Maybe you’ve missed it, but Jeremy Lin is out for the season, and D’Angelo Russell is “day-to-day” (fill in your own hopeful definition) with a knee contusion.
So it’s the next, next man-up, in the form of Spencer Dinwiddie, who’s now starting at point guard, followed by Isaiah Whitehead and Caris LeVert, who have spent some brief time at the 1 vs. Boston ... and played well in that role and his traditional wing role.
They didn’t move heaven and/or earth in their one tryout vs. the Celtics, didn’t drastically move the imaginary needle, BUT the combination of Dinwiddie, Whitehead and LeVert at the point did leave a positive impression on Kenny Atkinson, at least so far.
“I was generally pleased. I was not disappointed,” Atkinson remarked after Wednesday’s team practice. “I thought our defense was pretty good. Caris handled the ball a fair amount and that worked out OK. We need more of a sample size. We need to feel it out more. I am giving you a little bit of a vague answer, but we’re still trying to figure it out.”
He also discussed Whitehead who had been yo-yoing back and forth between Brooklyn and Long Island before he was flown out to Denver in the middle of the road trip as bodies started to fall. Atkinson is prepared to be patient with any mistakes the second year player, the third youngest on the Nets, might make.
“That’s why if he (Whitehead) does have a bad game or some bad stretches, we have to have some patience a little bit,” said Atkinson. “We can’t start penalizing him for that. I thought his defense was excellent against (Terry) Rozier in the first half (of Tuesday’s loss to the Boston Celtics).
“In the second half I thought he rushed a few offensively and could have been a little more patient of a few possessions. But it’s to be expected a little bit – he doesn’t have a ton of games under him.”
He liked the Whitehead-LeVert pairing as well.
“Now When Isaiah and Caris were on the floor together, you could see they were alternating bringing the ball up,” he added, noting how he likes to use multiple ball-handlers in the backcourt at the same time. “In our motion system, that’s the real idea. Either of the three guards can bring it up. Now when you have a dominant point guard like a Jeremy or a D’Angelo, they end up having it a lot because the players trust them. But really any of them can bring it up.”
So where does that leave Sean Kilpatrick, who had his moments running the point in Brooklyn last season? Kilpatrick, who’s barely seen any time this season, averaged 13.4 points in 70 games and had arguably the best game of any Net player last season, his 38-point, 14-rebound performance in the Nets overtime win vs. the Clippers last November 29.
Atkinson said he will work at figuring it out moving forward.
“You have Sean in the background there who has been pretty good,” said Atkinson regarding Kilpatrick’s standing on the team. “Obviously it’s a new dilemma for the team and the staff. I think we’re going to have to do it by committee is what I am trying to say.”
Kilpatrick had his seventh DNP-CD vs. Boston as players younger than him, with bigger futures than him (he turns 28 in January), get their shot.
- Injuries Again Decimate Nets At Point Guard - Steve Lichtenstein - WFAN