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.”
In a fresh start for Russell and a golden opportunity for the Nets, Marks — whose team was an NBA-worst 20-62 last season — gladly gambled on a budding young star. But while Russell has proven he can score, now he has to show he can lead. “The leadership, that’s in his court,’’ Marks said. “We can certainly help him get there. In the position that he plays, you’ve got to be a leader to some extent. [Coach] Kenny [Atkinson] is going to rely on that position — Jeremy or D’Angelo — a lot, both of them to direct traffic out there and so forth.”
Despite a league-low payroll, the Nets lost $44.3 million last year, according to confidential league documents obtained by ESPN’s Zach Lowe. That’s the league’s second biggest loss, behind only the Pistons who lost $45.1 million. The Pistons’ losses were actually much greater. The Nets did not receive revenue-sharing money from the league and their profits from Barclays Center are not included in the analysis. The Pistons, on the other hand, lost $63.2 million before collecting revenue sharing last season, “the largest loss by a wide margin,” Lowe notes. Detroit doesn’t own its own arena, unlike the Nets.