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22.09.2018

Nets leave door open for shift to win-now approach.

When asked to gauge the season, Nets general manager Sean Marks reminded that neither he nor ownership had measured progress by wins and losses. But going into what will be his and coach Kenny Atkinson’s third full season together, he admitted that could finally be about to change. “At the start of the season you...
Time: 22:23     Date: 16.04.2018
Last US Sport News: Nets leave door open for shift to win-now approach. NY Post 24 - US News

“At the start of the season you asked how was progress going to be measured. I [said] it was never going to be measured with wins and losses. That’s not something myself was looking at or ownership was saying,” Marks said. “At some point, that’s going to change. Whether it’s this coming year or a year in the future where we [say] wins and losses, now we’ve got to start winning games.

“A lot will be determined by the roster, when the roster tweaks a bit more and the current guys we know we’re moving ahead will develop and seize their opportunity. We already know we have an ownership group that’s ready to fork out the big money for when that timing is right. But we don’t want to skip any steps along this rebuild. If we skip steps and think we can do it right now or we could’ve done it a year ago, that’s when franchises end up digging themselves into a hole.”

Oh, the Nets know from digging holes. Past deals left them without control of their first-round pick in six of the last seven years.

Coach Kenny Atkinson and Rondae Hollis-JeffersonPaul J. Bereswill

Atkinson’s first two seasons were about culture and player development. But they’re not satisfied with an eight-win jump, and entering Year 3 the bar will be higher. How high will depend on how they approach the offseason.

“It’s important that we all have a level of impatience,” Marks said. “Again that’s for sure with [owners] Mikhail [Prokhorov] and Joe [Tsai], but that’s also with Kenny and myself. We should not be satisfied nor settled with a jump in wins. It’s got to be ‘Next year our target is X and that’s how we need to do to get there.’ A lot of that will be predetermined by roster moves this summer.”

Marks extracted promises of patience from the notoriously aggressive Prokhorov. Marks has vowed they won’t tank now that they have their pick in 2019, but he also isn’t about to abandon the grand plan and get hasty.

If they make moves more with an eye to the future — dealing contributors for picks or young gambles — expect to keep hearing terms like “progress” and “flexibility.” But if they add a couple of veterans through free agency or trades and hold onto moveable assets (think DeMarre Carroll and Jeremy Lin), expect the bar to rise and victories to be the benchmark. It’d be the first time for this regime.

Atkinson said he hopes D’Angelo Russell, Allen Crabbe and Jarrett Allen can take a step forward in their second years in the program. He also acknowledged they’ll need to improve defensively — especially in terms of activity and forcing turnovers, a disappointing 30th in the latter.

“Part of it is personnel. We have to find the right personnel that fits the defense … so we’re working on that,” Atkinson said. “It’s part of player development. I tell our staff when we’re working with a guy, we should always address one defensive weakness every day. We’re focused on that.”

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Opinion

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Living

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Business

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Metro

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Sport

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