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At Nets Open Practice, fans get first look


It’s hard to get a good read on a team at an Open Practice. So much of it is about fans having fun; getting acquainted with new players — in the Nets case, there’s 10 of them; testing their vocal cords.

The Nets divided their 17 available players into black and white squads at LIU’s Steinberg Wellness Center Saturday afternoon. When it was all over, the black squad—basically the starters— outscored the white squad, 87-83.

Who didn’t play? Caris LeVert is still rehabbing his foot after reconstruction surgery and the Nets held out Bojan Bogdanovic and Isaiah Whitehead. The front office has said they’d like to rest Bogdanovic after he played 20 games for Croatia this summer and Whitehead had hyperextended his knee in a scrimmage last week. It’s considered minor. All three dressed and took part in shootaround.

There was no official box score, but a number of players did stand out.

—Jeremy Lin looked aggressive, getting into the lane and finishing or dishing off. At game’s end, Lin had 12 points and seven assists. Here’s one fan’s highlight package...

—Brook Lopez has lost seven pounds and looks more lithe (if that’s possible for a 7’1", 270 human being). As predicted, Lopez moved around more in the offense and took a few three pointers from the corner, making at least one. He’s still Brook Lopez, dominating the inside when he gets the ball. And Lin looked for him.

—Rondae Hollis-Jefferson showed his considerable athleticism, particularly during a crowd-wowing dunk off a feed from Sean Kilpatrick in the third. His defense was his defense and he showed some confidence in his shot, but a nice surprise was his play as point forward. He wasn’t perfect, but at 6’7" and with the ball in his hands, RHJ made fans think about his potential on both ends.

—Joe Harris. On Twitter, we called him KorverLite, which is of course an exaggeration, but Harris was perhaps the biggest surprise at the practice, putting up (and making) three point shots, mostly from the top of the key and the wing. A three point specialist for Brooklyn? Will wonders ever cease? Watch this space.

—Sean Kilpatrick has reshaped his body and it showed. He seems quicker, more athletic and is more confident. Unlike last season, he wasn’t looking for his shot every time down the court. He played a more unselfish game. Of course, his minutes will depend on how quickly he can put point up on the board.

—Anthony Bennett. You can see the potential, at both ends of the court. He made a nice block in the second quarter and showed off both this athleticism, combining his 7’1" wingspan and 36" max vertical. He also hit at least one three. He may have been tentative at times, but there’s no doubt he has the tools.

There were other positives here and there. Yogi Ferrell showed off three-point range and Greivis Vasquez, who has only played four games since December, played without restrictions. He missed some shots, but that’s to be expected. Egidijus Mockevicius, who didn’t make a three-pointer in four years at Evansville, hit two in the Open Practice. Chris McCullough had his moments —he always does— but the 21-year-old has to get more consistent.

On hand from Moscow was Sergey Kushchenko, Mikhail Prokhorov’s chief sports advisor and a member of the Nets board of directors.

NetsDaily posted a number of Periscope videos during the practice, which can be found on our Twitter feed. NothinbutNets also posted some videos.

After the game, Lin rewarded one of his most loyal (but smallest) fans...

A final note: The Brooklyn Brigade was there in force ... and in mid-season form. Their newest sign, a "Brook-Lin" banner, with the pictures of Brook Lopez and Jeremy Lin. Expect to see a lot of it at games, starting Thursday.