Jacque Vaughn Sends Strong Warning as Nets Close In on Playoff Spot

Ben Simmons and Jacque Vaughn of the Brooklyn Nets.

Getty Ben Simmons and Jacque Vaughn of the Brooklyn Nets.

Not many people expected the Brooklyn Nets to be in a position to secure a playoff berth after trading Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant at the deadline. But with a roster devoid of All-Star talent, Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn honed in on his team’s defense, keying in on the opposing team’s biggest offensive threat. As the team gears up for a postseason run, Vaughn warns potential opponents that when facing this Nets team, it’s likely that your best player will have an off night.

“Yeah, you know, going into the game, that No. 1 dude, he knows how to score. He’s done it before probably and he can probably continue to do it again,” Vaughn said to the New York Post.

“I take a little bit of a football aspect: You’re not going to be able to stop the run and the pass. So sometimes we go into a night, and Trae Young is not going to get off, or Lauri Markkanen is not going to get off.”

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Jacque Vaughn Sends Message on Nets’ Game Plan

It has been a turbulent season for Brooklyn, but they have finally reached a point where they can solely focus on basketball. They had to trade two likely first-ballot Hall of Famers to get to this point, but in exchange, they received several high IQ defenders, such as Cam Johnson and Mikal Bridges, who have been grandiose in their much-improved defense on the opposing team’s best players.

Vaughn knows there are risks in zoning in on one specific player, such as the opposing team’s second or third option getting hot from the field. But the Nets’ coach says that is a necessary risk the team has to be willing to take.

“We’re hoping that we can use the other guys on the floor, that if a secondary guy has a good game, then we have to live with some of the consequences. Over the course of the game, there’s some dudes who are built to make shots; some aren’t,” Vaughn added.

“In the fourth quarter also, shots might look a little differently. Role players, their shots look a little different. Those dudes who bring it every night, they can bring it every night; so, we want to get that ball out of their hands.”

Nets Players Buying In to Jacque Vaughn’s Gameplan

Vaughn has proven to be an excellent leader for the Nets since taking the reins from former head coach Steve Nash. But coming up with a game plan is just one step toward success. It is up to the players to buy in and execute. And the trust that Vaughn has garnered from this group has them believing in his game plan heading into the playoffs.

“Just reading the scout [report], knowing guys’ tendencies and all five guys buying in,” Nets center Nic Claxton said. “It’s not just on whoever’s guarding that star player just determining what that star player is trying to get to.”

“Ideally we want to try to get the ball out of the hands of guys who are designed to make plays,” Spencer Dinwiddie added. “Usually, you want to do a good job on the first and second options.”

If the Nets can get a win in their next game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the Miami Heat loses to the Detroit Pistons on April 4, the Nets will lock up the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference, securing the franchise’s fifth consecutive postseason appearance.

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