With the Nets set to introduce Lionel Hollins as their 19th head coach, Zach Braziller profiles the 60-year-old, calling him "demanding and passionate." Talking to former players, teammates and his oldest son, Braziller paints a mostly positive portrait.
Chief among those who believe that Hollins will do well in Brooklyn is his former teammate in Portland and friend, Hall of Famer Bill Walton.
"He’s a guy who can inspire people to care. The success he will have in Brooklyn is a direct reflection of all his life experiences, from tough times as a child to incredible growth as a human being. He was able to use basketball to make a better life for himself, and now he’s at the pinnacle."
Braziller says that Hollins consistency has won him plaudits all along the way, that he's the same during a winning streak as he is when his club is losing. That he says is a recipe for success in New York.
"He has no agenda," his son Lamont said.
Although he supposedly doesn't develop young players at a pace fans might like, his Grizzly players praised him. Zach Randolph, who had a reputation as a knucklehead, became an all-star under him, as did Mike Conley Jr., who had been seen as an underachiever. And Marc Gasol, who came to the US with a reputation as being soft, wound up at the league's Defensive Player of the Year. More importantly, Hollins took a team in the NBA's smallest market --and without a superstar -- to the Western Conference Finals in his last year in Memphis.
"If they want to become excellent championship basketball player, Lionel Hollins is the guy who can take them there," added Walton. "Lionel Hollins can take these guys to the promised land."
YES will televise live the Holllins press conference at 10:30 ET this morning at the Barclays Center. Sarah Kustok will cover the press conference at the Barclays Center, while Bob Lorenz and Jim Spanarkel will host from YES’ studios.
Demanding and passionate, Hollins traveled long road to Nets - Zach Braziller - New York Post