(Jason Schott – New York Sports Day)
Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov gave a very upbeat view of his team on Monday morning at Barclays Center, one day after firing General Manager Billy King and Head Coach Lionel Hollins with the team at 10-27.
Prokhorov said of the decision, Prokhorov said of his decision, “You know my business approach. I try to hire the best people I can find on the market and give them some time to make decisions. I don’t interfere in the day-to-day, but after some amount of time, I have to hit reality and make a change. things are not going in the right direction. This is what we have done, it was just very easy.For the time being, it’s clear we’re not doing the best. We showed flashes of potential, but we were not consistent.
“It’s clear from our current state of affairs that we need new leadership. With the right basketball management and coach in place, we are going to create a winning culture and identity and give Brooklyn a team that it can be proud of and enjoy watching,” said Prokhorov.
Prokhorov said he started thinking about making this move one month into the season.
Prokhorov said of his win-now attitude when he took over the team in 2010 compared to having a more deliberate approach, “I think I deserve championship now more than six years ago and I think we have been really bold and we did our best in order to reach championship. I still believe, with some luck, our results might have been more promising. I’ll do my best to make us a championship team. Now compared to six years ago, we have a state-of-the-art arena in New York City, we will have fascinating training facilities that will open next month. We’ll have a D-League team, so we’ll have a big amount of money under the cap next season, so we’ll have everything the best.
“I am really optimistic and now I’m 100 percent owner of the team and the arena. I am very committed to championship and I am all in,” said Prokhorov.
Prokhorov has been the majority owner of the Nets since 2010 and has made all decisions since then. He bought out Bruce Ratner’s minority stake in the team and majority stake in Barclays Center in December. The only thing that owning 100 percent of both changed is that he can dictate more of the ancillary events at the arena and it is far easier to sell the team and arena together than fragments of each. There have been rumors for the past year that Prokhorov has gotten appraisals and taken offers for the team.
The Nets will have a D-League team starting next season, and they are completely overstating what that team will do for them. The D-League is stocked with players that were not worthy of being drafted or can’t hang around in the NBA. It is not a true minor league like baseball or hockey have in place.
How is there an expectation of being a contender soon when the Nets have a current roster with four real NBA players?
Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson, Thaddeus Young, and Jarrett Jack were the only solid players Hollins was given to win with this season. What was he going to do, play them 48 minutes a night and hope they don’t get hurt?
The Nets overachieved for the first two months, but once Jack went down with a torn ACL in Boston a week ago, they have not been competitive. Shane Larkin and Donald Sloan, two borderline NBA players, have had to take larger roles at the point, to expectedly dismal results.
Prokhorov also made it seem like the Nets were not far from being a “championship contender,” which seems entirely unrealistic since they have no real draft picks and no players to build around.
Prokhorov also needs to learn that making the playoffs does NOT make you a contender. Were they really a contender last season after sneaking in the back door of the playoffs with a losing record of 38-44?
Prokhorov also implied that free agents will want to come here because of the “state of the art arena” and new training facility in Sunset Park. He doesn’t realize that ALL NBA teams have those fancy toys, that Barclays Center is no more special than any other arena, with the possible exceptions of Phoenix, Portland, Cleveland, Sacramento, or the Golden State Warriors arena in Oakland, and the Warriors are building a new facility in San Francisco.
How can you sell a free agent like Kevin Durant on an arena if the team on the floor is stocked with second-rate players and can’t sign multiple top-tier free agents?
In looking at the state of the franchise, Prokhorov said of the state of the team, “I can share with you my strategy, I think that I want to absolutely have a blueprint of what kind of players we will find and why in line with strategic guidance with the new coach and new GM. I think we need to have a sense of identity and style of play. Are we building a team around a franchise player or are we balancing with younger athletes without a superstar system. Are we three-point shooting, or defense, or speed? Of course, we can’t be anything at the same time, so it will be a very important decision with the new coach.
“I want to stress also a very important aspect with a new coach, and I think it’s really great. We are playing in the best market in the world, and of course, it is a market a lot of pressure and attention, and a very active press, and thank you to all of you. When it comes to players and coach, who can resist with this pressure? Who can survive? We need not only players who want to play for us, but who can play for us, so for me, it’s a very important lesson. We also need to enhance our development ability, we have to expand our search for talented people to carry out our new strategy,” said Prokhorov.
Prokhorov makes the process of rebuilding a franchise sound like going to pick out a new car. It will take a lot time and it is hard to see when this team will ever have a winning record again, let alone be a real contender.