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Lionel Hollins proving he is, as advertised, 'old school'


Old school, it is.

Everyone says it, from pundits to players: Lionel Hollins is "old school" and he certainly shown that is an accurate assessment, if you consider "old school" being about "practice, practice practice," he said at Media Day, or putting the team over individual needs or making sure his big man utilizes his size in the post, not on the perimeter.

On Monday, Jarrett Jack described what the team's been going through as "mentally pushing it and pushing it ... three days of very, very productive practices."

And as Andy Vasquez tweets, even Kevin Garnett is impressed.

After Tuesday's morning session, Hollins spoke about the team concept. It could be considered lip service if he hasn't said it so often, if it hadn't become his mantra.

"It's not about individuals. For me, It's about the team. and what we're doing as a group," he told writers "It's hard to break down and talk what I'm expecting from one guy versus what I'm expecting from another guy when I'm expecting things from the group."

On his big man, Hollins emphasized where he thinks a big man should be.

"I don't know if you heard me holler at (Lopez) to get in the paint," Hollins told the writers, "but I still want him to be where he's supposed to be as a seven-footer...

"If you’re just counting on hitting jump shots every night, or you have to count on playing fast in order to win, you can never slow the game down and use your time," Hollins added, in another recurring theme. "You always have to play fast to be effective. It’s nice to have a big guy that you can always throw the ball into and take pressure off, force guys to double-team, and it activates the defense to have to scramble.

That doesn't mean Lopez won't have freedom of movement.  "He has the freedom to shoot a jump shot,’’ said Hollins.

One more old school moment. "I just wanted to," he replied when asked why he had given Deron Williams the day off. He wasn't hurt or sick, just excused.  On Monday, when asked why he canceled the evening practice, Hollins responded, "I don’t know. Sometimes I feel like a nut, sometimes I don’t."

His players seem to appreciate it.  Lopez spoke about what Hollins plan is for him.

"It's been a mixture of high post and low post, depending on our set," Lopez said when asked where he's getting his shots. "It's been a lot of moving the ball, we have a lot of smart guys that can move the ball. So we want to take advantage of that."

Other than D-Will's and Andrei Kirilenko's absence, there wasn't much news, but Joe Johnson said he was disappointed in his play last year and wants to get to the line more and help the bigs on the boards.  He also expressed his gratitude to the Nets.

"I've had a lot of fun playing in the big city. I never even thought I would play in New York, so to be able to play in Brooklyn starting off a new franchise has been unbelievable for me, " said Johnson. "This has been a great ride and hopefully I can continue it."