2016 Brooklyn Nets Training Camp Theme:
Before the Brooklyn Nets training camp started on Sept 27, GM Sean Marks and Coach Kenny Atkinson expressed 5 takeaways for the upcoming season in the press conference. The topics range from group expectations to individual roles. One important takeaway is the unselfish team-ball philosophy of Brooklyn Nets style of play resembling San Antonio and Atlanta Hawks. If the young Nets team want to make a splash next season and exceed the projected 20 wins by many analysts, everyone would need to buy into the unselfish team-ball identity.
Marks and Atkinson have brought in players that they think would be good system fits for their ideal vision of Nets basketball, but that the system will reflect the players. Some points of emphasis:
- Team defense
- Sharing the ball/be a high-assist team
- Don’t take contested shots
“Down the line there’s certainly a feel for how we’d like to play, simply from our backgrounds – San Antonio and Atlanta,” Marks said. “An unselfish style of play, don’t take contested shots, move the ball, make the extra pass.”
And just three days after Brooklyn Nets Training Camp started on Sept 27, the team conducted an open scrimmage for the fans. The short video clip provided a glimpse of what Coach Atkinson tried to instill in the young Nets team. How well did the team practice the unselfish teamball?
Although this is only a scrimmage where teams don’t play all out and the clip only shows part of the game, there are some interesting observation to measure the unselfish team-ball by the starters (black jerseys: Lin,Brook, RHJ, Booker, Foye/Kilpatrick):
- Team defense: 3 steals (2 Bookers, 1 Lin) and 1 charge drawn (Lin) in 10 defensive possessions; almost every shot was contested. Only 1 possession shows weak transition defense resulting in Yogi’s alley-oop to easy McCullough score
- Sharing the ball/be a high-assist team: 8 out of 9 scoring possessions were assisted (89%) resulting in 20pts
- Don’t take contested shots: 9 of 14 offensive possessions resulted in uncontested shots (64%); 1 was well contested ISO by RHJ; 2 were passing TOs in traffic by Foye and Lin; 1 was fast break started by Lin and finished by RHJ’s putback.
Again, it is only a friendly scrimmage in a training camp, but it is encouraging to observe that the Nets players fully understood and practiced the unselfish team-ball that Coach Atkinson preached. Players need to buy in 100% into what the coaches preach in order to achieve great success. Of course, a lot of work still needs to be done especially with transition defense and proper ball-spacing to reduce passing turnovers but this progress will delight fans. Bogdanovic and LaVert also didn’t play yet to show a different team dynamics. And hopefully, the reserve team would have a healthy Vasquez to provide experience at the PG position and potent scorers in Kilpatrick, Joe Harris, Foye.
The Nets fans and Lin fans can expect the Nets to try to play hard, gritty fun basketball where the ball will zig-zag through great ball movement to emulate the Spurs and Hawks style. It’s early but the training camp is off to a great start.