The crowd of media that showed up for Sean Marks press conference, then Media Day and the first day of practice were gone. Only Brian Lewis of the Post, Greg Logan of Newsday, John Schuhmann of NBA.com and the Nets internal beat, Tom Dowd, were on hand Sunday.
Time for work.
The media aren’t privy to the actual practices. They wait, then talk to Kenny Atkinson and some players about the day’s events. On Sunday, the story was again about the big competition between bigs Jarrett Allen and DeAndre Jordan. After the Nets expressed interest in the three-time All-NBA center, the fight over the 5 was on.
How’s it going?
“I think those guys both know that they’re competing for something,” Atkinson told the media Sunday.
“They went at it today a little bit. I saw a little jostling, a couple elbows. It’s good for Jarrett. DJ has a physicality about him. It’s going to make Jarrett get better, and Jarrett’s going to make Andre get better. They’ve both been really good. So, where does it come out? The Nets will be stronger.”
Allen is a rim protector, capable of staggering blocks —he had two of the NBA top three block last season— while Jordan is a post bully who uses his considerable bulk and strength to lay down the law underneath.
“It’s been great,” Allen said. “Like everybody in the league, I’ve been in the weight room. So, I’m able to show my strength against his. He’s a powerful guy. People say he’s getting older, but I don’t think that’s affecting his game that much.
“He has so much experience under his belt. He knows a lot of the plays, great passer. There’s a lot of things I can take from him plus he’s a great guy, so, it’s easy to work with him . . . We’re bringing the best out of each other, and honestly, it couldn’t be a better challenge for me.”
The last sentence brings back memories of a lot of bigs taking advantage of Allen, most prominently Joel Embiid in last year’s playoffs ... although he did get better vs. the 76ers as the first round wore on. It also hurt that his veteran back-up, Ed Davis, was in street clothes.
So, the question is whether Atkinson will use match-up’s in determining minutes for the two bigs.
“We’ve never really played the matchup game, but I think I’ll do that at that position this year,” Atkinson said. “It will be interesting to see what it looks like at the end of games.”
There had been talk over the summer of the two playing together with Allen at the 4 and Jordan at the 5. Less now, however. Allen has been working on his 3-point shooting and the Nets often say their offense makes little distinction between the two positions.
Meanwhile, the Nets are taking their time with Joe Harris, who is in between grueling trips to China, just back from the FIBA World Cup and a week away from a return to play in the NBA China Games. He says he’s ready to go, but the Nets performance team and coaching staff understand what such travel can do to a body ... and mind.
“In regards to the workload, we’ve got to be very careful with a guy like that, who has carried a really big load for the last two to three months,” Marks said on Tuesday. “What an incredible opportunity for Joe to be out there representing his country; he did a marvelous job.”
Harris said, despite the travel and the disappointing results, he felt the FIBA World Cup was worth it ... and said the Nets embraced his decision.
“I didn’t really think about it in that sense. I was more obviously just excited for the opportunity,” Harris said. “I looked at it as the best sort of offseason program that I could have. Obviously there’s a lot of travel, and you’re away from your home for a while.
“But in terms of individual development, you’re playing against some of the best players in the world, whether it’s your teammates … or the competition you’re facing at the World Cup. And then you’re around all the great coaches. Kenny [Atkinson] was like, ‘This is a no-brainer. There’s no better off-season program for individual development.’ ”
And the Nets being the Nets sent a rep with Harris to China to monitor his workload and help, the sports science department map out a plan upon his return, Lewis reports.
Kyrie Irving spent the day shooting around again as his facial fracture heals. It’s all precautionary, says Atkinson. Irving and Kevin Durant have seen working on the shots together.
- DeAndre Jordan and Jarrett Allen give Nets strong center play - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Nets are being ‘very careful’ with Joe Harris after Team USA summer - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- BROOKLYN NETS TRAINING CAMP: KENNY ATKINSON’S STRONG IMPRESSION - Tom Dowd - Brooklyn Nets