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Atlantic Notes: Bennett, Zeller, Williams, Grant

People who know Anthony Bennett speak well of his character, and it appears his mission with the Raptors is to restore his self-confidence, writes Josh Lewenberg of So far, he’s made a positive impression on coach Dwane Casey, as Lewenberg relays.

“One thing that has impressed me is his defense,” Casey said. “His defense is ahead of his offense. That was a surprise. I didn’t know he was as good a defender as he’s showed since we’ve had him, which has been very impressive. And that’s helped get ingratiated with his teammates and the staff. He’s done a good job. The main thing for him is just to relax and play, enjoy the game, get that No. 1 pick necklace off his neck and just play basketball, have fun.”

See more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Tyler Zeller is glad to work with Celtics coach Brad Stevens and would like an extension before his eligibility window closes on November 2nd, but he’s OK with the prospect of not signing an extension if that’s how it plays out, as he explains to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald.
  • Derrick Williams, confident that the triangle will be the right long-term fit for him, made up his mind to join the Knicks 10 minutes after meeting with the team, and he decided not to speak to Kings coach George Karl about re-signing with Sacramento, as Williams told Adam Zagoria of“Nope, I didn’t really care,” Williams said. “I knew where I wanted to go.”
  • Knicks team president Phil Jackson coached Horace Grant on the Bulls, and the Zen Master admits that connection gives him greater confidence in Knicks rookie Jerian Grant, Horace’s nephew, observes Marc Berman of the New York Post. Carmelo Anthony, who was reportedly upset to see Tim Hardaway Jr. go out in the trade that brought in Grant, has been impressed with the poise and ability to control the tempo that this year’s No. 19 overall pick has demonstrated, Berman notes.

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