Marks, Atkinson On: Lin, LeVert, Lopez

With the Nets set to open their training camp on September 7th, Nets GM Sean Marks and new head coach Kenny Atkinson addressed members of the media on a number of topics regarding the team and its season ahead. Here are some of the highlights from Tuesday’s press conference (h/t Cory Wright of for the transcription):

On how the team will measure its progress moving forward:

The season won’t be measured entirely by wins and losses,” Marks said. “It’ll be measured by the progress that’s made throughout the season and the buy-in from our players. Our goals aren’t necessarily six months down the road goals. It’s this next block of five games and asking did we improve from the last block of five games. Hopefully with all the interaction the coaches will have throughout the year and the performance staff, you’ll see guys’ bodies improve, physical abilities improve and also the way they play the game.”

The fans, media and everyone around the team will see a team that’s building, improving, competing at a high level every night,” Atkinson added. “Individual improvement and our young players are getting better. We are interested in advanced stats, so we’ll see improvements in statistics in areas we think are important and the style we want to play.

On the status of 2016 first-rounder Caris LeVert, who is still recovering from offseason foot surgery:

Caris is progressing well,” Marks said. “We’ll be progressing him slowly and building him in and hopefully has a long career ahead of him. He’s a guy that we’re certainly going to monitor.

On Jeremy Lin, who the front office feels is ready to be a leader on the team:

He came off the bench in Charlotte last year and did a heck of a job, but this is a different deal here,” Atkinson said. “You’re kind of the quarterback, the Eli Manning, those guys have a different level of responsibility and that’s new to him. He can be a darn good defender with his athleticism and his competitiveness and I think he feels a little slighted that he’s not considered a better defender, so we need to hold him accountable there. There’s a lot of things, but the last thing is make this team work, make it work on the offensive end and make sure everyone’s touching it and get that right feel of where we have balanced scoring and a balanced team. It’s a heck of a challenge, but he’s prepared for it, I think it’s the right time of his career and I think he’s smart enough and will grow into being a better leader as this thing goes on.

On how the team expects to play, with the focal points being defense, sharing the ball and taking uncontested shots:

Down the line there’s certainly a feel for how we’d like to play, simply from our backgrounds – San Antonio and Atlanta,” Marks said. “An unselfish style of play, don’t take contested shots, move the ball, make the extra pass. A lot of it will be predicated on what the roster looks like, you can’t say we’re only going to be a 3-point shooting team if you also have to involve Brook Lopez down there. Kenny will argue that Brook will shoot the corner 3 as well. We’ll be flexible, but he’s the guy with the system.

Emphasize team defense,” Atkinson added. “It’s not easy to overachieve in the NBA, but if there is a way to do it, we can do it with good team defense. On the offensive side it’s the same thing, we’re going to have to share the ball, we’re going to have to hopefully be a high-assist team that plays together.

On the continuing development of Brook Lopez:

The first thing we’re going to do is to challenge him defensively to improve,” Atkinson said. “Rebounding – I know that’s been a thing in the past – pick and roll defense and we have to find the right scheme that fits him. Offensively – I think it’s with all of these guys – become even more efficient than you are. Taking better shots, getting to the rim more, mixing in some 3-point shots to balance your game… We’re going to challenge to improve in those areas and again that fit our style of play and we do believe that he can take another step.

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