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Marks: I’ve spoken to Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving about evolution of Nets culture

Philadelphia 76ers v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Matteo Marchi/Getty Images

In a virtual seminar hosted by UK-based Leaders Performance Institute Tuesday, Sean Marks once again argued that culture is the cornerstone of Brooklyn’s success ... while noting at the same time the arrival of superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving has meant an evolution in that culture.

Part of that shift, he admitted, was learning “what they wanted to see from the organization how they wanted to grow and what they needed.” There’s been a lot written and said about the role KD and Kyrie played in the departure of Kenny Atkinson, the arrival of Steve Nash and in roster moves ... both in the past and in the future.

A summary of Marks comments was posted by the institute Tuesday, paraphrasing what he said about the two superstars as well as how important culture —and communication — has been to the Nets success.

According to the institute’s summary, here’s what he said about Durant and Irving...

When Durant and Irving came as free agents it shifted the culture but Marks insists that the Brooklyn culture needed to continue to evolve. He sat down with both, learning from them what they wanted to see, how they wanted to grow and what they needed from a successful organization. For Irving, being close to his family in New Jersey and the desire to do something special ‘in this borough’ were considerable motivating factors.

The institute did not provide Marks’ specific quotes.

In discussing the Nets success, Marks said that at the beginning of his tenure as Nets GM, he celebrated “small wins” like bringing on staff from other organizations. From the beginning, he said he pushed family as the cornerstone of the culture.

Marks discussed scaling the Nets’ organizational culture, player and staff to buy-in, and the transition from a team built on diamonds in the rough and young talents to one possessing the star talent to challenge for the NBA Championship.

It began with small wins along the way and that started with staff. Brooklyn brought in talented individuals who had left great jobs to be at the Nets, which gave them opportunity and ownership within the rebuild. The Nets showed they were investing in the futures of staff and they made sure there were family support systems in place. Families remain the No1 priority.

A big part of culture, he added, was communications with players, noting the need for “concise messaging.”

Your culture can establish themes and environments but honest conversations with players are essential. You cannot shy away from difficult conversations if something is awry or if a player has been affected. Marks and his staff consider themselves open and available. It is essential for building trust and preventing silos. There needs to be clear, concise messaging across the board.

Communications with players was reportedly part of the reason that led to Atkinson’s departure and Nash’s hiring.