Brooklyn Nets head coach Jordi Fernández leads a Brooklyn Basketball clinic...

Brooklyn Nets head coach Jordi Fernández leads a Brooklyn Basketball clinic for middle school students at M.S. 136 Charles O. Dewey on June 3, 2024. Credit: Olivia Falcigno

Jordi Fernandez hasn’t taken long to get used to Brooklyn. The Nets’ new coach has been to three Liberty games and gotten used to riding Citi Bikes.

He also took time Monday to run some drills for a Brooklyn Basketball clinic at Charles O. Dewey Middle School. He didn’t just teach, he participated in a cone drill with the kids.

“We always talk about sweat equity with our players, and you do it also with little ones,” Fernandez said. “You want to exercise, demonstrate and you do it together. And if you’re not very good at it, you show it and you tell them that it’s OK.”

Brooklyn Nets head coach Jordi Fernández leads a Brooklyn Basketball clinic for middle school students at M.S. 136 Charles O. Dewey on June 3, 2024. Credit: Olivia Falcigno

Fernandez also has gotten down to business filling out his first coaching staff with the Nets. With nine assistants, it’s a deep group in which former Michigan coach Juwan Howard’s name stands out as the most prominent.

The common thread among them, Fernandez said, was bringing energy and a background in player development. It helps that some of the coaches, such as Howard, have playing experience to make it easier for players to relate to what they’re teaching.

“It’s important that we have enough guys that have done it,” Fernandez said. “Juwan obviously has done it at a very high level, and some other coaches that have played at a high level, and they can still hoop with the guys. I think that’s important because a lot of times, you have to connect in different ways, and we have different backgrounds to connect with our guys in a different way.”

Students run drills with Brooklyn Nets head coach Jordi Fernández at a Brooklyn Basketball clinic for middle school students at M.S. 136 Charles O. Dewey on June 3, 2024. Credit: Olivia Falcigno

General manager Sean Marks emphasized that player development was a factor in hiring Fernandez from the Kings. With five current players 23 years old or younger, it’s important to help them grow while also maximizing the talent of veterans such as Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson.

“He’s coached stars before, he’s been the head of director of development before,” Marks said of Fernandez in April. “He’s worn many hats and I think there’s no roster that he’s not going to be able to get the respect of those guys.”

It’s part of another key Nets offseason that will ramp up in the coming weeks. They currently have no picks in this month’s NBA Draft and their first priority in free agency is re-signing center Nic Claxton.

With his staff set, Fernandez is continuing to get settled in Brooklyn. That includes being hands-on with drills Monday just as he would with his own players.

“Sweat equity for us is important,” Fernandez said. “Players can feel it and that’s how you start building. We started building our foundation with the young guys. We have a lot of voluntary workouts right now, try to help these guys with whatever they need, and we’re in a very good place.”

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