Last summer, as I sat and watched the Brooklyn Nets announce the newly-retired Jason Kidd as head coach, I yelled and stomped my feet.
By no means am I a Nets fan, and I only despised them even more as they added Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to their roster. The reason I was so fiercely dumbfounded by Kidd as a head coach was his freshness. Many former players go through the steps of assistant positions for years until they finally get the call as the skipper.
It’s not just the lack of Kidd’s experience that enthralled and enraged me, but instead the fact that Brooklyn had the ability to do some serious damage in the NBA‘s Eastern Conference.
With the highest salary cap last season, the Nets and owner Mikhail Prokhorov had all of their eggs in one basket. Kidd wasn’t fit for this, and it became evident before the season started with his DWI suspension. It carried over into the season as Kidd fought with assistant Lawrence Frank, and pulled bush-league moves such as spilling a drink on the court to get a free timeout.
All the signs pointed to Kidd’s hiring being a mistake, especially as Brooklyn sat amongst the bottom half of the conference for much of the season, eventually making a pitiful attempt against the Miami Heat in the Eastern semis.
Finally, it seems that the Nets have realized their mistake and have moved on. It was reported that Kidd wanted more say in the basketball operations of the organization. To any right-minded person, that would be silly talk. So, they went their separate ways; Kidd to the Milwaukee Bucks to rot away with an eroding franchise, and Brooklyn hiring Lionel Hollins.
It was surprising when the Memphis Grizzlies let go of Hollins a season ago considering his success of 18 playoff wins in three seasons, but the gain is all Brooklyn’s. With a solid “Big 3″ of Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson and Deron Williams; Hollins has plenty to work with.
There is still plenty to be played out this offseason and summer across the league, but the Nets have made a huge upgrade already with Hollins. It is too bad that Hollins wasn’t brought on last season, because he may have made a huge difference. Lopez did get injured, amongst other ills that plagued the team, but there was still plenty of talent for the Nets to be a threat.
It being so early in the summer for the association, I hate to make any bold predictions, but here we go: the Brooklyn Nets will be a top-four team in the East this upcoming season. There, I said it — now hold me to it.
Shane Phillips is an NBA Writer for RantSports.com. Follow Shane on Twitter @ShaneRantSports, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google. You can also email Shane at ShaneRantNBA@gmail.com.