Sean Kilpatrick was Sean Marks’ first acquisition when he took over as GM of the Nets. Trevor Booker was Marks’ second off-season pickup as GM, right after Jeremy Lin. Less than two seasons later, both are gone.
Each served their role in Brooklyn. Booker was signed to provide energy and leadership on a two-year, $18 million contract. He was that and more. Kilpatrick turned 10-day contract into a multi-year extension and became a sparkplug off the bench, someone who once said he could roll out of bed and score 10 points.
Both helped set the groundwork for a culture they were a part of since day one.
“[Me and Sean] had a long discussion with him [Trevor Booker] today and it was just mutual respect on both sides, how much we enjoyed him and loved him and how much we appreciated the things he brought to our program,” said Kenny Atkinson before Thursday’s game in Mexico City. “Not as easy situation, but I can’t imagine – and I’ll put Sean [Kilpatrick] in that too – two guys that handled it with class.”
He finished with the company line. “It speaks to their character.”
Kilpatrick, who often expressed gratitude to Sean Marks for “saving my career,” is apparently having a difficult time, shutting down his social media for a while.
Trevor Booker was the second signing of the Sean Marks era - coming just moments after they signed Lin. He was brought in, as noted, to be a veteran leader in a young locker room, a role he had played in Washington and Utah, where he was voted best teammate the year before he joined Brooklyn.
It wasn’t an easy task but he bought in. Booker was leaving Utah for a Brooklyn team that had extremely low expectations for the season. They only won 20 games, but Booker left a lasting impression on the team and organization on and off the court. And it wasn’t just him. His wife, April, was a driving force among the wives and significant others, organizing events and working with the Nets on their family room.
Book quickly won fans and coaches over with his hard work and gritty style of play. He scrounged for loose balls, ran the fast break and did the little things that every team needs in a player.
When he made a big play, Book would flex his biceps towards the bench and the crowd. He always had a positive attitude no matter what the score was or how many games the Nets were out. It’s the businessman in him, something he takes great pride in.
You could always catch Booker in a professional outfit after the game perhaps looking as if he were about to go on a business venture. It was part of his leadership - the professionalism in which he carried himself in front of the younger men in the locker room. He always spoke well to the media and never gave the coaching staff a problem – on or off the court.
You can talk about a lot of things when it comes to Book, but perhaps the best thing he did in Brooklyn was be himself. It helped a lot of people in this organization.
And on Saturday night, his first game with his new team, Book had 12 points eight rebounds and two assists, all in 19 minutes.
Sean Kilpatrick hasn’t been signed just yet, but we’d imagine that changes sometime soon. Kilpatrick was another workhorse in Brooklyn who helped set the tone for the organization, and became one of the nicer NBA stories in the last 1.5 seasons.
Kilpatrick, 27, was a basketball vagabond when Sean Marks took a small chance on him, signing the D-League’s leading scorer to a 10-day deal. One Sean made the other look like a smart man. In his first three games with the Nets, he averaged 13 points in a little over 22 minutes per game. So Marks signed him to a second 10-day contract, and he scored 19 points in each of the next two games. He closed out the season on a scorching note - finishing in double figures in 17 of the last 18 games, landing himself a multi-year deal in late March.
Then, last season he averaged 13 points in 25 minutes, a good sparkplug off the bench when the Nets needed instant offense. His career scoring average with the Nets and a few other games here and there is 11.3 points a game.
His best moment as a Net came against the Los Angeles Clippers, a game in which the Nets trailed by 18 in the third quarter. Kilpatrick dropped 20 points in a big fourth quarter comeback, and then 11 more in two overtimes. He sealed the deal for Brooklyn with an and-one – capping off his 38-point night with Mikhail Prokhorov in attendance.
He was the second longest tenured Net behind Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. He was a company man himself who worked hard and said all the right things during his time in Brooklyn.
One day if the Nets get this thing right and the culture plays a big role then hopefully guys like Trevor Booker and Sean Kilpatrick will be remembered for being here when it all started.
They may not be ‘big’ names, their games may be flawed, but they had a big impact on what’s changed around here.