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For Atkinson and his Nets, it's all new

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NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Phoenix Suns Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most appealing aspects of this season is the newness of it all. New leadership, new personnel, new thinking.

“We’re all trying to make it,” Kenny Atkinson, a career assistant in his first head coaching job, told the New York Times’ Scott Cacciola. “We’ve all been humbled.”

“We’re all new,” the Long Island Nets coach Ronald Nored told NetsDaily Wednesday with a smile and some pride,

As we’ve reported, there are around 30 new staffers hired in the Markinson era to go with ten new players. As Cacciola writes, “the Nets are largely made up of leftovers and afterthoughts, a band of role players from the margins.”

But even in the bad times of a five-game losing streak, no one is feeling sorry for themselves. There is a work ethic.

“We play hard,” Luis Scola, told Cacciola at a recent shootaround. “What that’s going to mean in terms of wins, no one really knows. But we play hard.”

Little things matter as the team tries to right itself. Like Jeremy Lin’s decision to man a clipboard, stay involved in a leadership role.

“Linology,” Atkinson said. “It’s beautiful. It’s his way of showing he cares. He asked me if he could do it, and I said, ‘Yeah, sure.’ And he just does it, and he hands it to me after every game, and then I hand it to — you know, I’m not exactly sure where it goes.”

How much will things change once Lin —and Caris LeVert— return. Good question but no expects the culture will. Maybe they'll become the 1999-2000 Magic, Doc Rivers first team, who came within a game of the playoffs after being dismissed in preseason.

“We had a bunch of renegades,” Rivers said last week. “They were just an amazing team to coach. I actually thought that’s how all your teams would be — that you’d have all these guys who were hungry every night and listened.

“I was wrong.”