TORONTO — For the third time in 27 games, the Nets rested healthy leading scorer Brook Lopez against the Raptors Tuesday night at Air Canada Centre. It’s part of the plan authorized by first-year general manager Sean Marks to help maximize the performance of every player in the organization.
But Hall of Famer Allen Iverson of the Sixers recently said he’d have trouble sitting out while healthy when his former team made a similar move. Considering the Nets’ losing record, their chance to win is compromised whenever they sit their 7-foot center.
Coach Kenny Atkinson defended the organization’s approach, saying, “I am completely bought in. I think we understand the big picture. We make a lot of group decisions. Sure, you always want to have your best players around. But in Brook’s case and in the case of every one of our players, we’re looking at their long-term health and long-term performance.
“I look at it from a positive sense. Justin Hamilton will get to play tonight and AB [Anthony Bennett] will play a little more and Luis [Scola] will play a little more. When Brook comes back, he’ll be a little refreshed and we’ll get a great performance from him. So, I’m totally bought in.”
Lin’s the same guy
In the days of “Linsanity” when Jeremy Lin made a meteoric rise with the Knicks in the second half of the 2011-12 season, the current Nets’ point guard enjoyed a memorable moment when he hit a winning three-pointer with less than a second left to beat the Raptors at Air Canada Centre.
Asked by a Toronto reporter how Lin has evolved, Atkinson said, “He’s the same guy to me. He’s a point guard to me. I’ve always felt that. I love his vision of the court. I love how competitive he is. The last thing is his leadership helps me as a coach, and I know our players feel more comfortable with him leading us.”