Winning is 99 percent of the job in coaching, but in New York the part of that 1 percent that involves dealing with the news media tends to be a lot bigger deal than in smaller, saner markets that lack tabloid back pages.
Lionel Hollins got off to a fine start on that front upon being introduced Monday as the Nets’ coach, replacing the maddeningly uncommunicative Jason Kidd.
How does Hollins, most recently a coach in the non-media-hotbed of Memphis, plan to handle New York?
“I played in Philadelphia with five newspapers,’’ Hollins said. Wait: Five newspapers in Philly?! Let it be noted that Hollins is 60, and played there in the early 1980s.
“So it’s all the same. I think I have to be careful because I’m a joker and sometimes the first thing out of my mouth is not what I really feel, but everyone has it down and that’s what is written.’’
Hollins seemed at ease kibitzing with metropolitan-area journalists on Day One, but he did have some tense media moments in Memphis.
GM Billy King said he does not take media relations into account in hiring a coach.
“I’d rather have somebody who doesn’t like talking to you guys who does a better job of coaching,’’ he said, “than somebody that wants to talk to you guys who can’t coach.’’
Fair point. But it doesn’t hurt to be able to do both.