A New Power Couple in Brooklyn
The NBA has a new power couple and their name is KeSean (pronounced Kay-Shaun). Some have dubbed them Markinson but whatever you call them these two men have brought back the Brooklyn Nets from the depths of the abyss. Brooklyn’s saviors had a press conference earlier in the week and while there weren’t a lot of hot takes there were some significant takeaways.
There Is No ‘I’ In Team
Fans are enamored with the recent acquisition of D’Angelo Russell but Sean Marks was quick to dampen the hype on him, as well as fellow point guard, Jeremy Lin:
“That’s not something where me and Kenny go Jeremy you’re the face, D’Angelo you’re the face… For us, it’s always been about team. It’s the way he wants to play. It’s team basketball.”
Those comments echo the sentiments Marks made at his introductory press conference last year in February:
“I think you look for players that are gonna fit within your culture. You can bring in a star player, but if he doesn't fit with the vision with where you're going, that can derail a system as well. So whoever we bring in here, they're gonna play team basketball.”
In a franchise that has lacked a consistent message, Marks is a breath of fresh air.
The Era of ‘Russ-Lin’ Is Upon Us
There’s going to be some corny nicknames throughout this piece (as evident in the opening paragraph) but in all seriousness the burning question for many Nets fans is how the team’s two best players will co-exist in the backcourt. Kenny Atkinson put those apprehensions at ease:
“I really believe that we can make it work. “They’re both gonna play. There’s 48 minutes out there. I think if you put it on a spreadsheet, you can figure out they’re both gonna be playing a lot of point guard.”
Interestingly as well, he mentioned that both could play a little bit on the wing too:
“The great thing about both of those guys is they both play the wing in this league too.”
There will likely be some growing pains early in the season for Lin and Russell but with training camp only days away they’ll have the time to sort those chemistry issues out. #AllInOnRussLin
The Pressure is on D’Lo to Perform
Russell has all the upside in the world; can he live up to it?
“He wants to come in here, he has a chip on his shoulder, he knows defensively he’s got to get better, but he’s got to get better at a lot of different things… He’s got a high basketball I.Q. Now how does he take that on the court with a new group of guys that he’s never played with before and how do they develop trust together? How quickly does he pick up on (his teammates’) tendencies and where they like the ball and so forth? The leadership? That’s in his court."
How Does Isaiah Whitehead Fit With The Addition of the New Talent on the Roster?
With the injury of Jeremy Lin last year Whitehead was a bright spot in the backcourt last season. The acquisition of Russell and Crabbe puts the sophomore in an interesting position heading into the 2017-18 season. Atkinson remarked:
“He’s gotta compete. He’s gotta compete for minutes, compete for a job… 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… He has an urgency about him and a competitiveness. He’s ambitious, and that’s what I like about him.”
Don’t think Whitehead isn’t up for the challenge:
KeSean Expect Big Things From DeMarre Carroll
With the loss of Brook Lopez there’s a gaping hole for veteran leadership on the Nets’ roster. Marks believes that Carroll will be a significant piece in filling that void:
“He’s gonna hold these guys accountable, set some expectations and so forth, how they do things on the court, and Kenny, because of his relationship with DeMarre, won’t be afraid to hold him accountable.”
Caroll certainly won’t have the same impact as Lopez has had over the years. Still expect the former Raptors wing to have a positive impression on plenty of the young talent on this team.
Atkinson Likened Rookie Jarret Allen to the Best Center of All Time
“I think you’re seeing a guy, his athletic ability is pretty impressive. How fast he is up and down the court, how quick he is off his feet. How well he moves. We’re talking about a modern 5 man in this league… Listen, I don’t wanna make the guys Kareem Abdul-Jabbar right off the bat, but definitely excited about him.”
He also has an epic afro which cannot be understated
The Bromance is Real Between Kenny and Sean
Atkinson: “We turn things in a positive way. Sean talks me off a cliff a lot of times because it’s emotional, especially after games. I lean on him a lot and he’s got such a positive outlook and a positive vibe. And that’s been huge for me, personally.”
Marks: “One way we do it is we spend an awful lot of time in each other’s office. I dont know if we wanna combine the 2 (offices), but I think it’s important that we know our doors are open to each other and Kenny can come in there and vent to me about whatever’s on his mind. Or just ideas. I think when you know or find guys that are basketball purists and just really love the game.”
You’d be hard-pressed to find a stronger relationship between a coach and GM in this league.
Take note Gar Forman and Fred Hoiberg.
All quotes were provided by NetsDaily.