We all know about "culture" and "character", the two words Sean Marks and his coach, Kenny Atkinson focus on. They are the defining strategy of the Nets rebuild. But as Brook Lopez tells Fred Kerber, it's not just words.
"It’s abnormal," he told Kerber. "It’s a good feeling. I know they’ve been harping on the culture and all but it’s a completely unique feel this time, like we’re moving in that right direction. It’s something people actually want to be a part of..."
"Before, we’d have guys coming in, wouldn’t really get their treatment [or] their mobilization. And they weren’t necessarily on time. It’s the way it should be now."
Lopez cites a few examples of the new Nets, like having him and teammates recruit free agents.
"I called guys, texted guys, met guys. Isn’t that amazing?" asked Lopez, joking.... "They said, ‘Let’s send the most antisocial guy we have to recruit …’"
Moreover, Lopez has been in the gym for weeks. He is not alone. Players began working out within two weeks of the last game of the regular season. It has something other than the view at HSS Training Center.
"High basketball IQ, great players’ coach, huge on the team aspect but also getting individual players to commit to reaching their potential … [by] being on the floor with them and getting the work in with them," Lopez said. "I’ve never seen another coach out there getting shots up, rebounding, running around, really in the trenches with the guys working like he does. I can see why he has that player-development reputation."