Brooklyn Nets: How Sean Marks rebuilt Brooklyn and claimed New York

Brooklyn Nets Sean Marks. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets Sean Marks. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Brooklyn Nets
Brooklyn Nets D’AngeloRussell Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Playoffs in Year 3

The Brooklyn Nets in 2018-19 would earn the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs with their gritty, unselfish style of play that earned praise around the league.

More. 10 best seasons in Nets history. light

D’Angelo Russell emerged as an All-Star and Caris LeVert may have done the same if it weren’t for a early season injury. Joe Harris led the league in 3-point shooting. Spencer Dinwiddie cemented himself as a legitimate guard in the NBA.

Jarrett Allen was among the top rim protectors in the league and Rodions Kurucs exceeded expectations in his rookie season.

Marks’ vision was taking form and Brooklyn was making its way back into the spotlight.

"“It started with us trying to build something that has a foundation, something that hopefully will have long-term success from the ground up. The way we’ve built this is based off what we were given to start with. “That goes back to the development coaches, scouts, analytics group that’s found and acquired people to come up with creative positions.”"

Following a December extension for Dinwiddie, Marks needed to make one more move to open his second max slot. He did so by trading Allen Crabbe and two first-round picks to the Atlanta Hawks for Taurean Prince.

Despite Brooklyn’s success, young core and cap space, the rumor for the 2019 offseason was that Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant were destined to team up for the Knicks. The allure of Manhattan and Madison Square Garden trumped what Brooklyn had been building in the eyes of many.

Despite the noise, Marks let his work do the talking, trusting that free agents would take notice of what the Nets had built. It wasn’t long until Brooklyn was creeping into the Irving-Durant conversation a little too much for Knicks fans comfort levels.

Several reports began to emerge across the media that Brooklyn was Irving’s preferred destination. Over the next few weeks, those reports gained credibility from sources around the league.

The question was, would Kevin Durant take notice of Brooklyn the way Irving had? Would everything that Sean Marks had built be enough to change the narrative of New York basketball in Durant’s eyes?