P5 BKN Nets vs BOS Celtics: Growing Chemistry, Defense, and Deep Bench
For one game, Coach Atkinson only used 11 players in order to see how his team matches up with Boston Celtics who is a formidable opponent and a projected 2nd Eastern Conference seed.
It was a mixed results since most starters can hold on their own as seen from +/- (Lin has the highest at +11) but the reserves still needed a lot improvement as Vasquez (lowest +/- at -14) is still recovering from his surgically repaired ankle to regain his playing form.
Coach Atkinson has a tough challenge in his hands because he knows a good playoff-caliber team would need to have a great starting lineup (anchored by experienced Brook-Lin), a deep bench (not yet) and good-to-great defense (still in-progress).
With two games left, it would be interesting to see if Coach Atkinson will maintain playing 11-12 players to grow chemistry with regular playing time and same rotation or he would throw in player evaluation (Yogi Ferrel, Whitehead, Mockevicius, Jorge, McCullough) before they will go to the D-League.
Coach Atkinson would probably want to keep some weapons like Brook-Lin PnR hidden against the Celtics because they will face them again in only 9 days in the 1st regular season game. Coach would love to steal Game 1 on the road against a projected high-seed playoff team to build his player’s confidence.
Expect the starters to also play up to 25 min so it won’t stretch them too much. Keeping the players healthy and growing the chemistry of the 1st and 2nd team should be the #1 priority with only 2 preseason games left. Let’s keep them in our well-wishes and prayers.
Let’s go, JLin! Let’s go, Nets!