In an extensive Q. and A. with Mike Mazzeo, Lionel Hollins said he's excited about working with Jarrett Jack as his starting point guard this season, dismissing much of the criticism leveled at Deron Williams replacement. Hollins is in South Africa for the NBA's first game on the continent.
Asked if Jack can handle the starting job, Hollins defended the 31-year-old, who started 27 games last season.
"Why can’t he? He’s done it last year, he’s done it in Portland, he’s done it in Golden State -- wherever he’s been, he’s had moments where he’s had to start. And I think if a player is not starting [all the time], he gets a bad rap that he can’t be a starter. Well, that’s not the case. He’s been on teams with a lot of good starting point guards, and he’s done a great job of adding that depth that they have at point guard."
"I read a stat where we were 11-16 when he started, but only 4-10 when Deron didn’t play. But you can’t put how well we played on one player. It was a group effort when we lost and it was a group effort when we won. [Jack is] in great shape. I’m excited, he’s excited and going forward decisions are made, moves are made and me as a coach, I go out and try to do the best I can with what we have. And I’m excited about what we have and I look forward to coming to work and coming to training camp and putting it all together on the court."
In general, Hollins said he liked what the Nets have done with their roster, praising the versatility the younger, athletic roster provides. He also noted just how important Thaddeus Young was last year and how he expects that improvement to continue.
"I think with our core last year, I thought that when we added Thaddeus he gave us a more versatile 4. We played much better, and I think we’re able to go small based on how well our small people play together and how effective we can be."
Hollins said he thought D-Will would rebound in Dallas, noting he won't have the pressure he had in Brooklyn ... "the expectations that were on him, the burden of being in New York as a franchise player and all that." In other parts of the interview, Hollins spoke about the possibility of Joe Johnson coming off the bench --not likely-- and how a lot of his new players have "a lot to prove."
The Nets coach also spoke about his fifth trip to Africa and the honor of coaching Team World in Saturday morning's game vs. Gregg Popovich's Team Africa. The game starts at 9 a.m. and will be re-broadcast at 6 p.m.
- Q&A: Hollins on Nets' offseason, outlook - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- Hollins' Africa trip a 'life-changing experience' - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
Hollins on Jack handling starting point guard duties: "Why can't he?" - Chris Hooker - The Brooklyn Game