of rookies that are trying to figure their way around the league and they’re learning from scratch, whereas these guys will be learning a new system and how I like things done and learning each other because we have some new players.”

Hollins said of his system and whether he will have Joe Johnson post up: “Just to clarify, we did have Rudy Gay in Memphis and he posted up a lot at small forward. We’re going to utilize everything that can help us win and help our players be effective. In general, I’m looking for a system that involves a lot of people on every possession so that whoever has the ball that’s open can shoot. We have a lot of guys that can shoot, we have a lot of good decision-makers, high IQ guys, I want to utilize that, take advantage of all the personnel on the floor. I’m not going to say ‘we’re not going to isolate’ and I’m not going to say ‘we’re not going to post up,’ but that’s not going to be our focal point.”

On if he wants Brook Lopez to be more of a rebounder or to “box out” like he has throughout his career: “I want him to be a rebounder, we’ve had many conversations, that’s one of the things I will be challenging him on is not just rebounding, but also being better defensively, guarding the basket better. We’ve talked about that every day that I’ve run into him on the court. We’ve talked about both he and Plumlee, they’re our big guys, you have to come back, rebound and get the board, as our bigger guy and athletic guy, they have to rebound. You can’t win without securing the ball.”

On the state of the Eastern Conference and what opportunity the Nets have: “Well, the East is going to be strong. There’s a lot of good teams in the East, and some young teams that came on the scene, Washington, Toronto both jumping up, Atlanta got a little help, they made the playoffs last year, Charlotte jumped on the scene, they’re going to be better, obviously Chicago’s going to be better, Cleveland’s gonna be better, Miami’s not going to be lunchmeat, they’re going to still be a team to deal with, they’re always going to be organized, well coached, prepared, and they still have (Chris) Bosh, Dwyane Wade. There’s a lot of good teams in the East, and I don’t care where we are. It’s not important to even know or have an expectation because, ultimately, we have to go out on the court and get it done. Every one of these teams that people are saying is going to be the Number One seed or top four in the East, it doesn’t matter because you have to go play the games and go and do it, and that’s what we want to do, go out and try to.”



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