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Kenny Atkinson and hints of a new Nets culture

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

No skipped steps, no quick fixes, no shiny objects.  Those are all aspects of the Nets new culture, but they're all about correcting past mistakes. You don't build a culture on that.  You build a culture on the positive, like hard work.  And writes Mike Vaccaro, nothing says hard work like the hiring of Kenny Atkinson, gym rat.

We've already heard for those who he's work with about the work ethic as a pro. As Jeremy Lin told Andrew Keh, ""He doesn’t leave any stone unturned. He’s always the first one in, and I’m saying first one in by, like, hours."

Vaccaro on Friday goes back before Atkinson joined the coaching ranks to when he was 10-year-old on Long Island.

The Post writer quotes one of Atkinson's fist mentors, Gus Alfieri, "This kid, he paid his dues. He worked his butt off."

The ethic stuck through his time at Richmond where he and former Net Johnny Newman created classic upsets, over Syracuse and Indiana, then in failed tryouts with various NBA teams before settling on a career overseas and an eight year career as an NBA assistant. Up early, home late.

Word inside the HSS Training Center is that Atkinson fits the mold Sean Marks is creating.  It's not so much about sunrise to sunset and beyond work days.  It's about best practices and an ethic of hard work that the staff is already familiar with and players are about to learn, once the Hawks post-season is done.

"In the NBA now, all these young kids, you have to be a teacher first," Alfieri, Atkinson's mentor, tells Vaccaro "The players know where he’s been. They know what he’s done. Sometimes things work out exactly the way they should."

Hope so.