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Pregame Notes & Quotes: Jacque Vaughn on lineup Changes, Milwaukee Bucks, and more

Jacque Vaughn talks about Brooklyn’s lineup changes tonight and the challenge presented by the Milwaukee Bucks.

Denver Nuggets v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

The Brooklyn Nets find themselves short handed tonight going against the one of the conference’s top teams in the Milwaukee Bucks. Playing this one as the latter part of a back-to-back sequence, the team plans to be careful with its personnel, hence Spencer Dinwiddie, Cameron Johnson, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Nic Claxton sitting out.

Prior to the contest, Jacque Vaughn broke down what went into these decisions. He also discussed the challenges Milwaukee presents with two of the league’s top guns in Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard.

Q: Last night you talked about coming back and assessing the guys. What did that assessment reveal that affected tonight’s status report? (via Meghan Triplett)

We’ve been banged up and I’m trying to get guys through whatever it takes to individually have themselves ready for the next game. The only guy that’s essentially resting tonight is Spencer [Dinwiddie]. You got maintenance from Nic [Claxton] and CJ [Cam Johnson]. Just nagging injuries. This game unfortunately presents an opportunity where I have to think short term and long term and make executive decisions for the betterment of the group. So that’s what we are tonight. Dorian Finney-Smith did present after the game, after being assessed, that same knee of sorts that he missed a game with. So again, just being smart about what’s presented in front of us. I really look back at our Jazz game and that West Coast road trip, whether it was guys who maybe didn’t reveal they were dealing with sicknesses and had to get through games, and still play high level teams. I think that wore on us, so now we’re trying to play a little catch up. We got another back to back besides this one tonight coming up and some road game sets that are pretty tough.

Q: What challenges to Dame and Giannis present together? (via Michael Charles)

There’s a few things. The pickup points from Dame and his ability to shoot the basketball from deep. That automatically extension defense. And so you need to be more compact to guard Giannis because at the end of the day he’s number one at getting to the rim. That conversion between those two makes it pretty difficult for you. You have to pick your poison. When are you going to really protect the paint and then put Dame in uncomfortable positions? Their ability to play pick and roll, to space the floor, to play in transition with the deep ball, and getting to the rim is pretty challenging.

Q: Considering the changes you made last night vs the Pistons, are you any closer to figuring out who you want to be in the starting lineup going forward? (via Sharif Phillips-Keaton)

Hopefully we will continue to get guys back healthy. We’re still without Ben [Simmons] and still without Lonnie [Walker] right now. I think with this group of guys, if we stay injury free, you’ll start to see some combinations that work really well and some that we want to stay away from. I think there is a stigma to starting the basketball game, to get your name called first, which is great. But you still can be subbed in the first two minutes of a game and still be a star that night. Last night, Dorian Finney-Smith did not start but he played all 12 minutes in the fourth quarter. So, what do you prefer? For me as a coach, I just want the best lineup out there that’s gonna give us a chance to win on a nightly basis. That’s how I will judge it and I’ll be honest with the guys and have those conversations up front with them.

Q: Was there any reasoning behind Mikal Bridges playing tonight? What did you assess from him looking at the minutes he’s played throughout the season? (via Meghan Triplett)

Mikal is right there in that boat, especially with USA basketball and the things that he did this summer. It’s a long summer for him. Obviously, let’s be upfront and honest, he has a streak going on that he doesn’t want to end, so that’s understandable. But at the same time, I’ll treat each guy on an individual basis. When Dorian Finney-Smith comes to me and he’s questionable after being assessed, and he played 34 minutes last night, and 12 minutes straight, and he already had a sore knee, then I’m gonna be smart about it. I’m gonna sit him tonight. We’re gonna be smart about individually assessing our guys and putting them in a position to have a team that we can have at the end of the year, middle of the year, and right now.