The Brooklyn Nets have not had much luck in recent seasons and have been on a downward spiral but the franchise has wasted no time in their attempts to turn things around after another losing campaign.
Atlanta Hawks assistant coach Kenny Atkinson has been hired as the team's new head coach and will be tasked with changing their fortunes around.
Atkinson's name may not be well-known in New York or around the NBA, but he is certainly no stranger to the city and is partly responsible for creating for one of the most memorable moments in New York basketball in the last five years.
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The 48-year-old was an assistant coach at the New York Knicks between 2008-2012 and was part of the 'Linsanity' period, a sensation that he has been credited for by the man himself.
Jeremy Lin took the Big Apple and the rest of the NBA by storm for an incredible story and stretch of form that had his name on the lips of everybody in the biggest market in the country.
It helped launch the career of Lin who was undrafted and couldn't nail down a contract with any of the 30 franchises in the league, let alone playing time and he acknowledges the role Atkinson played in his development.
"I mean this guy wakes up at 6 a.m. every morning," Jeremy Lin said of Atkinson, via the New York Post.
"I'll text after a game at midnight, one o'clock when I go home, and I'll say, 'Hey, can I look at those turnovers? Can I look at the upcoming team? How they run pick-and-rolls?' And he'll have the film ready when I walk into the facility the next morning.
“When I wasn’t playing much, we were working out before practice, and after practice, he was picking apart my game, teaching me what it’s like to play in Coach D’Antoni’s system.”
Atkinson is well regarded around the league for his ability to develop players and those who know him are not too surprised that he's finally landed a head coaching role.
He has been an assistant in the playoffs under four different head coaches; Mike D’Antoni and Mike Woodson with the Knicks and Larry Drew and Mike Budenholzer with the Hawks.
Per the New York Post, Hawks center and All-Star Al Horford is another player who lavished praise on Atkinson for improving his all-around game last year in an interview with ESPN.
“He believes you can improve as a player, even at the highest level, and that there’s always something you can add to your game,” said Horford.
“Before he got here, I was pretty much a shooter on the pick-and-pop. I was never really driving. Kenny has challenged me to put the ball on the floor. It’s something we’ve worked on together, and now it’s something I feel comfortable doing.”
These words will be music to the ears of Nets fans who are desperate to see a team at the Barclays Center who can compete and challenge at the top end of the Eastern Conference. The signs are certainly good that Atkinson can work some magic in Brooklyn.