In an interview with Frank Isola on SiriusXM NBA Tuesday, Kenny Atkinson talked about how his relationship with Jeremy Lin has changed since Linsanity back in 2012, when Atkinson was the Knicks assistant who pushed Lin onto the court and into the spotlight.
It’s lot different now, said Atkinson. Now it’s about running a team and leadership.
“So this is a totally different role for Jeremy. I think part of the reason he came to Brooklyn is to see, to prove to everybody that he can be a starting point guard in this league.
“We believe it, I and Sean Marks, our GM believe he can do it and I think the second part [of what's different] is the leadership role. Maybe he's the guy coming off the bench in Charlotte in Houston, he was fourth of fifth fiddle, this is a different role, this is a leadership role.”
Atkinson added that he will have help in making that transition.
“It's a great challenge for him. It's a great challenge for our coaching staff to try to help him to make another jump and be a starting point guard in this league.”
Atkinson said that although he helped Lin’s development with the Knicks and others have played similar roles since, it’s always been Lin who took responsibility for getting better.
“I'll just say one thing about Jeremy's development. I think he took ownership of his own development. I always say coaches don't get players better; players get players better. You're a guide. You can help him, but he took ownership of it and I think that's where he got better.”
The comments about Lin are part of the SiriusXM interview. Asked whether he expects to be more an offensive or defensive coach, Atkinson said he wants a balanced team, but noted at training camp so far the focus has been 70 percent on the defensive end.