The Brooklyn Nets have had a rough couple of seasons, some of which they clearly looked like a team that was tanking with 21, 20, and 28 win seasons over the past three years, but head coach Kenny Atkinson says that tanking is not a part of the franchise’s rebuilding plan.
Atkinson and general manager Sean Marks are trying to build a winner for the future, and while tanking may be a word associated with a team in the cellar of the Eastern Conference standings, it’s not a word Atkinson would use.
“No, because we’ve never talked about tanking,” Atkinson said, according to The Athletic’s Michael Scotto. “Sean and I, I’m just going to be honest, internally we don’t use the word. We don’t talk about it. We talk about internal improvement. We talk about player development. We talk about culture, but tanking is not a word we use. It’s just not in our…I don’t think the fans in New York want to see that.”
Marks has spent the past few seasons stocking up on high end draft picks and utilizing the draft to fill the roster, but the Nets aim to be players in the 2018-2019 free agency period and a marked improvement in the win column could help lure players to the Big Apple next summer.
“That’s the dream, right, the quantum leap,” Atkinson said. “I think that’s the big goal in the sky. I also think we’ve been making solid steps and solid improvements. I’d be happy with that too, but we understand what you’re saying about the quantum leap. I think our players see that it’s a possibility. I do think we have to come to it in a humble way too. We only won 28 games last year, an eight-game improvement, which is good and is hard in the NBA. I’d take another eight or 10-game improvement. That would be fantastic.”
Nets’ Jarrett Allen Credits Ed Davis with Improvement
Brooklyn Nets center Jarrett Allen is battling through his second season in the NBA, and is crediting teammate Ed Davis for helping him continue his development into an NBA veteran, leaning on him for guidance and tips.
“That’s why you have Ed Davis around,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “He’s coaching when you’re not coaching. Great influence on our young guys.
“I’ve seen Ed take him aside after practice, before practice, talking post defense. These [vets], they have the nuances. They understand the game. He’s been a great influence not only on Jarrett Allen but our whole group.
“He’s just a solid, solid professional and the type of guy we like to bring in here,’’ Atkinson added. “We want to help him grow obviously first and foremost, but he’s helping our young guys grow, too.”
Davis inked a one-year, $4.4 million deal with the Nets during the summer and has already paid dividends with his veteran experience.
Allen has posted 8.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.8 blocks thus far this season.
“When I signed here, Sean didn’t say, ‘We want you to mentor Jarret Allen,’ ’’ Davis said. “But I’m an intelligent guy, and I think Sean knew that by doing his diligence and his homework and whatnot. I wasn’t going to come in here like, ‘Oh, [crap], I’m trying to start, I’m trying I take his minutes.’
“I’m trying to win, and I’m trying to help him, because of the direction this franchise is headed.”
Nets’ Kenny Atkinson Discusses Caris LeVert’s Injury
One of the unfortunate headlines to come out of the NBA on Tuesday night was the brutal injury sustained by Brooklyn Nets top scorer Caris LeVert, who suffered a gruesome right leg injury with 0.3 seconds remaining in the first half after trying to contain a Josh Okogie drive during their game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
LeVert had to be stretchered off the court, and the injury left many players and fans covering their faces and emotional as they watched him receive medical attention on the court.
“He’s the heart and soul of our program,” Atkinson said, according to Greg Logan of Newsday. “Really tough blow. I feel for him. He’s had a fantastic start to the season. He’s obviously made a huge jump. I just know Caris — if anybody’s coming back from this, knowing the human, the character, the person, the player, he’ll come back from this. Tough, tough blow for the Nets.”
“Our only thoughts are with him. Nothing else matters. The game doesn’t matter tonight. That’s it.”
Teammates such as Nets’ point guard DeAngelo Russell also commented on the injury.
“I saw right away what it was and tried to erase it from memory as soon as I could, but it doesn’t work like that,” Russell said. “It’s something that hurts. It’s hard to speak about.
“You don’t want to see anybody get hurt, but for us to see our brother go down that we practice with every day, that we’re on flights with every day, it’s devastating to the stomach. We can put up our prayers for him and step up and try to build off of it.”
Nets’ Treveon Graham To Miss 2 Months
The Brooklyn Nets were hoping to get forward Treveon Graham back on Wednesday, but he will miss 2 months after is was discovered that he had torn his left hamstring, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Graham suffered the injury during Friday’s game against the New York Knicks, after playing just 10 minutes of gametime.
While Graham is out, the Nets will see Rondae Hollis-Jefferson return to the court on Wednesday, as expected.
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