Nets center Brook Lopez doesn’t seem to fit into new coach Kenny Atkinson’s motion offense, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post. Lopez played just 21 minutes, fewer than eight of his teammates, in Brooklyn’s opener on Wednesday against the Celtics. He scored only one basket, an odd sight for a player who averaged 20.6 PPG last season. Lopez is making $21.16MM this season and $22.6MM in the final year of his contract in 2017/18. “It’s a learning process. It’s both of us: It’s him learning a totally new system and us integrating him into a new system,’’ Atkinson told Lewis. “But I have complete confidence that as the season goes on, you’re going to see a better Brook. He’s going to understand it more.”
- Developing Kristaps Porzingis should be Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek’s top priority this season but it will difficult with two ball-dominant players like Derrick Rose and Carmelo Anthony in the lineup, Chris Mannix of The Vertical opines. Hornacek is intent on improving Porzingis’ post moves in order to punish teams using smaller defenders on him, Mannix notes. But rival coaches are skeptical that Hornacek’s hybrid triangle offense will allow him to take advantage of mismatches, Mannix continues. Those coaches also believe Porzingis is better suited at center but the signing of Joakim Noah limits that possibility, Mannix adds.
- Hornacek isn’t surprised that Rose struggled to run the offense in the season-opening loss to the Cavaliers, Barbara Barker of Newsday reports. Rose had just one assist in the Knicks’ opening-night loss to the Cavaliers and later expressed frustration over the offensive scheme. Hornacek said it was a product of Rose missing a good portion of the preseason because of his sexual assault civil trial in Los Angeles, Barker continues. “If we expected anything different, we’d be crazy,” Hornacek told Barker and other beat reporters. “He hasn’t seen a lot of this stuff.”
- Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor didn’t play together in the Sixers’ opening-night loss to the Thunder because both were on minutes limits, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer relays. Coach Brett Brown wants to play them together in certain situations but Embiid is being brought along slowly after missing two seasons with foot issues, while Okafor just returned from knee soreness, Pompey adds. “It’s not intelligent to play them together now when you only have X amount of minutes with both of them,” Brown said to Pompey.
- Rookie Pascal Siakam started ahead of Patrick Patterson at power forward for the Raptors in their opener to keep Patterson in his normal role, according to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. Siakam grabbed nine rebounds in 22 minutes.