The Nets announced Saturday morning that they parted ways with fourth-year head coach Kenny Atkinson, but their focus shifted quickly under interim head coach Jacque Vaughn.
Led by Atkinson's fourth-year assistant -- the former Orlando Magic head coach, for two-plus seasons from 2012-15 -- the Nets came together Sunday at Barclays Center and took care of business in Sunday's 110-107 win over the Chicago Bulls.
Nets players such as rising star shooting guard Caris LeVert -- who dropped 23 points while shooting 7 of 14 from the field (4 for 6 on three-pointers) while grabbing six rebounds and dishing five assists -- opened up on Atkinson's sudden departure.
"Yeah, it definitely was a little different, but I feel like JV did a great job filling in for him," said LeVert, who was the Nets' No. 20 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft under the then-new regime of Atkinson and general manager Sean Marks. "And you know he is the coach for the rest of the year, so I feel like everyone respects him pretty well out there."
The 25-year-old LeVert spent the previous three seasons learning from Vaughn -- a former NBA point guard with five different teams, including the Nets (2004-06), across 12 years (1997-09) in the league -- among Atkinson's staff, providing obvious familiarity.
"It was pretty smoothe -- it was a very smoothe transition, to be honest with you," LeVert said. "JV's been with Kenny, first four years we've been here. So it was a really smoothe transition for everybody."
Signed July 6 by the Nets for four years and roughly $40 million, DeAndre Jordan crossed paths with Atkinson for the first time in 2019-20, after learning from the likes of championship-winning coaches such as the Los Angeles Clippers' Doc Rivers and the Dallas Mavericks' Rick Carlisle.
"I was definitely shocked"- SNY (@SNYtv) March 8, 2020
The best dressed center in the NBA talks about the coaching change pic.twitter.com/4fgHwhFEk6
"I was definitely shocked -- I thought Kenny did a great job with us," Jordan said. "This is my first year with him, obviously, and the guys who've been here love him. So I'm sure it's tough for him. But at the end of the day, this is a business. Coaches get fired. Players get cut, traded -- whatever it is. So we still have a job to do and we've got to kind of focus on the present and what's in front of us right now."
As a 12th-year veteran, the 31-year-old Jordan -- who notched a double-double with 11 points and a game-high 15 rebounds in the start against the Bulls (21-43) -- provided perspective on the Nets' seamless transition from Atkinson to Vaughn.
"It's just today -- in the NBA, there's a game every other day, so it makes you focus on what's now," Jordan said. "Yesterday was yesterday and we've got to focus on us and being a good team and building off of these games and getting ready for the postseason, hopefully."
Onto the next, the Nets look for their third straight win Tuesday when they go on the road with the first of four West Coast games Tuesday at 10:30 p.m. ET against the Lakers (49-13) from Staples Center in Los Angeles.
"I want it all, and I think you have that communication throughout the course of the game," Vaughn said. "Even when we went small at the end, being able to communicate that to guys is important for us. We'll start implementing defenses that, if you have the communication, it won't work. So it was good to see use -- at least, for the first three quarters -- communicate. Too many points given up in that fourth quarter."