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Not a team meeting, not a panic

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Orlando Magic Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets aren’t calling it a team meeting, but that’s sorta what went down on the morning after a humbling loss to the Denver Nuggets Sunday

Kenny Atkinson and the Nets themselves, who were outscored 40-21 in the third quarter of their 124-111 loss, weren’t happy with the outing, and rightfully so.

Similarly, before the Nets defeated the Cavaliers last Wednesday, the players and coaches met to discuss their loss to the Magic, where they allowed 125 points.

It went well, according to DeMarre Carroll.

“Usually we respond well. We responded well before the Cleveland game when he got into us and I’m pretty sure we’ll respond well tomorrow,” he said. “He has a way to communicate with his players and he does a great job of that. I think guys will come out real hungry and play a little bit harder tomorrow.”

“Sometimes you feel a team and they’re resistant,” Atkinson added. “They’re not always agreeable. I felt like they said ‘yes, we could do better.’ I feel like if you lay it out and you’re just brutally honest, I think players accept that. And we have to show them the evidence. Whatever it is we also show the positive part like ‘here’s a place where we were resilient’, or we’ll go back to previous games and say we can do it. It’s not all negative by any means.”

Atkinson wasn’t happy about the night before, where he saw a lack of leadership among the (mostly) young Brooklyn squad.

“I think a big part of leadership is authentic leadership,” said Atkinson. “It has to be earned and it takes time to get that trust. I felt that maybe where the leadership part comes from was during that 25-2 run. I felt like we never stopped the bleeding. We never got together. We hung our heads. It was just a collective kind of let down. We never got unified again.”

And when asked about D’Angelo Russell’s visible disgruntlement, Atkinson side-stepped the question, but highlighted that the anger was shared throughout the team. Not just Russell.

“I think collectively we did (get frustrated). It wasn’t just D’Angelo,” said Atkinson. “I think there were multiple … and I explained to them, I get frustrated. Sometimes you internalize it and you think about yourself, which I do sometimes. You talk to the referee’s and you have to do a better job – all of us. It’s the coaches too. As a coach I think I can do a better job. We talked about it today. These are days you get better, when you have to address those issues.”

Atkinson appreciates the lack of resistance he’s gotten from the team, After all, it makes it easier to do his job. He gave credit to the Nets, even the younger ones, for ‘wanting to be coached’, as he puts it.

“I think they liked it. I think they want to be coached,” said Atkinson. “Even the new guys like (Jarrett) Allen and D’Angelo. They want it. That’s part of our culture, we’re big on bringing in guys who want to be coached. There are some guys who are resistant to that, we don’t have that. We have guys that want to be coached and want to do better.”

“I always tell them I don’t have all the answers so let’s talk about this collectively and see if we could find a solution,” he continued. “We get a good back and forth and I think they feel part of the process, that helps.”

And again, they’re young.