Never underestimate the role of culture in the Nets transition, as we noted Wednesday...
Find it interesting how Sean Marks opened up presser by welcoming the families of the players. Emphasized family w/ Spurs culture when hired— Anthony Puccio (@APOOCH) July 20, 2016
It's the Spurs way and now Marks wants to make it the Nets way
The significance? Good energy; empathy and understanding; cohesiveness: All key elements to changing a culture. It's a Pop thing. More importantly, it's a Spurs thing.
Marks discussed the importance back in mid-June.
"Family's No. 1. Over the course of a summer or maybe a season, they'll realize it's all about your family. I don't want to bring you into the gym just for the sake of bringing you into the gym. Because I know you've got priorities at home and we're about to go on an 8-game road trip and you're going to miss them. So, 'get out of here; go spend time with your family. You need therapy? Well, we'll send a therapist to your home so at least you can be around your kids.' Little things along the way that I think will help our players. You know, it's a grind of a season so anytime they get to be at home with wives, loved ones, it's important
And it's not just lip service. The Nets are upgrading the family room at Barclays Center. Little things matter.
It all goes hand in hand with the rebuilding phase the Nets find themselves. As Marks has previously said, a culture is built with the people you bring in; feeling comfortable with the overall environment and having fun with the game... integrating the game with life, but understanding the different priorities in each.
For the players and organization, a culture change starts with the coaches - from Kenny Atkinson down.
Atkinson and Jeremy Lin's relationship is already well known and established. Like so many other players, Lin discussed how Kenny is always the first guy in the morning ready to watch film and get in the gym. It made Lin the player he is today.
Lin said there was a "different vibe, different environment" he wanted to be a part of. He's not the only one.
"It's amazing," Caris LeVert, Brooklyn's 21-year-old first-round pick, said of the Nets commitment to development. "Being in the gym the past two days with the coaches, you can just tell it's a positive attitude every time you walk in the gym with them. Coach Adam Harrington - He's had a smile on his face the whole time since I met him."
For Anthony Bennett -- a 23-year-old first overall pick - a new start with the Nets presents itself as the perfect opportunity for an organization looking to do the same.
"It's a brand new start," Bennett said Wednesday. "Veteran players, young guys and the coaching staff. Everybody in the organization feels like I can get better everyday."
"It's just playing with more confidence ... It's just going out and playing with a clear mind," Bennett later said noting that he's been told to "get back to having fun. That's pretty much our main focus and that helped out a whole lot."
Sean Marks emphasized the fun will come with hard work.
"The fun comes when you know you've put everything you've got on the court. 'I had fun because I had a good group of people, they're with me, and we competed night in and night out.' We had a good mix of people that want to be a part of something bigger than themselves."
Marks and Atkinson seem to have the same thing in mind for Bennett, whom they've been analyzing for close to a month.
"We've also got to make it where he enjoys coming in the gym... We're not going to criticize him for every mistake he makes," Kenny Atkinson said of Bennett. "He's a guy we've got to build up his confidence, and if he misses two straight corner 3s, take the next one."
But he's not alone.
In an interview with the Post, Marks pointed out the impact of having international player, Bojan Bogdanovic in particular, who hit the dagger against Italy to get his his team into the Olympics. Bogdanovic didn't exactly find his niche in the NBA with Lionel Hollins as his coach. He did find himself in and out of the starting lineup. With a bigger role and positive environment, Bogdanovic has the chance to thrive in the new culture.
"Bojan had a tremendous pre-Olympic campaign," Marks told Fred Kerber. "His confidence right now is through the roof because he's taken Croatia, they've qualified for the Olympics and he's been the leader."
The average age of the Nets is 26-years-old. They have five players 23 or younger, eight 24-29-year-olds, and two above the age of 30. They're clearly a young team that needs positive energy and encouragement. Like Atkinson said, if you miss two shots in a row, take the third. That's what a young team needs.
They don't need a drill sergeant.
They don't need negativity.
And they don't need a "leader" who's going to throw his players under the bus.
The organization has seen plenty of this over the past couple of seasons. The expectations aren't high, but that's what makes this season a beautiful thing in its own way. It'll be refreshing to see guys playing confidently, having fun and wearing the Brooklyn jersey with pride. It'll be something we've never seen before.
It won't be easy watching losses pile up. But with patience, encouragement and cohesiveness amongst management, coaching staff and players - something special might happen in Brooklyn. It won't happen overnight. It definitely won't happen overnight. But it can certainly happen with time as long as they stay the course and allow the inexperienced players, coaches and management improve together.
Remember the ‘continuity' we've falsely heard since Brooklyn became a thing?
It's starting now.
Remember a Brooklyn Nets culture forming?
Neither do I.