BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Allen Crabbe appears to have found his home in Brooklyn.
The former Trail Blazer had his first big night in a Nets uniform, sinking the two go-ahead three-pointers to notch Brooklyn its second win of the season. He had 20 points and nailed 4-of-7 from deep.
And he’s doing it all on a minutes restriction ... or something along those lines.
“There’s leeway,” Kenny Atkinson said after the game. “I’ve already crossed it. It’s really just a collaborative – with the performance team, the coaches – just being intelligent. You saw it with Caris [LeVert]. We’re just going to build him up and obviously he had that injury in preseason that took him out a while. He’ll keep going up.”
Crabbed logged 25 minutes in the win against Atlanta. He suffered a sprained ankle in training camp that set him back a little bit. He said he feels fine, but what’s most intriguing is that Crabbe actually suggested his role off the bench. It’s part of the communication between he and Kenny Atkinson.
“Just to get into a little more rhythm,” Crabbe said of his conversation to come off the bench. “It’s just something that me and coach continue to talk about finding ways to get me going and find my niche in the offense. We keep finding our ways, we keep talking and communicating back and forth what’s gonna be the best for us right now.”
“We have a program and a whole plan set out. We’re going to follow that plan, keep monitoring my body, see how I feel after each & every game,” he added.
This will not be a permanent thing. Although the ankle tweak (on the same foot that underwent surgery in May) was a setback, the Nets aren’t paying Crabbe $19 million to play 20 minutes per game. He’s going to be out there, hitting threes and serving as the ‘system-fit’ that he and they believe he is.
Atkinson says he’ll be in the 30 minute range.
“I see him, I see him when he played tonight, I don’t know, I see him up in the 30’s [minutes]. That would be ideal. But again, it depends on the game and how he’s playing and how the other guys are playing. We’ve talked about it and he’s the ultimate team guy, he an ultimate professional. We talked before the game and he said, ‘I’ll come off the bench. That’s better for my rhythm.’ That’s like, man everybody wants to start. It shows to me what kind of guy he is.”
Again, what makes this so important is the communication between coaches and players and that there is a system — on and off the court -- that determines what is best for the players and their health.
Atkinson is a very much a players coach and this is a near-perfect example of the practical aspect of what that means. Crabbe, on the other hand, is a very coachable player who appreciates the culture that provides that openness. It’s buying into the strategic and systematic approach the Nets continue to take.