Lionel Hollins doesn't consider the upcoming season the start of a rebuild the Nets.
Hollins told reporters on Thursday that he isn't listening to grim predictions of his team's chances around the league, and he is approaching this season with one goal in mind: to win.
"Nobody’s said wait until next summer. We're going out and trying to win. Whether we can or not remains to be seen," he said. "Whatever group you put together, you're trying to win. I don't think that you sit around saying, we'll wait until next summer."
So what are the coach's expectations for the 2015-16 season?
“To go out and be as good as you can be,” Hollins said. “Where that falls, we’ll see when it comes to April.”
This can't be a surprise to anyone. What is Hollins supposed to say? He has players to motivate, and he can't do that by writing off the season before it ever starts.
To me, the Nets are doing a prototypical New York rebuild. How that's done is you retain some players that should make the team competitive and entertaining (like Brook Lopez and Thad Young), while using replacement level guys to fill out your roster. Maybe one or two players of the latter group pans out, and all of a sudden, you have a surprise season your hands. If not, they're just another year closer to having a first round pick again and freeing up a ton of cap space.
It's a formula that can work, too. Hollins is right to preach a positive message to these guys. Lopez, Young, Joe Johnson, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Jarrett Jack are a serviceable starting five. If Hollins can get a big season or two from the younger players on his roster, he may prove a lot of his detractors wrong.