The Nets point to energy and effort as issues to address with the new coach

NEW YORK — Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks said Tuesday night that his decision to fire coach Jack Vaughn was not due to a single event.

Marks also confirmed that one specific event — the Nets opting to field most of their roster for a game against the Milwaukee Bucks on December 27, a decision that ultimately cost the franchise $100,000 for violating the league's player engagement policy — was not the only event. The root cause of the team's downward spiral ever since.

“I don’t think we lost the team that day,” Marks said in a news conference before Brooklyn’s first practice with Kevin Ollie as the team’s interim coach. “I appreciate the fact that the players want to play. They want to play day and night.

“Again, I don't think there was a single decision that ultimately affected the record or [making] This decision is today. “I think a lot of things went into it.”

Brooklyn went from 15-15 on the morning of a Bucks game to 6-18 since then — tied with the Detroit Pistons for the third-worst record in the league during that span and ahead of only the Charlotte Hornets (6-20) and Washington Wizards (4-21).

When Marks was asked for details about what led to Vaughn's firing, he cited a lack of energy and effort in the play that equates to winning basketball.

“It's about the level of competition,” Marks said. “We're not going to be the most talented team in the league. I'm not a fool. I completely understand that. But at the same time, this is a talented group of young guys out there. And my expectations, and I think their expectations, should be to hold each other accountable to do the little things, like play hard, Loose balls, contested shots, etc., and jumping on the floor.

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“Those are the things you should expect when you're where we are now, competing and competing for everything we can. That's what I'm hoping to see over the next 28 games,” and that's probably, to be quite honest, some of the things I haven't seen. The level of effort and level of competition wasn’t always there.”

That certainly hasn't happened over the past several weeks, as the Nets (21-33) have gone 6-18 starting a Dec. 27 loss and fallen out of the playoff picture.

The task of changing that moving forward will now fall to Ollie, who won a national championship as head coach at UConn in 2014 and also spent 13 seasons as an NBA player before joining Vaughn's staff as an assistant coach last summer.

When asked how to change this lack of energy and loud games, Ole had a plan to address it.

“I've got what are called EGBs, which are energy generating behaviors, and it's 17 of those things. We've gone through the list extensively today,” Ollie, 51, said with a smile after his first training in his new role. “[They] It has nothing to do with talent, but everything to do with heart and will. I think that's what it comes down to.

“Remember, I played 15 years professionally, 13 years in this league, and I never played once [had] Coach calls a play for me. I had to get it with gravel. I had to get it persistently. I had to approach it with the mindset that we were going to get better every day. This is the way I coach, and this is what I will ask. “I want them to ask me for that, from day one.”

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Ollie then went on to point out the team's lack of aggressiveness in going after loose balls (No. 25 in the league, according to NBA.com's tracking data) and in drawing charges (the Nets have drawn just six in 54 games).

“We can't have these things,” Ollie said. “That's losing basketball, to me. Winning and losing, that's part of the results, but it's also the process, and the process is these EGBs and how we get lost in those things and how we chase them every day.”

“I want hunters. If you hunt, you'll play. If you don't hunt, you won't play.”

One of these “fishermen,” Mikal Bridges, said several times after training that the nets needed more detail and organization. When asked specifically about what happened after the Dec. 27 game — when Bridges publicly expressed his displeasure at being pulled after the first quarter — he echoed Marks in saying that the Nets' struggles couldn't be traced back to a single event.

“I know a lot of guys are out of the lineup, in and out of the lineup, but I think we haven't been committed enough on both ends in doing what we're supposed to do,” said Bridges, who said. He added that he found out about the decision to let the 49-year-old Vaughn go before the team announced it on Monday. “And the things we were doing, I think we had to be a little more detailed. It was tough on all of us. The coaches, we…we didn't play to our standards, and that's the way it is.” “

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Where Marks, Ollie and Bridges all agreed that through 28 games in 55 days the Nets have to finish their regular season, there is still time for this group to get back into the mix.

But when that's over, Marks said Nets owner Joe Tsai will give him the opportunity to hire a fourth coach during his tenure with the franchise — which began eight years ago this week.

“Joe and I have always been in full partnership,” Marks said. “And that doesn't mean we always agree. I mean you have to have good discussions and robust discussions, but Joe and I are going to make that decision, and he's given me no reason to think I won't be able to.” Make this decision.

“We're going to take a lot of factors into consideration as we do this. We have time. We're not going to be in a rush. There's going to be a robust search. By the end of this, I have no doubt we'll come in and find the best fit for the job.”

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