Brook and Lin are setting the tone for now
Vincent Davis | 10/13/2016, 1:55 p.m.
Although it seems like we were just at the park checking out summer leagues and tournament games, the NBA is now upon us. Teams around the league have begun preseason play. Camps opened Sept. 26, and preseason games have begun.
With just two more to go, the Brooklyn Nets play their fourth preseason game tonight, Thursday, here at the Barclays Center against the Boston Celtics.
They opened the exhibitions with a win at home against the Detroit Pistons, an up-and-coming franchise looking to resume their past glory.
Brooklyn, following Detroit’s example of administrative adjustments in 2014, starts with a new head of basketball operations and a new head coach. Well, almost like Detroit—Stan Van Gundy helms both positions for the Pistons. For the Nets, Sean Marks is the general manager and Kenny Atkinson is the new rookie head coach.
Atkinson, from Long Island, received the appointment to Brooklyn in late April of this year, the end of last season. He had worked as an assistant with the Atlanta Hawks for four years after working as an assistant with the New York Knicks, also for four years. Jeremy Lin, who signed with Brooklyn over the summer, credits Atkinson with his development during the time he played with New York. Lin speaks glowingly about that time, but his role has transitioned from development to leadership and responsibility as he, along with center Brook Lopez, is now looked upon to lead the team.
“I definitely feel a much stronger responsibility for this leadership role that I didn’t in my last two or three teams,” said Lin, finally in a position that he has worked for. “I feel like for me, here, a lot of it is going to fall on me and Brook, setting the tone.”
Considering Brooklyn’s second-to-last place finish in the Eastern Conference this past season, there will be plenty of tone to set as they fill out their nucleus, secure the other three starting positions and identify their six and seventh man during the preseason and probably early into the regular season beginning Oct. 26. The games that count.
Atkinson has used a variety of combinations of players, trying to figure out who will complement Lopez and Lin nightly on the floor.
“I like that we got our young guys some minutes,” said Atkinson, addressing his first news conference as a head coach after the Pistons game, noting the positives of being able to get a look at his team, his players, on their floor.
Brooklyn’s preseason defeat of Detroit has been their only victory thus far. They have accumulated losses here in Manhattan against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden over the weekend, Saturday, 116-98, and down south in Florida against the Miami Heat Tuesday night, 121-100.
Brooklyn finishes out their preseason games next week, this time visiting Boston on Monday night, then hosting the New York Knicks at Barclays Thursday.