PHILADELPHIA — From the 76ers’ home in the Wells Fargo Center to the childhood home of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson in Chester, Pennsylvania, is a distance of only 13 miles, but it took the Nets’ 21-year-old forward until Sunday night to traverse that distance to the playing floor. Hollis-Jefferson led Chester High School to two state championships, but after missing the Nets’ two games in Philadelphia last season because of an injury, he finally arrived.
“This is the first time I’m ever playing in here,” said Hollis-Jefferson, who purchased about 30 tickets for friends and family but expected to have about 80 in the arena. “It’s definitely big. It’s definitely special to play here and have all my family and friends here and my support system. It’s great.”
He had seven points, five rebounds and two steals in the Nets’ 108-107 loss to the 76ers.
Hollis-Jefferson could recall making only two trips to Wells Fargo Center to see the Allen Iverson-led 76ers. “We came and watched A.I., and he put on a show like always,” Hollis-Jefferson said with a smile. “It was just great to be able to witness that and say, ‘One day, I want to be that guy out here performing.’ ”
Now he can.
Atkinson’s system at work
Nets coach Kenny Atkinson’s offensive system emphasizes pace, three-point shooting and driving to the rim. After 25 games, NBA stats show those goals are being carried out by his young team. The Nets rank first in pace (104.1 possessions per game), third in three-point attempts (33.2), fourth in three-pointers made (11.0), third in points in the paint (47.1), first in points scored on drives (23.0) and second in drives to the rim (34.5).
Asked if his vision is being realized, Atkinson said, “Well, the turnovers weren’t a part of it, that’s for sure. But I think the process is in place. The players are buying into our philosophy. We need to improve technically, we need to shoot the ball better and we need to finish better at the rim. We’re getting the right formula.”