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Kenny Atkinson, Nets players excited by competitive scrimmage

Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson speaks to the media

Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson speaks to the media at the HSS Training Center in  Brooklyn.  Sept. 19, 2017. Photo Credit: Errol Anderson

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Nets’ five-day training camp excursion to the U.S. Naval Academy reached an exciting conclusion when Jeremy Lin buried a three-pointer in sudden-death overtime for the final quarter scrimmage to break an 18-all tie. Lin gleefully leapt to bump chests with teammate Rondae Hollis-Jefferson as all their teammates cheered the end of an intensely competitive camp.

“Pleased with camp, I was pleased with the scrimmage today,” coach Kenny Atkinson said. “A lot of guys competed, we mixed lineups a lot, looked at different things. Just overall good feeling coming out of camp.”

Caris LeVert suffered a minor right ankle sprain late in the scrimmage session, and Allen Crabbe missed his second straight workout with a sprained left ankle. But Crabbe was out of his walking boot, and Atkinson said he doesn’t believe either sprain is serious.

Asked to critique Saturday’s scrimmage in which players sometimes changed teams to allow the coaching staff to try different combinations, Atkinson said he liked how competitive and physical the Nets played. “If I was going to take one negative out of it, I think the turnovers are too high,” Atkinson said. “That’s the big one. Now, part of that has to do with the defense in camp is super-aggressive, denying everything.

“We’ve got to look at that. Really, if you look at it, our offense last year, that was really the killer. So, we’ve got to figure that one out.”

The most pleasing aspect of training camp to Atkinson was the depth the Nets now have on the perimeter after acquiring D’Angelo Russell, DeMarre Carroll and Crabbe in the offseason to go with holdovers Jeremy Lin, Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie.

“With Jeremy, D’Angelo and Caris, you’ve got multiple guys,” Atkinson said. “Spencer can play pick-and-roll. That vision of versatility and different guys handling it is pretty good. I thought DeMarre was good today, too. He’s solid as a rock. There’s little stuff you can do in this offense that he knows, and just talking to the guys and helping then out is huge.”

Saturday’s scrimmage followed a day off on Friday when the Nets had a team-bonding day in which they raced a pair of sailboats in Chesapeake Bay under the supervision of Naval Academy personnel.

“We learned how to sail,” Atkinson said. With a smile, he added, “It was a low wind day, so we were blowing the sails. That’s the hardest part . . . I guess it’s easier with wind.”

New York Sports