The Brooklyn Nets do not have many household names on their roster, but head coach Kenny Atkinson has found a way to get the most out of his players. For starters, he’s given them all an opportunity; something that wasn’t available elsewhere.
The likes of Spencer Dinwiddie, Joe Harris, and Quincy Acy all made their way around the NBA and G League before finding a home in Brooklyn. They’ve not only latched onto the roster, they’ve excelled for a team many pegged as finishing at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, a draft pick from the previous regime, and Allen Crabbe, a backup in Portland, have also found ways to increase their production. Both are starters, and while Crabbe has been inconsistent, Hollis-Jefferson has developed a solid midrange game–a far cry from his broken jump shot that he brought with him from Arizona.
Many of the Nets’ successes stem from their “green light.” There are no bad shots for this coaching staff, providing the shots are three-pointers or in the paint. The Nets are following similar blueprints to those employed in Golden State and Houston, despite lacking MVP candidates.
The minutes that went missing in other cities are available in Brooklyn, and the freedom to play has uncovered a few gems, namely Dinwiddie. In the absence of D’Angelo Russell, Dinwiddie has emerged as an above-average starter–with the potential to keep growing. In his last five games, he’s averaging 18.8 PPG and 6.8 APG. He’s also leading the league in assist-to-turnover ratio at 4.52.
“That’s the best bargain in this league,” Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said of Dinwiddie. “That young man has really improved his game. I tell young players all the time, he’s taken advantage of an opportunity. He’s playing well. He’s producing. He’s playing like a big-time point guard.”
While there are still many unknowns about this roster, general manager Sean Marks has at least built up the resumes of almost all of his players. He may choose to keep them for the long term, or in the case of veterans like DeMarre Carroll or Tyler Zeller, opt to flip them for other assets.
In the case of Dinwiddie, Marks has seemingly found a keeper.
The Nets have options, though, as well as an entertaining style of basketball. Keep it here on AXS.com for more NBA news and tickets to select games.