Now, that you’ve read Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce’s lament about a lack of culture in Brooklyn when they arrived in 2013, here’s something complete different ... Trevor Booker’s review of his first year with the Nets. The goals weren’t as high as they were in 2013 but Booker likes what he saw and thinks things will get better.
In an interview with Hoopshype’s Alex Kennedy, Booker credits a lot the positive vibes —and personnel development— to Sean Marks and Kenny Atkinson. He gave Marks, his former teammate particular credit for building a roster of vets and young players.
“I think they’ve both done a great job. If you look at Sean Marks’ background and track record, it speaks for itself. I played with him in Washington my rookie year, so I already knew what kind of guy he was. He was always paying attention and trying to learn, and he was in his 11th season at that time. Then, he went to the Spurs organization and learned from them. He definitely gets it, and he’s an intelligent guy. I think he did a pretty good job this year of trying to change the culture. If you look at the players that he brought in, they were high-characters guys and hard-working guys. Those were things he wanted to show the rookies – that those are the kind of guys they want [in the organization] and I think the rookies got that.
“Then, with Coach Atkinson, he does a great job of developing players. Just watching him throughout the season, he’d be on the court working with players and showing them different things. And that’s the kind of thing that players need, especially young players.”
Booker had high praise for the Nets young players, particularly rookies Caris LeVert and Isaiah Whitehead ... and his replacement in the starting lineup, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
“Caris LeVert did a great job of coming in every day, getting his work done, listening to the veterans and being a true professional. He has a high basketball IQ and I think his ceiling his pretty high. Isaiah Whitehead was the same way, and he progressed nicely throughout the season too. Both rookies had bumps throughout the year, but they stuck with it and showed a lot of progress and showed a lot of heart.
“Rondae showed tremendous improvement. Early in the season, he struggled. But in the middle of the year and late in the season, he really showed his true talent. He was playing hard, pushing the ball up the court, finishing around the basket, drawing fouls. I think that’s one of his strong suits: putting the ball on the floor and drawing fouls. I think he did a great job, and I think he’s poised for a breakout year.”
Booker talked as well about his own progress and how he believes, at 30, he can still develop. Booker has a guaranteed $9.2 million contract next season. He told Kennedy about how he relished the role as NBA vet.
“You have to find your niche, work at it and do [your job] well. You don’t have to go out there and be a hero. I try to show them, as an example, look at me. I’ve averaged probably 6 points over my career and I’m going into my eighth year and still going strong. That’s the type of the thing that I’d try to instill in them.”
He also praised the Brooklyn fan base, calling it “great” despite all the losing.
“I think they see what we’re going through right now and understand, but they see the progression and where the team is headed. They’ve been great. Of course, there are going to be a few fans that are negative, but that’s the case with every organization.”
Booker, who put up career numbers last season, is of course a fan favorite because of who he has become, a solid teammate and role player. Will he back? We shall see, but the Nets organization see him as part of their developing culture.
- Trevor Booker on the Brooklyn Nets' struggles, young core, offseason goals and more - Alex Kennedy - Hoopshype