Brooklyn Nets Begin New Culture With Kenny Atkinson

May 16, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets introduce new head coach Kenny Atkinson at HSS Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
May 16, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets introduce new head coach Kenny Atkinson at HSS Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports /

Brooklyn Nets fans hope to remember this day as the day the Nets culture changed. On a sunny afternoon at the team’s new training facility, Kenny Atkinson was introduced to the media, staff and fans. With new General Manager Sean Marks by his side, Atkinson warmly welcomed everyone to this new era of basketball in Brooklyn. At a time where the Nets looked like one of more dysfunctional teams in the entire league, he inspired hope amongst the fanbase.

Kenny Atkinson, a Long Island native, opened his press conference by explaining how he grew up with the Nets and even mentioned how he listened to Nets games on the radio as a kid. While it was great to get know his background and connection to the team since childhood, Atkinson also addressed some of the issues that Nets fans have been waiting to hear about.

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He noted that the team was looking at potentially working on getting a first round pick in this year’s draft and while that is by no mean’s a certainty, it’s good to know that he’s considering any route to improve the team at what shouldn’t be all that high of a cost.

In addition to that, Atkinson added that one of the team’s fan favorites should be back in black and white this coming season. Thaddeus Young, who has been the focal point of a litany of trade rumors over the past year or so, was assured by new General Manager Sean Marks that he wouldn’t be traded.

With everything that was touched on by both Atkinson and Marks, everything returns to one central issue. Since the move to Brooklyn, the Nets have always about bringing in a new culture. While new uniforms a few years ago were one thing, Atkinson said that he’s going to be at the forefront of bringing reputability back to the Nets name.

“Brooklyn is basketball. When my dad grew up, it was the Brooklyn Dodgers. They were here. When I grew up, it was Pearl Washington, Ed Davender, all the greats, Chris Mullin. Brooklyn really spoke to me and man, I’m going go into the park in Brooklyn and play basketball. You walk around and you see the guys playing three-on-three in the outdoor playgrounds. The Nets have a chance to put there name in Brooklyn sports history,” Atkinson said.

Do Marks and Atkinson have the power to make the Nets great again? While it is too early right now to say, both look interested and committed to working hard and developing a plan to improving the team as quickly as next season.

Before that can happen however, a few moves have to be made. First, the team has to find a new point guard. Jarrett Jack’s future is uncertain due to both his knee and his contract and the team can’t roll into next season with the pairing of Shane Larkin and Donald Sloan expected to do any of the heavy lifting.

Along with that, it would be wise to follow the idea of potentially landing a first round pick in next month’s draft. With the team still in need of talented young players, an additional first round pick could possibly set the team years ahead of their scheduled progress if they can hit big on it, not only from that singular player but also as a potential lure to free agents.

It was a relatively standard opening press conference, but yesterday was a moment that should lend hope for the future that a new era in Brooklyn Nets basketball has begun.