NEW ORLEANS — Only the Nets’ performance team knows the formula that goes into decisions to rest key players when they are healthy. But at the surface level, the degree of difficulty against the Pelicans on Friday night at Smoothie King Center increased dramatically for the NBA’s worst team when the Nets chose to rest starting power forward Trevor Booker and guard Sean Kilpatrick, their top scorer off the bench.
It marked the first time this season that the Nets rested two healthy players in the same game, and they unplugged an average of 24.2 points from their struggling offense by sitting Kilpatrick (14.2) and Booker (10.0). Coach Kenny Atkinson cited the difficulty of a schedule that requires the Nets to play 10 games in the space of 17 days.
Asked why they rested two key players, Atkinson said, “Again, we get information from everybody, feedback from coaches, performance, players. We take in all that information and make decisions. We look at it as an opportunity for other guys to play.”
Justin Hamilton took Booker’s place in the starting lineup, and more playing time was available for Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Quincy Acy and Luis Scola at power forward, as well as Caris LeVert at Kilpatrick’s two-guard spot. Acy, who signed his second 10-day contract with the Nets on Friday, has skills comparable to Booker’s..
“They’re similar in style, fast guys, maybe a little undersized,” Atkinson said. “But they have toughness and aggressiveness and rebounding, yeah, similar in that way.”
Still no timetable for Lin’s return
Jeremy Lin (hamstring) missed his 30th game of the season. Because he has not practiced and there is no practice Sunday, he likely also will miss the San Antonio game on Monday at Barclays Center. Asked how many practices Lin needs to play, Atkinson said, “There’s obviously a serious plan in place. The buildup is important. That goes from just moving on the court without a ball, and then doing stuff with the ball, and then one-on-one, two-on-two, three-on-three. It’s even hard to define what a practice is. Is it three-on-three session in practice? But there is a plan in place to build it up.” Atkinson declined to say where Lin will be in that process.