Under newly minted head coach Jacque Vaughn, the Nets have surged to a solid 3-2 record. Brooklyn seems to be thriving, at least in the short term, under the new leadership, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN. Vaughn had been a seven-year assistant with the Nets under various head coaches before he was promoted, first to interim head coach, and then to head coach in the wake of Steve Nash‘s dismissal earlier this year.
“I was excited for him,” Brooklyn All-Star Kevin Durant said. “I know the work that he puts in every day. I know how much he cares about the development of each player, and this team as a whole. Look forward to playing for him. All the guys have responded to how he wants us to play, so I’m looking forward to how we progress after this.”
The hiring of Vaughn marks a historic moment for the league at large, per Marc J. Spears of Andscape, as he is the 16th current Black head coach in the NBA, an all-time high. Spears notes that the NBA is comprised of 71.8% Black players, per Statistica.
Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports opines that the hiring of the player-friendly Vaughn represents an important move for Brooklyn’s future.
“You could see the way the guys gravitated towards Jacque and his coaching and teaching and charismatic attitude,” a Nets employee told Fischer, referring to his previous stint as an interim coach in 2020.
There’s more out of Brooklyn:
- According to Ian Begley of SNY.tv, the Nets intend to see if Vaughn will be able to continue winning with the team’s current personnel before ultimately making a determination on how to move forward, be that trying to contend or attempting to retool the roster.
- Nets team president Sean Marks indicated that he spoke with Durant prior to making the official decision to hire Vaughn for the long haul, but wasn’t necessarily soliciting his input, tweets Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News. “I update the players and the players knew ahead of time, but again, Kevin’s job here is to go and play basketball, and that’s what he wants to do,” Marks said. “So that decision was not up to Kevin.”
- With point guard Kyrie Irving suspended indefinitely, the Nets have been significantly improved in every way, writes Mike Vaccaro of The New York Post. The team has gone 3-1 since Irving was banished. Vaccaro adds that lately Brooklyn has been actively looking to share the ball and appears to have stepped up defensively.
- Part of the reason Brooklyn has improved as of late has been depth. Mark W. Sanchez of The New York Post notes that guards Edmond Sumner, starting for Irving, and Seth Curry have been key contributors recently. “He’ll continue to do that, set the tone,” Vaughn said of Sumner, who missed the entirety of the 2021/22 season following an Achilles tendon tear. “He just makes a difference. He’s engaged, he gets the rest of the group engaged.” Curry, meanwhile, is one of the league’s most lethal long-range specialists. “I still got a long ways to go physically, I’m still working my way back,” Curry noted. He has been recovering from a left ankle scope in May. “Just trying to keep a good mindset of work every day and come to the game bringing energy no matter what. I’m going to make shots, like I said, eventually.”