With Vaughn, Nets 'looking forward to how we progress' after win

ByNick Friedell ESPN logo
Thursday, November 10, 2022

NEW YORK -- New Brooklyn Netscoach Jacque Vaughn tries to maintain a positive attitude in any situation in which he finds himself. It's a demeanor his players have responded to in the short term, and seem to be building on in the wake of a 112-85 demolition of the New York Knicks on Wednesday night.

Several players and various team personnel members seemed genuinely happy that Vaughn, who had been an assistant coach for seven seasons, had his interim title removed and was officially named full-time coach Wednesday.

"I was excited for him," Nets star Kevin Durant said after registering a triple-double with 29 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists in the win. "I know the work that he puts in every day. I know how much he cares about the development of each player, and this team as a whole. Look forward to playing for him. All the guys have responded to how he wants us to play, so I'm looking forward to how we progress after this."

Durant said he didn't want to compare the differences between former coach Steve Nash and Vaughn, while noting that both are "high-IQ guys that know the game." The Nets, meanwhile, are hopeful that the good vibes they've created under Vaughn will continue into the future.

"We were struggling, we've been through a lot," Durant said, explaining why things have been clicking over the last week. "Guys got pride, individual pride, and we just wanted to come out and play better. That's what we've been doing. We don't want this to be a honeymoon stage for us, we want to continue to keep pushing through, keep finding ways to get better, finding ways to turn those weaknesses into strengths and keep pushing from here."

As much as the good vibes are rolling for the Nets, it remains to be seen whether Vaughn is the right answer for the group. After all, Nash also had a positive attitude and tried to maintain a strong demeanor during his time as coach. But as the Nets wait to see what happens with Kyrie Irving's ongoing suspension, the organization has enjoyed the change of pace Vaughn provides.

"I think we really came out with the right mindset," Vaughn said. "That first group really established our will. We picked up full court, really tried to put an imprint on the game and then guys just filtered in off the bench and had an impact. Kevin's job of getting the group going, his ability to be a hub for us, rebound for us, come up with a triple-double, set the tone."

New guard Edmond Sumner spoke for many within the organization while describing what he felt when he found out Vaughn had gotten the job.

"I'm happy for him," Sumner said. "He's a great dude. ... I was happy to hear that, I was excited for him and just ready to do my job -- once they told us that, I was happy and ready to come in and get to work."

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