The pecking order next season

Coach Lionel Hollins talks about the difficulty he had with Grizzlies this season. If our Nets don't land a top tier free agent, I'm worried we could face similar challenges next season.

GC: Here’s the other thing that bothers people about Hasheem. They don’t get the sense that he wants to be great. From the outside, he seems to take a very casual approach to the game. Even you have questioned his intensity at different times.

LH: We have the same issue with the majority of our team. It’s the new wave of player. It’s not as important to these players anymore. They’re already going to get paid. They’re going to get a second contract before they’re the player that they’re going to be. So what’s the motivation for you to go out there and bust your (butt) extra? We set up times before practice for guys to work and we set up times after practice for guys to work. Why do we have to set times? Because none of them will be in gym once that two-hour block of practice is over. They’re not going to come early unless you make them, they’re not going to stay late. That’s the whole group, that’s around the NBA. There’s very few where you see guys like LeBron is in the gym four hours before a game. That’s the exception, that’s not the rule. We’re dealing with a whole new group of young people who think they’re entitled to stardom and money just because they’ve gone through the process. And it takes a few years to get them to play together and understand it’s not about your numbers or his numbers but about the team’s wins and losses and going out there and playing every night.

GC: Who gets that on your team?

LH: Marc (Gasol) is probably the No. 1 guy that gets it. And No. 2 would be right there, Mike Conley. They’re 1 and 1A.

GC: Does it say something about American basketball that the guy who gets it better than anyone else is from Spain?

LH: It says a lot about our society and how there’s no growth, there’s no starting here and working your way up. As soon as one of these kids shows that he can score a little bit or can dunk on somebody or is faster than everybody, he’s elevated to another level. And from that point on, he’s allowed to do things or not do things that everybody else doesn’t get. Look at the mid-majors. Why do they have such success against those high-powered schools? They have a higher skill level, they play together as a team, they stay around. Why would John Wall ever think about making a sacrifice for Kentucky? Why would (Eric) Bledsoe, why would (Demarcus) Cousins? There’s no reason. "I’m only here for one reason, I’m going to be here for one year, I’m going to try to score as many points as I can so I can be drafted as high as I can." What does that say? Now he comes to the NBA and he wants to be a star, he gets drafted 1, 2, 3, 4, whatever it is. And now he goes to a team, and they’ve already got a lot of pieces, and they just want you to come and fit in. He wants to come in and be the man. Whoever it is, I’m not talking about John Wall personally, whoever it is. And now they’re struggling and they’re fighting the game and the media is saying, "Well, you should be doing this, you did this in college, and how come you’re not doing this here?" So now he’s going out and he wants to show everybody that he can. But he doesn’t help the team win. And that’s why you have to give Oklahoma City credit, they have great chemistry. But they also have a pecking order. Durant is the man, there’s no question in anybody’s mind that he’s the man.

GC: What’s your pecking order?

LH: We don’t have one.

GC: Can you win without a pecking order?

LH: Yeah, if everybody is willing to make sacrifices. I think Zach is probably our pecking order. And then Rudy and O.J. are 2 and 2a, depending on the night. But all those guys made sacrifices. Rudy made great sacrifices, O.J. made great sacrifices, to allow the guy who helped us make the biggest improvement get established. Once he was established, they just felt in line. They knew he was the man who was going to butter the bread. So we do have a slight pecking order. But when you have a group of nothing but young players, that’s a fight every day.

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