Brooklyn Nets coach Kenny Atkinson faced with the unlikely prospect of having to find minutes for Caris LeVert, Allen Crabbe after returns from injuries.
With the return of Caris LeVert and Allen Crabbe, there is no question that despite the Brooklyn Nets‘ recent success, coach Kenny Atkinson will need to make a few adjustments for the finish of the regular season.
The problem the Nets are facing is finding them minutes. When Caris LeVert went down with a devastating dislocated foot, Nets fans never thought Atkinson would be faced with the issue of finding him minutes.
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With the back end of the season approaching fast, the Nets are facing 17 teams in playoff position out of the last 25 games. Nothing is guaranteed and no matter how well the Nets have played leading up to this point, they will be put to the test down the stretch.
Atkinson talked about the process, via Brian Lewis of the New York Post.
"“These games are big, Allen coming back, too. It’s obviously [key]. We have a lot more perimeter players now, rotation guys, so just figuring [things out].”"
Atkinson has all-star caliber talent coming back at the perfect point in the season, but it is going to take the right integration back into the lineup.
When the Nets return from the all star break, they will have opponents guessing what lineups they might see on a night to night basis. Atkinson said:
"“There’s some newness to this. You’ll see lineups that we haven’t seen, so it’ll be interesting.”"
The Nets had the opportunity for new guys to step up and make an impact right away, and Atkinson saw a significant increase in offensive production from guys we have not seen light up the stat sheet in the black and white.
Not only is the return of LeVert exciting for Nets fans everywhere, but the possibilities of Atkinson’s coaching, D’Angelo Russell and LeVert are endless. General manager Sean Marks commented on these possibilities, per the Post‘s Lewis.
"“They believe they can win games. That’s terrific, that’s contagious. D’Lo is one of those leaders out there. What he’s done, his habits on and off the court have put him in a place now to have the success, and he’s well deserving of it.”"
Russell has become the leader the Nets have been waiting for, and now they need him even more than ever.
The Nets next few games are critical, and they are facing their biggest challenge of the season. The Nets have proved they can close out and finish games this season, but can they prove they can finish out a season strong?
The Nets lineups and how they mesh are what to watch when they take the floor and a tough home stretch to the year.