Brooklyn Nets: New assistant David Vanterpool should help Kyrie Irving

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 23: David Vanterpool of the Minnesota Timberwolves (Photo by Matteo Marchi/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 23: David Vanterpool of the Minnesota Timberwolves (Photo by Matteo Marchi/Getty Images) /

The Brooklyn Nets needed to add some new assistant coaches after losing Ime Udoka to the rival Celtics, and former Portland Trail Blazers assistant David Vanterpool looked like an ideal candidate for the role given his history with developing skilled offensive players.

This hypothetical match finally came to fruition on Friday.

The Nets needed to surround Steve Nash with a parade of assistant coaches that can add to his wealth of knowledge, and they did so by recruiting Mike D’Antoni and convincing Jacque Vaughn to stay on as an assistant. After missing out on Jamahl Mosley, their latest acquisition appears to be Vanterpool, according to Adrian Wojnarowski.

Woj claims that the Nets are finalizing a deal to make Vanterpool one of their top assistants. Vanterpool spent last season with the Minnesota Timberwolves, but Gersson Rosas chose to hire Raptors assistant Chris Finch as their next head coach after Ryan Saunders was fired. Vanterpool appears ready to make a go of it in Brooklyn.

The two players that could stand to benefit from this hiring are Kyrie Irving and James Harden. Vanterpool’s specialty is working with point guards and turning them into elite scorers, meaning that adding his sharp basketball mind to Brooklyn’s staff could take their offense to the next level.

David Vanterpool should help the Brooklyn Nets’ backcourt.

Vanterpool was apparently so well-respected in league circles that ESPN’s Jordan Schulz reported that he was considered as a potential fit in New Orleans when the Pelicans moved on from Stan Van Gundy. The Pelicans didn’t pull the trigger, and Vanterpool has ended up on the bench in Brooklyn.

The newest Nets mind became a very successful player in Russia, eventually becoming an assistant coach with CSKA Moscow before accepting a front-office job with Oklahoma City in 2010. Vanterpool was Terry Stotts’ right-hand man for the better part of a decade in Portland before joining Minnesota in 2019.

Prior to departing for the Twin Cities, the coach was integral in the development of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, who came into the league out of small schools like Weber State and Lehigh and exited the Vanterpool era as one of the finest backcourt duos in the game. Lillard has taken to Twitter in the past to vouch for Vanterpool’s coaching acumen.

Lillard criticized Minnesota for hiring Finch over Vanterpool, citing the latter’s credentials and impact on a Portland team that was consistently in the postseason. Sure, Vanterpool was never on a team that vied for a championship, but Portland’s offense was routinely among the best in the game, and the playoff losses were not his fault.

No one has been more privy to Vanterpool’s quality as a coach than Lillard, leading to a very strong recommendation.

Harden and Irving are already two of the most unstoppable players in the game on the offensive end, but there is no such thing as having too many good offensive coaches. Anyone that can make Harden more efficient and Irving more spellbinding should be given a premier role in Brooklyn.

Should the Brooklyn Nets have hired a defensive coach?

Udoka’s trademark was defense, and replacing him with yet another offensive-minded coach means that Vaughn will be responsible for coordinating a large part of the defensive scheme. However, if the Nets are comfortable with that arrangement, Vanterpool should fit in nicely on their all-star collection of assistants behind Nash.

Losing Udoka to a rival like Boston had to be a bitter pill to swallow, but the Nets have shown that they can bounce back and hire someone of a similar ilk in Vanterpool. The Nets have plenty of offensive knowledge on their staff, but adding one more trusted voice can’t be regarded as a bad idea.