Nets: Jacque Vaughn deserves blame for choke job against Wizards

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - AUGUST 13: Head coach Jacque Vaughn of the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images)
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - AUGUST 13: Head coach Jacque Vaughn of the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images) /

The Brooklyn Nets continue to underperform against some of the worst teams in the league and it was as evident as ever on Sunday night.

Brooklyn handed the Washington Wizards just their fourth win overall, albeit their second against the Nets, and this was a bad one. Despite an extremely efficient night on offense, the defense gave up 149 points in regulation, blowing a multi-possession lead with just seconds to go.

On top of the terrible defense, what in the world was Joe Harris thinking on what likely would’ve been the final inbound of the game? Goodness.

While it’s easy to point the finger at Steve Nash for his lack of game management, assistant coach Jacque Vaughn shouldn’t be totally free from criticism. He’s as responsible for this defense as Nash is.

Jacque Vaughn has been the mastermind of the Brooklyn Nets’ awful defense

Nash took an uncommon approach to his coaching staff this season, essentially making Vaughn the equivalent of an NFL defensive coordinator in charge of one side of the floor, with Mike D’Antoni handling the other. While the Nets’ offensive rating of 122.6 since the Harden trade would be the best mark in league history, their poor defensive rating would also be the worst mark ever.

The Wizards had 20 more shots than the Nets on Sunday, a combination of both turnovers by Brooklyn on offense and Vaughn’s conservative style on defense leading to plenty of easy baskets. Vaughn needs to take a long look in the mirror and reassess what he’s instructing his guys to do.

This is not simply a case of Vaughn being dealt a tough hand due to the lack of depth created by the Harden deal. Taurean Prince and Caris LeVert were doing little to make themselves known on the defensive end of the floor, and Jarrett Allen can only do so much. Brooklyn’s problems are schematic, and Washington showed just how bad they can be on any given night.

As long as the Nets have their three superstars on the court, they will be a team that can challenge for a championship. Unfortunately, if their defensive woes don’t cease soon, they’ll have a fatal flaw that teams will be keying in on for the rest of the way.