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News » KIKI 'EM WHEN DOWN


KIKI 'EM WHEN DOWN


KIKI 'EM WHEN DOWNThe Nets' master plan called for getting rid of contracts and rebuilding while moving toward the upcoming free-agent classes. There would be expected detours and bumps. But no one saw this.

"Never in our wildest imaginations did we feel I would be standing up here introducing a new coach and we would be 0-17," Nets team president Rod Thorn said yesterday.

And never in his wildest imagination did general manager Kiki Vandeweghe think he would be next to Thorn, explaining how as an interim coach he hoped to salvage a sinking Nets season with the help of veteran mentor Del Harris, who was added to the staff yesterday. They hope to find this salvation through the development of the young players and an anticipated faster pace at both ends.

When they are done there, world peace and global warming issues await.

"You can't make radical changes. We might simplify things a little, focus on the development of our young players," said Vandeweghe, 51, who indicated Thorn "persuaded" him to leave his front office job to accept the coaching duties and replace the fired Lawrence Frank.

"Every day, we want to get better. That's the goal. We're not going to focus on wins and losses. We might play a bit quicker, make it a 94-foot game," Vandeweghe said. "On the defensive end, I would expect we'll be more aggressive, more pressure."

Tom Barrise, thrown to the Lakers slaughterhouse in Los Angeles, will coach the Nets tonight when Dallas and Jason Kidd come to town looking to extend the Nets' misery to 0-18, which would establish an all-time NBA worst start. Vandeweghe was announced as interim to finish only this year - if things go right and new ownership agrees, Harris would step in. But for now, ending the misery is priority one. Vandeweghe's first practice is tomorrow, his first game Friday against Charlotte and his college coach, Larry Brown.

Vandeweghe has worked with players in development, his passion in the game. He recalled how in Dallas, Don Nelson asked him to work with two foreign players they drafted. Vandeweghe was unsure about one player but said "never trade this other guy," a young German named Dirk Nowitzki.

Since coaching and preparing for games will eat a lot of his time, Vandeweghe will rely on his assistants, Frank's four staff members, and Harris, with whom he worked in Dallas. Vandeweghe was director of player development and an assistant coach while Harris, now 72, was Don Nelson's top aide.

Harris knows the Dallas-transplanted Nets - Devin Harris, Trenton Hassell, Eduardo Najera - plus Yi Jianlian. Harris worked with Yi while coaching the 2004 Chinese Olympic team. Vandeweghe watched Del Harris closely and learned - just as he watched his other coaches from college on, including Brown (UCLA), Doug Moe (Denver), Jack Ramsay (Portland), Pat Riley (Knicks). All were teachers, big on individual instruction.

"One of Del's strengths is teaching," Vandeweghe said. "I felt that Del was the right guy, the perfect guy to bring in at this point." (p. 71 Metro Edition)


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Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 3, 2009

 

 
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