Six guys on the Nets current roster have played in the D-League team, three of them last season: Sean Kilpatrick, Joe Harris and Anthony Bennett. They know --and appreciate-- the opportunity the D-League presents. And they know that the Long Island Nets situation this coming year -- playing in the NBA arena, practicing in the NBA practice facility with all the amenities Brooklyn players get -- is unique.
"Every time you walk into the practice facility, you should want to work hard because, as you see, throughout our practices now, Coach Atkinson is just sitting here, walking around just to see who is working. So, you never know." said Kilpatrick. "You could be one of the D-League guys in the gym, and Coach just so happens to see you, and is like, ‘Yo, we should give this guy a look.’"
The Nets are taking the D-League seriously. They paid a $6 million fee to return to the NBA's minor league last year and are prepping the Nassau Coliseum for the Long Island Nets debut as their permanent home court in 2017. In the meantime, it's getting hectic. There will be the D-League National Tryouts at Basketball City in Lower Manhattan on August 14. Players from around the country will workout in front of all 22 D-League teams. Ten days later, there will be the expansion draft for L.I. Nets and the new Hornets and Bulls entries. Sometime in September, there will be a local tryout for the Nets.
Ronald Nored, the 25-year-old head coach who played at Butler under Brad Stevens, now of the Celtics.noted the amenities once a player joins the L.I. Nets.
"No other D-League team will operate as we’re operating this year," Nored said. "If you’re a player and you want to get into the NBA, you’re practicing in an NBA facility every single day. Our guys will get world-class treatment, first-class treatment and we’ll have the same opportunities to amenities and things like that, that the NBA guys have. If you can’t appreciate this opportunity, man, there’s another place for you."
Kilpatrick, the veteran of a lot of D-League bus trips ... and limited amenities, agrees and says it should encourage players ."It’s probably going to be the best situation," Kilpatrick said.
It's all about player development.