Kenny Atkinson Rumors
The loss of Jeremy Lin and the departure of Greivis Vasquez pushed the development of Isaiah Whitehead more than anybody expected. He started 26 games —a third of the season— and gained valuable experience at the point. One year later, the Nets are logjammed at the guard position with eight players fighting for minutes. Kenny Atkinson addressed this at Tuesday’s press conference. “He’s gotta compete. He’s gotta compete for minutes, compete for a job,” Atkinson said.
“I thought Isaiah had some really great moments last year. I really believe in him. Obviously he’s still a young player, but I’m anxious to see him compete in training camp. I think he fits how we wanna play.” Then, Kenny Atkinson reiterated what he had said in the off-season. “One thing we learned last year is that we can put this guy at the 2, the 3 and the 1. And that was a revelation. We talk about development and where guys fit in this league, obviously him being a versatile player like that is gonna give him some opportunity. Very excited about Isaiah’s future.”
On Tuesday a picture surfaced on social media of Sullinger wearing Nets gear while posing with Brooklyn’s D’Angelo Russell at the team’s practice facility. However, Falk said nothing has been finalized. “I’m a big fan of the coach (Kenny Atkinson),” Falk said. “He’s a great motivator, and they have a great facility. (Sullinger) is a talented big man and we’re looking into an opportunity.”
He won’t commit to playoffs just yet. He used the term “confident” to describe Jeremy Lin’s call for the playoffs. He also won’t commit to being the “face” of the franchise, as deemed by many. Russell has already bought into the “team-first” mentality that Kenny Atkinson has preached.
The Nets banked on the hum of the city to close on Atkinson, though he needed no such convincing. He was out to dinner with Marks, Pavlova and Razumov the evening after his interview when someone suggested they ditch the restaurant and head to Barclays Center for a Duran Duran show. A black SUV whisked them there. They sipped wine and watched from the owner’s suite before an impromptu midnight trip to the rooftop of the Nets’ practice facility, with pristine views of the Manhattan skyline. “At night,” Atkinson said, “the views are even more spectacular.”
There have been no rumblings yet about Lin, or the Nets participation as a third wheel in any Irving deal, league sources say. The bond between Kenny Atkinson, Brooklyn’s coach, and Lin runs deep, and the Nets want to see how D’Angelo Russell looks next to Lin.
How tough was it to pull the trigger on the Brook Lopez trade? What were the emotions like? Kenny Atkinson: “Very hard. Very hard. Very hard. I thought Brook bought in 100 percent. That’s hard with a guy who’s had I don’t know how many different coaches. He embraced our culture. He was a pleasure to be around every day. That was probably the hardest decision that I’ve made being a head coach. And that’s part of being a head coach. It’s not just coaching these darn games.