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In season previews, etc., talk of progress and strategic thinking

NBA: Brooklyn Nets-Press Conference Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the Sunday before the first game so scattered around the Internet are season previews and other stories looking forward. There is, however, little that hasn’t been said in the long summer between April and October.

The main theme, prioritizing progress in a pressure-free environment, is buttressed by strategic thinking, meaning seeking out the next opportunity.

Sean Marks, in of all places the Boston Globe, talked about how strategic thinking wull play out as the season unfolds.

“We’re definitely going to have to be patient,” Marks said. “You hope to continually acquire assets, however that is. We do have some nice young guys hopefully we can build with, and with Kenny and his staff development, they’ll continue to grow. But it will be about being strategic along the way.”

“Continually acquire assets” means never be surprised. The Nets brought in 10 new players this summer and completely revamped the basketball operations staff with nearly 30 new hires. Who might go? No names from Marks, but Brian Lewis notes “Bojan Bogdanovic repeatedly has drawn trade interest.”

Over at ESPN, five of their pundits spend a lot of time discussing whether —or when— Brook Lopez should be traded.

There’s a lot of talk about the team’s two big stars, Jeremy Lin and Lopez, and how they fit, with Marks telling Brian Lewis the Nets will be utilizing the pick-and-roll just not as exclusively as many fans thought they would.

“Look, we know where his bread’s buttered, and so forth. To have a guy that you have the option of just saying ‘Hey, Brook, go create something, because you’re a big guy and you’re formidable down there,’” said Marks.

“But that’s not what we’re going to do every time. That’s not going to be run through the post every time. Those are options for us, and Brook will get that. He’s enjoying it. If you watch his body language during practice, he’s getting a kick out of the ball really flying around and moving, and bodies moving, too.”

Jeremy Lin spoke of course about his relationship with Kenny Atkinson.

“I’ve been saying it was just a matter of time for him because I know how good he is, I know how much he was there for me in New York,” Lin says of Atkinson. “When you’re around him, you kind of understand there’s something different about him — his energy, his passion, the juice he approaches his work with. He doesn’t leave any stone unturned.”

Both Atkinson and Marks talk about how they’re excited by the process,

“It’s fun, at the same time all-consuming,” said Marks, who played 230 NBA games over 12 years. “But to be able to see things very, very slowly coming together and getting the players to buy in and the collaboration between the performance team, coaching team, front office — that’s been good to see.”

“It’s exciting. It’s been great so far,” said Atkinson, who in his self-depreciating way talked about how he may not be recognized immediately on the bench.

“I’m sure LeBron [James] doesn’t know who the heck I am,” Atkinson said. “He looks over at the bench and says, ‘Who’s that guy?’ The good thing is I’ve been in the league long enough [since 2008] where it’s such a small circle that you cross paths with the players. I went to the NBA coaches’ meeting a couple of weeks ago and was surprised a few guys knew my name. Now the real challenge starts — to get their respect [every night].”

One surprise in the previews? Lopez talked glowingly about Anthony Bennett in the PIX11 show that aired on Saturday night.

“I look at AB and see how talented he is, see many things he can do,” Lopez told Andy Adler. “The sky’s the limit for him and we’re so excited to have him here. He has a chip on his shoulder and he can take advantage of this opportunity and show people what he can really do.”

Not all of it is hopeful. The Times isn’t crazy about Lin’s chances as a starting point guard.

“The Nets, meanwhile, are putting the offense in the hands of Jeremy Lin, who occasionally has a game in which he reminds people of the Linsanity era but may be in over his head if asked to do so consistently.”

So we wait. Do we have a choice?