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NETS TRAINING CAMP DAY 4: Kenny Atkinson talks turnovers, ownership ... 9-11

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The Nets didn’t play very well in practice Friday, leading Kenny Atkinson to go hoarse and forcing the players to run wind sprints. After practice, players and staff took a bus to the 9-11 Memorial.

Brooklyn Nets

What’s up with the voice?

“I’m going to write my answers on the whiteboard”

Is this from screaming because the guys sucked so bad?

“Yeah, it’s because we turned the ball over 8,000 times today. We’re either going to value the ball or we’re not. You’ve got to. There’s repercussions. And it’s this (points to throat), and we’re going to run.”

How much?

“A fair amount. Because I think in training camp you have to fight fatigue - especially on a day like today – fight fatigue, and the pressure of doing drills and playing and all that. We didn’t handle it well today.”

Mental fatigue after 4 days in a row?

“Yeah. But I told the guys. Back-to-back, losers [excuses], we’re trying to create similar adversity for them to see. So it’s not…there’s no excuse.”

How did guys handle that?

“Yeah, no they take ownership. No one complained or said “that’s bullshit, coach.” They were like ‘Okay, we’ll get on line and we’ll run.’ So we’ve got to take care of the ball.”

You have a team activity?

“We’re going to the 9-11 Memorial. As I told the guys yesterday, I think it’s funny some of these guys are so young they probably don’t remember it like older guys. I think we play in the city of New York, we work here, we live here, so I think for us to get an understanding of the history, what went on from a New York perspective, a United States of America perspective, global perspective, it affected all of us. I think we’re going to learn a lot about history today. Unfortunately it’s an emotional history. And I think it’ll be emotional, I think it’ll be a great learning chance. I don’t think these guys know what to expect. I’ve been there, so I know how emotional I was. It’ll be interesting to see how (they react).”

Were you here on 9-11?

“Yeah I was in New York. I think all of us remember where they were and what they were doing.”

What were you doing?

“Yeah, I don’t want to get into it. I will give you a story. My brother was - everybody has a story like this – my brother was on the subway downtown for a meeting. He had a meeting at the World Trade Center. Luckily his meeting…his wife called him and said you’d better get off the subway. Luckily. If the meeting was an hour earlier he would’ve been in the tower. So just stuff like that. And that’s…he got lucky, but I think all about people that were affected. We all know somebody, a relative or a friend. So it’s a…I’m glad we’re going. Again, I think it’s a lot about living here, playing here, working here, all that stuff.”

You don’t have many local guys; Faried have any story?

“Yeah, so it’ll be interesting to hear the stories. I can’t wait. You’ll be with the group and I’d like to hear their thoughts and what they think. I don’t know each guy’s personal history with 9-11. I’m wondering how many even remember it.”

How important is a bonding experience like that for a team w/ so many new guys?

“Yeah, I think very important. Bonding with the team and then bonding with the staff. And you have your sad (could’ve said SIDE, but I don’t think so) conversations and your intimate conversations and you learn more about the players, you learn more about your staff. I think those things count. It translates to the locker room, it translates to the court. I’m not sure…That’s not why we’re doing it. I think every New Yorker, every American, you should understand our history.”

This the 1st time you did something collectively? Will you do more?

“Yes, I think we have other things planned. We’ve done things in the past. So we will continue to…and we’ll mix it up, right?. We’ll still do our team dinners. We did batting practice with the Diamondbacks. We do things like that. But I think the most impactful always seems to be the learning ones.”

Last year you did the (U.S. Naval Academy) commandant and sailing. What was 1st year? My memory sucks

“I’ll get back to you. My memory, too. I know we did something. I’m sure we did a team thing.”

Veteran impact and maturity in locker room:

“It’s important. We talked about it before. I think from a… your approach to the game and these guys that have been in the league, Jared Dudley, how do they take care of their bodies, what’s their mental approach? Just those side conversations with the younger players. On the court, and I saw it today with Jared and Ed, they just have a lot of tricks (laughs). They’ve survived in this league just because of their basketball IQ. I think that’s a big part of having a long career in this league. It’s not just your physical ability or your skills alone. That’s not going to help you survive.”

There was reporting on him retiring or being released, did a discussion take place?

“No. I think the discussion with Sean was we were both like, ‘This guy fits the way we play.’”

There was never any question?

“No. His skill set and I always respected him as a player and Jared will be the first one (to say) he’s not the most athletic guy. I think Sean and I both had a real respect for his game and plus he’s a fun guy to be around. Let’s talk in February (laughs), but I enjoy being around him. He understands the game and has a good spirit.”

Jared he’s not a plus athlete, but how much does losing weight help?

“That’s going to be his thing. Is he going to, you know, stay in great shape? I think he’s worked hard on his body and he’s in great shape. We’ve got to help him stay healthy because the basketball part he’s got. He really knows how to play the game and that’s, again, that was real evident today. It was like, ‘wow,’ this guy knows he’s got a lot of stuff to him.”

Faried, Ed Davis, Alan Williams can rebound but not shoot, how much does Jared help?

“Jared balances that. You know I like to have, everybody in the NBA likes to have, four shooters at least on the court now. It’s a little different. I think we’re one of the few teams that have started in the past kind of two traditional bigs with Rondae and not necessarily stretch bigs. With Brook we had the stretch 5 and Rondae as the 4. He (Dudley) gives us some more versatility when we need more shooting on the floor. I think it’s big. I think it allows us to, kind of what we talked about, play big and play small with him.”

Veteran leadership, is there one or more guys that when they speak they hold court in the locker room?

“No (laughs). There are new guys just starting too in a new environment. I haven’t seen a real vocal guy, which I don’t mind. Lead by example, lead how you practice, how professional you are. I don’t see a real vocal leader.”

No one guy who takes the lead?

“No. That hasn’t revealed itself yet. Their leadership is showing in how they come to work every day and how they present on the court.”

What was Rondae able to do?

“Partial integration in practice today and he did an individual session on the side while we were practicing. Rondae, what does he bring? Defense. He’s our top defender. That’s his role and he rebounds. That’s his niche and you can see when he’s out there we missed that. I can see during practice already. We miss his defensive ability, so can’t wait to see that full-time.”

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