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Can Kenny Atkinson's history with mid-level players be a free agent lure?

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Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Buddy Grizzard, writing for BBALLBREAKDOWN, poses a number of questions for the Nets off-season, most of them things that have been discussed before ... and at length.  But Grizzard offers an interesting assessment of how Atkinson's role as a development coach in New York and Atlanta made a number of mid-level talent very rich.

He quotes several players about how Atkinson helped them become better players--- and make big bucks, including a couple of current free agents.

Jeremy Lin...

"I’ll text after a game at midnight, one o’clock when I go home and Iíll say, ‘Hey can I look at those turnovers? Can I look at the upcoming team? How they run pick and rolls? ‘" Lin told the New York Daily News after averaging 24.3 points and 9.5 assists in his first six starts with the Knicks. "And he’ll have the film ready when I walk into the facility the next morning."

Al Horford...

"Before he got here, I was pretty much a shooter on the pick-and-pop," Horford told ESPN. "I was never really driving. Kenny has challenged me to put the ball on the floor. "It’s something we’ve worked on together, and now it’s something I feel comfortable doing."

Additionally, Grizzard writes, former Hawk DeMarre Carroll "went from an afterthought on Utah’s bench, to an Atlanta starter, to the recipient of a four-year, $60 million contract from the Toronto Raptors after working with Atkinson for two seasons in Atlanta."

Can development success be a lure for free agency?  The Nets have to hope so. They've revamped their coaching staff with coaches who have had development background, like Jacque Vaughn, the former head coach in Orlando, where Evan Fournier developed; Chris Fleming, who as German head coach helped in the development of Dennis Schroder, and Adam Harrington, who's director of player development after working as a shooting specialist for Kevin Durant.

Grizzard also writes about how the Nets may have to overpay free agents like Rajon Rondo, if that's the direction the Nets want to go. That, he suggests, is a big reason why the Nets didn't want a player, just Caris LeVert's draft rights, in return for Thaddeus Young ... although Grizzard does not think the Nets have much of a chance with maximum free agents, at least this summer.

But he writes, there are positives no one should underestimate. Still, he notes, Sean Marks has to find a point guard. "Brooklyn has a top five arena and a market rivaled only by Los Angeles. There’s a lot to pitch to free agents, but the key will be to get a starting-caliber point guard in a weak free agent class. It’s time to find out what Sean Marks knows," he concludes.