With the departure of Kenny Atkinson, the Brooklyn Nets have turned to Jacque Vaughn to guide the team through the remainder of the season, and he made his debut in Sunday’s 110-107 win over the Chicago Bulls.
It was a quick turnaround to an afternoon tip-off in a whirlwind weekend for Vaughn, who was installed in the position Saturday morning. After receiving calls from Atkinson and general manager Sean Marks regarding the moves, he joined Marks in addressing the players and informing them of the change.
“I think overall that it’s a great challenge ahead of us, 20 games to make some noise and get the most out of this team and out of this year,” said Vaughn on Saturday at HSS Training Center. “Guys seem excited about that challenge, and also seemed excited about just being open and honest and just transparent with communication and relationships.”
Dealing with the sudden switch on Saturday, Vaughn said he didn’t have the opportunity to be on the floor with the team during its workouts. But he did meet individually with each player and coaches.
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“I think the one thing Sean’s been big about since day one is collaborative effort,” said Vaughn. “And that’s across the coaching staff, across performance staff. And that’s having ideals that, at the end of the day, is collaborative. I talked to the guys today about radical truth and radical transparency. And we need that. I believe they want it. And I’m in a position to be a part of it.”
Vaughn joined the Nets as an assistant coach before the 2016-17 season, one of the team’s initial coaching hires after Marks brought in Atkinson as the team’s head coach. Vaughn had been a scout for the San Antonio Spurs the season before, when Marks was the team’s assistant GM before being hired by the Nets in February
While Vaughn and Marks both got their post-playing careers started with the Spurs, that was the only season they crossed over in San Antonio. Vaughn, who played his final three seasons with the Spurs before retiring in 2009, was an assistant coach from 2010-12. Marks joined the organization prior to the 2012-13 season while Vaughn departed to take his first head coaching job with the Orlando Magic at the age of 37.
Jacque Vaughn addresses the media https://t.co/070as9zbyx
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Taking over a rebuilding Orlando squad following the trade of Dwight Howard, Vaughn compiled a 58-158 record in two-plus seasons.
In stepping in as head coach for the Nets, Vaughn emphasized communication with the players as he seeks input for any adjustments the team might make. The most obvious one in his initial game was elevating veteran center DeAndre Jordan into the starting lineup over 21-year-old Jarrett Allen. Before Sunday’s game, he mentioned potentially implementing other changes over the coming week. The Nets depart on Monday for a four-game West Coast road trip that begins Tuesday night in Los Angeles against the Lakers.
“That was a big part of yesterday,” said Vaughn of upcoming to-dos. “I challenged the staff to get a list of things that maybe they had been thinking about. We had discussed some of those things that we’ll continue to discuss going forward. I think you’ll see some changes. Some things will remain status quo. But you take for example, today we did shootaround on the main floor. Little tweaks that hopefully our players respond to. But the assistant coaches are presently sending me more lists as we speak.”
With the Nets, Vaughn has worked closely with the team’s guards, in particular regularly working out Caris LeVert during his pregame sessions on the court.
“He’s a very honest guy as well, very fiery competitor,” said LeVert. “Played in this league, obviously, for a long time, very successful in this league. He definitely knows what it takes as well to get the job done.”
“JV’s a former player in this league,” said Spencer Dinwiddie. “Has a lot of experience. Former head coach as well. I think he has a great potential to speak honestly, continue the upwards trajectory and carry us into the playoffs and kinda galvanize the group in a tough time. I think he’s gonna do a great job and we’re focused on him and also helping him be the best that he can be.”