Given how depleted Brooklyn’s roster is as a result of injuries and opt-outs, head coach Jacque Vaughn will face a tall task in Orlando this summer as he looks to help the Nets secure a playoff spot and make some noise in the postseason, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post.
Vaughn, who took over for former head coach Kenny Atkinson less than a week before the NBA went on hiatus in March, won his first two games, but will be without Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, DeAndre Jordan, Wilson Chandler, Nicolas Claxton, and possibly Spencer Dinwiddie when play resumes.
Given the unusual circumstances, the Nets’ evaluation of Vaughn this summer will be about more than just his record in Orlando, general manager Sean Marks said on Wednesday, as Lewis writes in a separate story.
“It’s completely unfair to say it’s going to be about wins and losses at this point. Jacque has been a prominent part of this organization the last four years,” Marks said. “We know what Jacque is about and the type of person he is and the character and the leader that he is. … We’ll just see what happens down the line.”
Although the Nets are considered a good bet to conduct a full-fledged coaching search at season’s end, reports have indicated that Vaughn has a legitimate chance to claim the permanent job. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reiterated that point during his Woj Pod podcast this week, suggesting that he’d take Vaughn against the field if he were predicting Brooklyn’s 2020/21 head coach (hat tip to RealGM).
Here’s more on the Nets:
- Despite their gutted roster, the Nets never entertained the possibility of skipping the NBA restart altogether, Marks said on Wednesday, per Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press. “Look, we have a job to do,” the GM told reporters. “Again, we have to bring a team to Orlando. We will bring a team to Orlando. We will go down there and we will compete. That’s our jobs here.”
- Although Kevin Durant won’t be active – or in attendance – when the Nets resume play later this month, the former MVP will continue to have a voice in the team’s basketball decisions leading up to the 2020/21 season, according to Marks. “He continues to be a very loud voice in terms of where we’re going in the future and what we’re doing and I involve him like the other players and staff and how we’ll continue to build this team and how we move forward,” Marks told reporters, including Ian Begley of SNY.tv. The GM added that he’s been in touch with Durant regularly since the hiatus began in March.
- Marks also confirmed on Wednesday that Kyrie Irving won’t be part of the Nets’ traveling party to Orlando this summer, writes Begley.