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Will Weaver — at the ‘intersection’ of Brooklyn and Long Island

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Will Weaver, named earlier this month as head coach of the Long Island Nets, is happy to be where he is right now, in the “middle of the intersection” between Brooklyn’s NBA and G-League teams. A development specialist and an analytics advocate, the 34-year-old Weaver knows those tools, more than any other, will hold him in good stead when his team takes the court at Nassau Coliseum in November.

“Certainly within the Brooklyn environment we look at it as an incredibly important part of what we’re doing moving forward and a chance to expand our universe of players two-fold on a yearly basis and sometimes more with the number of guys you have access to that you can bring in to your roster during the season,” he told Tom Dowd of the Nets official website.

“For me to sit at the middle of that intersection and try to help make it as professional and useful to Brooklyn moving forward as we possibly we can, it’s something I’m really excited about.”

The Nets rightly see development as a pillar of success in the NBA, right up there with the Draft, free agency and trades. When Sean Marks and Kenny Atkinson took over two years ago with almost no draft picks, they had no choice. They’ve made it work, helping players like Spencer Dinwiddie, Joe Harris, Sean Kilpatrick and Yogi Ferrell develop into NBA players. The G-League is about finding diamonds in the rough than making your own better.

The G-League, with its expanding possibilities, is a growing part of the Nets and other NBA teams’ development strategy and Weaver’s background lends itself to it. He’s been an assistant coach in college and the pro’s, in FIBA competition and he’s studied kinesiology, the study of human body movement.

“The work that I did initially and still do to some extent is trying to connect all the different departments, work with the analytics team, work with the performance team, the scouts, trying to just collaborate — which is Sean Marks’ favorite word — and help us communicate better,” Weaver told Dowd.

In fact, Weaver’s key job last year was being on the NBA end of the Nets’ two-way player development, working first with Yakuba Quattara and Jacob Wiley, then Milton Doyle and James Webb III. So, when Ronald Nored, Long Island’s first head coach, took a job with the Hornets, Weaver was a natural replacement.

Weaver, who came to the Nets from the 76ers where he worked under head coach Mike Budenholzer and GM Sam Hinkie, is a believer in analytics which the Long Island team as well as Brooklyn use a great deal to improve individual as well as team performance.

“All the experience I’ve gained working with really bright people that use those tools well has given me I think a unique perspective, but I’m a basketball coach and to the degree that I can find stuff that helps and be in programs that really are sophisticated like the Brooklyn Nets are from the way that the GM Sean Marks and the head coach Kenny Atkinson use on a daily basis to try to help them get a little clearer view about how to make decisions.”

Those decisions now will be his to make. Expect the G-League experience to have different wrinkles than in the past. The rookies, Dzanan Musa and Rodions Kurucs, are likely to get some time at the Nassau Coliseum as well as the yet-to-be-signed two-way players. Don’t be surprised either if the Nets bring in an international player. Marks has hinted about that as a possibility. And two of the Summer Leaguers Weaver worked with in Las Vegas, 6’7” swingman Theo Pinson and 6’10” big Tyler Davis, are reportedly bound for the Island.

Wins and losses aren’t as big a deal as they are in the NBA but Weaver hopes to incorporate a winning culture among his charges.

“The chance to be around our players from their first steps as a professional is incredibly valuable and as you might imagine with the rest of our program, we invest heavily in our support, staff, our performance team, all our coaches, everyone really taking an active role during this time of year to help everybody start off on the right foot.”