The Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday officially announced their new coaching staff, Kenny Atkinson and six assistants. The Nets have quietly assembled one of the NBA’s most intriguing coaching staff’s. The staff includes a mix of front row coaches, those who deal with x's and o's and the back benchers, who are concerned with player development, advance scouting, etc.. Two overriding themes: player development and international experience.
We know about Atkinson, the rookie head coach of the Brooklyn Nets who was named this spring after a previous eight NBA seasons as in assistant with the New York Knicks and Atlanta Hawks, but let’s look at who else will be responsible for the fate of this franchise.
--Jacque Vaughn, 41, the former 12-year NBA veteran who spent two seasons with the Nets and finished his career off with three seasons in San Antonio, which is where he earned his first coaching gig. Vaughn had spent his 2009-2012 years with the black and silver as an assistant to Greg Popovich, who’s obviously on the short list of greatest coaches of all-time.
Three years under Pop made Vaughn somewhat of a hot commodity before landing with the Orlando Magic with his first head coaching job in 2012 at only 37 years old. As you can tell, things didn’t go as planned with a Magic squad, who is continually struggling to find its identity in the post-Dwight Howard
Vaughn made it through two full seasons before getting fired mid-2014- 15 season after posting a dismal 58-158 record while leading the Magic’s failed youth movement experiment. Vaughn then returned to San Antonio in a player development role.
Unfortunately, Vaughn’s most famous moment still remains getting destroyed by Allen Iverson (as Net no less), but we’ll see if winning could help eradicate this from our memories…even though we just temporarily brought it back to light (sorry!).
-- Chris Fleming, 46, will be second lead. The New Jersey native most recently spent last season as an assistant with the Denver Nuggets. That might not excite anyone, but over the years Fleming developed a reputation as one of the best and most noteworthy head coaches in international basketball.
Fleming was one of the most decorated coaches in Germany, having been a four-time German Cup champion, a four-time German League champion, a three-time German Supercup champion, and a former German League Coach of the Year. Since 2015, he’s also been the head coach of the German National basketball squad, which gives the Nets two international team head coaches with Atkinson leading the way for the Dominican Republic since last year.
Fleming himself was a pro basketball player from 1994-2000 in Germany after spending four years as a
standout guard for the University of Richmond where he played college ball alongside Atkinson.
Fleming, easily the most accomplished coach in Brose Baskets history, whom he led from 2008-2014, is
thought of to be an offensive guru as he led some of the highest score clubs in European ball before coming back to the States.
--Adam Harrington, one of the younger coaches on staff at age 35, is one of the more interesting additions on hand for the Nets, player or otherwise. He was formerly Kevin Durant’s personal trainer, the Oklahoma City Thunder shooting coach, is known as a shooting specialist who assisted Durant in adding the Dirk Nowitzki single-legged (kind of ugly but effective) fadeaway jumper to his already potent arsenal.
In Brooklyn, Harrington will be an assistant coach, and more importantly he will serve as the director of player development. In recent years, Harrington has trained NBA and college athletes using With Purpose Basketball Training.
Harrington himself formerly played at NC State before transferring to Auburn, and subsequently embarked on a professional basketball career which spanned eight years, the first of which was with NBA playing with both the Dallas Mavericks and Denver Nuggets before traveling overseas.
--Jordan Ott, 31, is following Atkinson from the Hawks organization and will serve as an assistant coach along with director of advance scouting --that is scouting opponents.
While with the Hawks, Ott helped run draft workouts. He notably worked with Atkinson on the Hawks’ Las Vegas summer league squad as well as the Dominican National Team last summer. Before his time in Atlanta, Ott was the video coordinator for the Michigan State Spartans for half a decade.
At Michigan State, Ott also accompanied players to grow accustomed to new technology, as well as participating in scouting opponents.
--Mike Batiste is yet another assistant with extensive overseas experience. He too will deal with player development with a focus on big men.
Batiste has an extensive background as a former player. In the late 90’s, the 6’8 former big played for Arizona State and was a First-Team All-Pac- 10 player. In his lone NBA season (2002-03) he saw 16.6 minutes per game over the course of 75 contest where he posted 6.4 points and 3.4 rebounds per contest.
Over the next nine years he carved out a niche in Panathinaikos in Greece where he achieved many significant honors including Greek League MVP in 2010, Greek League Finals MVP, All-Euroleague First and Second teams, and he was a three-time Euroleague champion.
He coached the Cleveland Cavalier D-League affiliate Canton Charge as an assistant for the last two years.
--Bret Brielmaier, 28, who comes from the NBA champion Cavaliers, will receive a promotion from his job in Cleveland. He being elevated to the front of the bench. Sean Marks and assistant general manager Trajan Langdon have a close relationship with Brielmaier, who they've worked with in San Antonio.
Brielmaier in fact started in San Antonio, working for four seasons with the Spurs (2009-13), beginning his career as a player development assistant before becoming the team’s video coordinator for his final three seasons in San Antonio. Brielmaier played collegiately at the University of Arizona and he began his coaching career as an undergraduate assistant coach under Hall of Fame head coach Lute Olsen during the 2008-09 season.
--Will Weaver, 31, whose title is special assistant to Atkinson, is coming over from the Philadelphia 76ers. He will have a helping hand in player development and analytics. He will have the same role he did with the lowly 76ers.
Another tie to Durant, Weaver was an assistant at the University of Texas in KD’s lone season as a Longhorn.
Perhaps Durant should…never mind.
Technically, the Nets strength and conditioning coach is not a member of Atkinson staff, but works as part of the Nets performance team. He's new too.
--Dan Meehan, 34, who is the head strength and conditioning coach/sport scientist for the Nets. Meehan is making the transition to life in Brooklyn from way out in Australia, previously working for the North Melbourne Football Club.
Yes, an Aussie-based football coach is coming to the NBA, because why not? Two other S&T coaches around the league are Australian.
Apparently Meehan has had his eye on the NBA for some time. He had made visits in to training facilities in Milwaukee, Golden State and San Antonio last year.
This staff, it seems, is very, dare we say, Spurs like. With an accumulation of coaches with international experience which (hopefully) result in a clear emphasis on floor spacing and unselfishness, Is it fair to ask whether or not the Nets trying to resemble the Spurs style of ball? Is that the culture we’re seeing unfold here in Brooklyn? It would certainly seem that way.