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NETS TRAINING CAMP DAY 6: Kenny Atkinson talks rookies, line-ups

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Training camp officially ended over the weekend, but what the heck! The Nets don’t play their first pre-season game in two days. And fan interest is very high. So here’s our final transcript. Enjoy!

Brooklyn Nets

On improvements in practice:

“Less turnovers. I was pretty positive coming out of our practice scrimmage on Saturday. First and foremost, I thought the competitive nature of the scrimmage was excellent. I thought we executed our principles both on the defensive end and the offensive end pretty well. We’re farther along than I thought we were and I was a little worried because in the practices it didn’t look that way. We had referees here and stuff so maybe guys turned it on a little bit. It was very positive.”

Injuries in camp/practice:

“So Shabazz didn’t practice today. Not going to give you a timetable. Rondae is doing more and more, but definitely not at full practice. He participated in some, shooting individually on the others. Musa practiced the whole practice today. He’s good to go. Looked good. Him and Rodi, I’ve been pleased with both of them.”

Was Monday Musa’s first full practice?

“Yup.”

What did you see that you liked from him in particular?

“Skill level is the first thing that jumps out (with him and Rodions Kurucs). They’re skilled. They’re not just catch-and-shoot guys. I think there might be a perception that these guys are spot up guys. Both drive to the rim, both are pretty good passers, both are competitors. Their competitive defensive spirit has been really good. I don’t want to get carried away, it’s early, but good so far.”

What about the way they’ve picked-up the system so far?

“Pretty good, even Musa if you have him practice a ton. I think we’ve simplified our offense a little this year. We’re running some different stuff but I think we’ve simplified; we’ve cleared up some of our spacing. I think the simplicity of our offense is helpful to those guys.”

What do you see is Musa’s best position? He thinks he can play point guard …

”He showed some pick-and-roll ability today. I’m not ready to put him at the starting point guard, but I think he could eventually be a secondary or third ball-handler. He’s pretty skilled, more skilled with the ball than I thought. I see him 2, 3. The 2 is probably his position. That’s a nice size. I think I referenced Mike Dunleavy. He’s 6’9”. He’s tall. He’s got to get stronger obviously, but is eventually two, three, four which is where this league is kind of going with the multiple positions. The versatility.”

What are you excited about for preseason opener?

”You never really know. It’s just great. It’s going to be great data, information on these guys. That’s why I don’t overreact to early stuff. Just give us more information and more feedback.”

Anything interesting in lineup combos you’ve tried out?

”I think we’ll be able to play big, powerful. You could play Ed and Jarrett together. You could go small with DeMarre at the 4 and I think Kurucs at the 5 today. And you watch in the games, the exhibition games right now. You just see a lot of guards out there. That was part of the thinking of tweaking the offense a little bit where it fits a four-guard system. I still like having that big guy out there, that one, Jarrett or Ed, just for rebounding and that rim-roller. But I definitely think we could see some more four-guard lineups.”

Do you see Caris LeVert pushing for playing time and sliding DeMarre Carroll over?

”That’s early. What we’re going to do with them, with Caris pushing, playing so well, that’s something we’ve got to figure out. I haven’t decided yet. We’re trying different things, see how that works out.”

”We’ve been playing DeMarre at the 4, yeah. He played a ton last year at the 4. Great thing about DeMarre, he doesn’t really care. I think he also understands it’s a little different from the 80’s. You don’t have Charles Oakley at the 4. He gets it. He’s good at that position.”