clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Atkinson: Whitehead and McCullough will spend time in Long Island uniforms

NBA: Preseason-Brooklyn Nets at New York Knicks Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

No real surprise here.

After DNP’ing Isaiah Whitehead and Chris McCullough vs. the Celtics Thursday, Kenny Atkinson told reporters Saturday that he expects the Nets two youngest players to spend time with the Long Island Nets this season.

Atkinson was careful to say sending Whitehead and McCullough to the Nets affiliate should not be considered a demotion.

“I think they understand the process, and we’ll have to help them understand what it takes [to play at this level]. My vision of that, they’re going to taste both. The D-League is a great experience to get better. Jeremy [Lin] was that way. Sean Kilpatrick. I saw it in Atlanta, putting guys in the D-League and bringing them back. They get a little confidence and all of a sudden they take off.”

The two, both 21, are likely to be yo-yo’ed back and forth between the NBA and D-League clubs for a lot of reasons, starting with their need for playing time and seasoning. But it goes beyond that.

The Nets are in a unique position. Their NBA and D-League clubs will practice in the same building, the HSS Training Center, and play in the same building, Barclays Center while the L.I. Nets wait for the renovation of the Nassau Coliseum, their permanent home, to be completed. Opening Night for the new coliseum, an April 2017 Billy Joel concert, won’t take place until after the upcoming D-League season is over.

Of the 24 L.I. Nets home games this season, 22 will be played the same day as the Brooklyn Nets. It’s theoretically possible for players to play in the D-League in the afternoon, the NBA that night.

The only real difference between the two clubs other than their uniforms will be different locker rooms at the two facilities. Sending a player “down” or bringing him “up” means switching locker rooms, a journey of a few hundred feet. That’s it.

Also, the two teams staffs are integrated. The GM of the L.I. Nets is Trajan Langdon, Sean Marks’ assistant GM. Brooklyn Nets staff will be able to watch Long Island Nets practices, monitor their performance.

Moreover, if Marks follows the example he set in San Antonio where he was assistant GM of the Spurs and GM of their Austin affiliate, players will move freely between the two. Cory Joseph, now with Toronto, had five assignments to Austin the year Marks was GM of the then- Austin Toros.

And don’t be surprised if when Caris LeVert is ready to play following his rehab, he starts in a Long Island Nets uniform. Like a lot of things this season, it’s all new.