Brooklyn Nets Kenny Atkinson
(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

Tanking won’t be in the Brooklyn Nets vocabulary next season. Kenny Atkinson wants to see growth from his young team.

Kenny Atkinson and the Brooklyn Nets are in full rebuild mode, but that doesn’t mean that the young head coach wants to hear anything about his team tanking. Instead, Atkinson is focusing on year-to-year growth for his youthful squad.

According to Brian Lewis of the New York Post, Atkinson discussed the improving Nets and their plans for the future with ESPN Radio in Richmond.

“An eight-game improvement, I think that was the second biggest in the East. I think Philly made a bigger improvement, we made the second-biggest improvement,” Atkinson said, adding with a rueful laugh. “I do think we did start from the bottom, so we have to temper that a little, and understand we still have a long way to go.”

Atkinson’s right about the steady improvement made by Brooklyn. Philadelphia made the greatest year-to-year strides with an increase in wins by a whopping 24 games. They were followed by the Nets and the Raptors who each improved by eight games.

Atkinson doesn’t outwardly use the term “tanking” but it’s clear that he’s trying to dispell any speculation that the Nets will be angling for a top draft pick next year. Year-to-year growth is the plan in Brooklyn.

No fan wants to watch a team lose on purpose, so if you’re a Nets fan, this could give you something to look forward to for next season. Conceivably, another increase in wins, solid player development, and a decent free agent signing could position Brooklyn to compete for a playoff spot as early as the 2019-20 season.

“We have to take another step next year,” Atkinson told ESPN.

Eclipsing the 30-win mark and maybe even surprising everyone in the NBA by hanging around the playoff race would be a heck of an improvement for Atkinson and his ballclub. But talk is cheap. They need to prove all of this on the court next season.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.