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Atkinson commits to Acy with “Jah” on the horizon

NBA: Orlando Magic at Brooklyn Nets Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier in the season, Kenny Atkinson challenged Quincy Acy to be better.

Lately, Acy’s done that, averaging 11.5 points and 6.3 rebounds while shooting 53.1% from the field and 47.6% from three-point range over the last four games prior to Monday night.

The struggle for the 6’7” combo forward was, well, he wasn’t always a combo forward. Acy was brought in the NBA to be pesky, do the dirty work, which he’s often says he loves to do.

Then when Sean Marks called him up from the Texas Legends last season, he showed a deft shooting touch, hitting 56.5 percent from three over his first 19 games as a Net. He leveled off a little but still finished the season with a 43.4 percent mark from downtown through 32 games representing the black and white.

Big surprise!

Before being waived by Dallas last season, he shot 14.3% from deep in six games with the Mavs. Through the first four seasons of his career (2012-2016), he shot 33.3% from three, but only had 126 attempts in 219 games.

Acy has around the same number of attempts this season (125, to be exact) as he had previously, in only 32 appearances. This season, Acy’s percentage sits at less than 34 percent, although it has picked up as of late. In the three games before the Magic contest (when he did not score in 17 minutes), Acy had been on a tear, hitting 8-of-11 from deep. That’s 72.7 percent!

Plenty of Brooklyn Nets fans have called for Acy to be benched, and it sounds like Atkinson may have heard y’all, judging by his comments before the Nets defeated the Magic. He doesn’t agree with you, he’s just heard you.

“Let’s face it, Quincy gives us a lot of space out there,” said Atkinson, with the tone of a teacher patiently trying to help his students solve a big problem. “It helps our shooting, it helps us – and Quincy’s a heck of a competitor. He’s just helping all our line-ups. That’s just a fact, he gives us more space out there.”

Make no mistake, Atkinson wants to keep Acy in the rotation, but he insists that it’s on ‘Q.’ And as of Monday’s pre-game presser when Atkinson told us to expect a bit of Jahlil Okafor on Wednesday vs. the Timberwolves, more competition. That could (or will) affect the minutes’ distribution moving forward. Not to mention that Acy is four inches shorter than Okafor.

“It’s something we’re going to keep looking at,” Atkinson said. “And again, it’s up to him(Acy). He’s got to continue to make shots; continue to defend. We like line-ups with him at the five. You could argue who’s the five in that line-up, is it him or Rondae (Hollis-Jefferson)? Usually we’ll have Rondae guard the five. So we’re just mixing and matching with those bigs. Some of it has to do with what the other team is drawing out there. It’s complex but he’s definitely helping our big line-ups.”

With Okafor apparently set to make his home debut this week, it’ll be interesting to see what happens to Acy’s minutes, as he currently serves as the first or second big off the bench on usual nights, though, their skill sets are vastly different.