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Mike Fratello turns coaching eye on Caris LeVert, Rondae Hollis Jefferson

YES Network

We’re all about podcasts with YES Network announcers and commentators this morning. In addition to Ian Eagle on Glue Guys Thursday night, there was Mike Fratello talking Nets on Dunc’on, Nate Duncan’s podcast, Wednesday night

Fratello, ever the coach, talked about how the Nets are trying to get beyond the “instant gratification” model that got them into this mess, but also about what he sees in what we have called, “the Swing Brothers,” Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert, the Nets 6’7”, 22-year-old swingmen. He likes a lot of what he’s seen and thinks both are likely to get better, to develop and even change their games.

And while everyone is high on LeVert, Fratello spent a lot of time on RHJ and his potential. He talked about how the team loves both of them, not just because they are solid prospects, but because they are, as he calls them, “fine young men.”

On the change in culture:

“They understand there's not a quick fix here. They understand what took place here by mortgaging the future trying to win a championship bringing in Paul Pierce, bringing in Kevin Garnett, making the moves that they made, trying to get that instant gratification, wanting what everybody wants in sports. They sold themselves short down the road. They have no draft picks, first round draft picks until 2019.

The approach is to put a solid foundation in, develop a culture that will be a long term winning culture.”

On Brook Lopez’s future:

“The guy who is the most talented and the guy who right now would draw the most is Brook Lopez. Clearly. But Brook Lopez probably isn't going to be around when they get to the point of where they are a really good solid franchise. So having said that and without have lottery picks, that could vault them suddenly, without them coming up with a Joel Embiid the way Philadelphia, they need young players.”

On Caris LeVert:

“Probably the guy they are looking at right now, saying ‘we like a lot of things about this guy’ is Caris Levert.

“One of the most coachable fine young men you'll come across and they like that.

“I think the big thing you'll see the rest of this year and next year is how much will he improve in his ball handling skills and his shot-making ability and his decision making ability. When you watch that grow and happen, his game evolves and you may be able to use him more.

“LeVert may be the kind of player who today we look at and say he can do this or he can do that. but he may be able to do a whole lot more than we're giving him credit for (once) you give him playing time and experience.”

On Rondae Hollis Jefferson:

“I don’t know is anyone could define his game from top to bottom. He's as good a person as you can come across, he's all about team, he's all about playing hard. He's had some nagging injuries that have affected his season. The concern about him was his ability to makes shots and how much he could score. I think the coaching staff is impressed with his vision, what he sees on the floor, his ability to make a pass at the right time to get a score. He was labeled, put into that category of 'could be an outstanding defensive player.' That tends to happen to guys who have a difficult time making shots.

“His best days are ahead. Loves the game, loves to work at it. They love him because of all the other things. For him to be a rotation player, to contribute to a winning Brooklyn Nets team, he's going to have to develop other parts of his game. He's going to have to make that in-between shot. To me, he looks like he's figured out his spot. That even though the style of play for the team is to shoot a high number of three point shots, that's not best for him. that's not best for the team. So it looks to me whether that they've had a meeting, a coaching staff decision that he's cut back on the three's out you don't have to take

“He's pulled back a little bit on that recently and I think it's helped his game, helped the Nets a bit and he's one of those guys in that Caris Levert area where their growth and development this season, over the summer and next year will erally determine whether he's part of their future.

“Got a ways to go to be a stopper. he's a good defensive player. he's long. but he has a ways to go. He's not a physical defender where you'd say he overpowers guys and takes them out of their game. part of that is being young and maybe he respects players too much, being a youngster in the league instead of going after him regardless of who they are and laying the wood on them when he has to and taking the physical approach to combine that with his athleticism. But that's what experience does. It helps you get better, helps you mature, helps you understand better.”

And if Sarah Kustok is on a podcast anywhere, let us know.