After a brash approach to building a title contender that failed, Mikhail Prokhorov took a step back and hired Sean Marks to replace Billy King as general manager.
Marks outlined a vision for the Nets that included a high end analytics group, a performance staff that touches each player daily with designated individual sessions, regular interactions with mental health experts and revamping the family room to create a more welcoming environment for wives and children and parents,. At the core of Marks' vision, he explained, was a long-term plan of developing consistency and excellence that would require years, not months.
"I was clear in our meeting," Marks said. "I told them, 'If you are looking for a quick fix or similar to what you did before, I'm the wrong guy.'"
"There was a humility to the ownership group when I met them," Kenny Atkinson said. "They put up their hands and said, 'We did it this way, and it didn't work. We're going to do it another way.' That's got to be hard, especially for a billionaire who has been extremely successful."
Prokhorov declined a phone interview with ESPN, saying his English is not good. He instead emailed: "There is no shortcut to a championship." Initially, his approach was to run the Nets "in the same way I've approached my business, which, by the way, has brought considerable success. That is to say, throw everything you've got at a challenge, and you're bound to be the victor."
Yet Prokhorov acknowledges Brooklyn's current situation is different, and that winning "requires the patience to build, step by step."
Prokhorov was asked if he'll continue to be patient.
"I try to be zen about it," Prokhorov writes. "It's a process, as they say."