Today’s Brooklyn Nets news features head coach Kenny Atkinson talking season wins, and a new identity for this year.
Last season the Nets were the league’s worst team by record (20-62), but it never translated directly into their work effort.
Head coach Atkinson told The New York Post it’s time to move past being praised for effort, and earn some real wins.
“There’s a little bit of solace. But this year I think it’s a little different. I think it wasn’t sympathetic from those guys, it was great that I got that feedback because that was part of staying positive through the season because you did hear that. But this year we’ve got to take a step.”
Atkinson is referring there to receiving praise from his coaching colleagues, on the grit behind the Nets’ play last year.
Through a trilogy of trades mastered by General Manager Sean Marks, Brooklyn has acquired six new faces, and a new identity with that.
“Playing hard isn’t enough. We’ve got to play a little smarter. There’s a step to make. I’m not sure what exactly that looks like. I think we have to make steps where we don’t have to talk about, ‘Hey, they play hard.’ They’re really executing, and really playing smart basketball. I think that’s the next step.”
When recently visiting the New York Jets game, Atkinson says he saw a correlation between that team and his own. Two young teams, out to best it all against the odds.
“I thought about it. … It’s hard for me not to think about the correlations. I respect the Jets because they’re competing so darn hard.”
After being counted out for the season entirely, the New York Jets have fought nail and tooth to a 3-3 record.
A similar effort across the rest of the year would put them in play for the Wild Card game. That’s not what anyone was expecting back in August.
Sound familiar? The Brooklyn Nets are headed into a year most have given up on, though better than the last.
With the right push from Brooklyn, both the Jets and Nets will find themselves in their postseasons respectively.
The Brooklyn Nets open their season on Wednesday, away against the Indiana Pacers. Tip-off is at 7:00 PM EST.