In 1992, head coach Chuck Daly was every bit of a game-changer for the reputation and culture of the Nets organization as Prokhorov, Avery, and D-Will were for the 2010-11 version of the franchise. Except Daly had come to the Nets after accomplishing something significant – winning multiple NBA titles as head coach of the Detroit Pistons, and leading the first-ever Olympic “Dream Team” to a Gold Medal in 1992.
Prior to 1992, the Nets didn’t have anyone – coaches, players or front office staff – of Daly’s stature. He was the epitome of a living legend. A guy people wanted to play for.
As Ginocchio points out, Daly only lasted two seasons after being fed up with the organization and some of the maturity issues the Nets had at the time. The Nets had incredible young talent though, led by Derrick Coleman, Kenny Anderson and Drazen Petrovic, so it’s easy to see why Daly was intrigued by coaching that team. Petrovic was tragically killed in a car accident after Daly’s first season, though, and Coleman and Anderson, although they had some moments, never fully realized the immense potential both had as young players.