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A Fresh Start: Brooklyn Nets Open 2016-17 Training Camp

The Brooklyn Nets opened training camp this week with the ability to just go in and play basketball.  Long gone are the lofty expectations, expensive contracts and for now, pressure from ownership.

The Nets are starting fresh with GM Sean Marks and rookie head coach Kenny Atkinson running the show.  They are undergoing a massive rebuild under this new regime, and this time they plan on building a winning program the right way.  Marks has done relatively well thus far since taking the job over last year, but he inherited a tough situation and this franchise has a long way to go before getting back to playoff contention.

It’s no secret Brooklyn doesn’t have the most talented roster in the NBA.  In fact, they may finish the upcoming season as one of the worst teams in the league.  Marks has assembled a group of guys who want to grow and learn together under the tutelage of Atkinson, who has a special knack for player development.  They are also a very young, athletic team and could be more fun to watch than past Nets’ teams.

Brook Lopez is entering his ninth season with the Nets.  Despite all that he has endured over the years, Lopez is still here and has remained extremely loyal to the organization that drafted him.  He is one of the longest-tenured people in the building; player, coach or staff member.  He is easily the best player on the team, and can improve even more by working with Atkinson.

If the Nets plan on exceeding expectations this season, their new starting point guard will have a lot to do with it.  Jeremy Lin signed with the Nets back in July, and he finally has a chance to lead an NBA team.  He has bounced around the league quite a bit since breaking out with the Knicks back in 2012.  Marks and Atkinson have given Lin the keys to the kingdom.  If he can play at a high level and make the younger players better, the Nets could amass a lot more than the 20 wins Las Vegas is predicting them to achieve.

Speaking of the young guys, the Nets have their fair share.  Second-year players Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Chris McCullough are healthy and ready to contribute after missing a lot of time during their rookie seasons.  Hollis-Jefferson showed flashes of defensive brilliance last season and could develop into one of the better defenders in the league.  Rookies Caris LeVert and Isaiah Whitehead could also benefit from Brooklyn’s rebuilding situation.  They will be able to play in a pressure-free environment, and could become crucial pieces of the team’s future.

The front office would love for Hollis-Jefferson, McCullough, LeVert and Whitehead to develop into long-term building blocks.  If they play well, it would definitely speed up the organization’s rebuild.  Sean Kilpatrick and Bojan Bogdanovic are also young players with room to grow.  The rest of the roster is filled with grizzled veterans and former draft busts still looking to prove they belong in the NBA.

The Nets endured four whirlwind seasons since moving to Brooklyn in 2012 but now, things are quiet and peaceful.  A lot of hard work lies ahead, but the Nets will gladly take things slow as they attempt to climb the NBA mountain once again.

The Nets open up their preseason at home against the Detroit Pistons on Thursday, October 6th.

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Jason Goldstein is a co host of the Baseline Jumper NBA podcast, recording every Tuesday night along Ben McDonald. Jason has also spent time as the Basketball Editor at while also handling the Brooklyn Nets Lead Writer duties since October 2015.
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