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Jeff Van Gundy: Nets will need to be patient as losses mount

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Brooklyn Nets

Sean Marks has been quite conservative in his assessments of the Nets future ... no timetables for contention, no predictions on free agency, and generally limited pronouncements of any kind.  It's the Spurs way.

On Monday, the Nets will introduce Kenny Atkinson as their head coach and there will be an opportunity for both Marks and Atkinson to comment on immediate goals. Expect more of the same.

That's a good thing, Jeff Van Gundy tells Brian Lewis, because the Nets are going to have a hard time in 2016-17. Winning 40 games would be, said JVG, "incredibly successful."

"I don’t know if it’s what he has to do; it’s what do they have to do,’’ Van Gundy told The Post, asked about Atkinson's biggest challenge. "The biggest divider in the NBA is losing. Everybody believes in a plan until you lose, which really tests whether you believe in that plan. I think their plan between Sean and Kenny will be well thought-out. [but] no matter what they do they’ll be under-talented right now."

The question, Van Gundy suggests, will be how the Nets will measure progress, if not by wins.

"The biggest thing for Kenny to do is continue to sell ownership on the plan, what the progress is, so they understand this whole they’re in is not surmountable in one year,’’ Van Gundy said. "You can make progress, but you hope the progress they make brings patience with the record. If they win 40 games, it’ll be an incredibly successful year."

Mikhail Prokhorov did tell Sarah Kustok back in January that he thought the Nets were "one, two games" and a "lot of luck" away from championship contention, but by late February, Marks had seemingly toned down those expectations.

"I think he understands now that there's not a quick fix all the time," Marks told Evan Roberts. "And there's processes you have to go through and when you skip steps, you potentially wind up paying a lot of money and it doesn't work out all the time...."

This we know.