In an interview with the NBA’s Spanish language website, Nets assistant coach Pablo Prigioni says the organization values diversity in its coaching staff, whether it’s diversity of opinion ... or national background.
“You evolve in the diversity of opinion,” said Prigioni, who Sean Marks hired in the off-season. “There are many NBA teams that have seen or have been interested in having within their large staff people from other places, with another vision of how to train and play. Including a person with a different vision within the group gives value to that group. I think everything goes around and it seems right and interesting.
“If you have a group of seven or eight coaches and they all think the same, maybe you don’t have a debate and you do not improve as you should,” he added. As for the Nets, he said, “They respect the FIBA game a lot, and having someone who can give you such a perspective is always good.”
Prigioni, who is Argentine, was a Spanish and Euroleague star before coming to the NBA late in his career. He is not the only Nets coach with overseas experience. Kenny Atkinson, of course, played 14 years in Europe and was an assistant coach on the Georgian national team and head coach of the Dominican Republic national team.
Chris Fleming was until last season head coach of the German national team. Will Weaver, the head coach of the Long Island Nets, is an assistant coach of the Australian national team. The two development coaches, Adam Harrington and Travon Bryant, both played in Spain.
Prigioni says his work as an assistant falls into two broad categories. He works with certain players directly and works within the staff.
“I have some players who I’m in charge of, helping and training them individually,” said Prigioni without naming them (one is Dzanan Musa).
I have to be aware of them, of their game and their development. At the same time I have responsibilities in coaching them. I also have to participate like all the assistants. What I like most is that the coach (Kenny Atkinson) has a great way of leading the staff that’s ideal.
“Everyone has —and can give— their opinion, and that’s in line with the organization. I try to give opinions on the things that I know about.”
Prigioni was sought by several teams after he left a coaching gig in Baskonia last year, saying he wasn’t ready to be a head coach. He’s enjoyed his time with the Nets.
“I am very comfortable, learning a lot,” he said. “The NBA is another world, the staff is very big and having so many people, you can go very deep into every aspect of the game.
“Sometimes I talk to friends and I say that my head is getting bigger with all the new and different things I’m seeing. As a player you think you know all of them, but when you come to this side you realize that there are many things to come and control. It is being a great experience that I enjoy a lot.”