Sep 26, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Jeremy Lin (7) during media day at HSS Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports
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The Brooklyn Nets held open practice at Long Island University’s Steinberg Wellness Center Saturday afternoon. Open practice was full of activities, as the Nets added a scrimmage this year.
With less than a week until preseason and three-and-a-half weeks until the regular season, the Brooklyn Nets gave fans a preview of their players at open practice. Open practice involved some practice drills, a three-quarter scrimmage, a questions & answers session, and a rookie dance-off.
In both the drills and scrimmage, two themes for the Nets became clear: three-point shooting and ball movement. Even Brook Lopez attempted some threes.
For the scrimmage, the Nets were divided into two teams: one clad in black practice uniforms, the other in white. The black uniform team was led by Atkinson, while the white uniform team was led by lead assistant Jacque Vaughn.
No rookies participated in the scrimmage. Bojan Bogdanovic also didn’t see much action.
Evidently, Team 1 has more experience, but there were numerous lead changes throughout the game. Team 1 led for most of the first quarter, but with Lin and Lopez not playing in the second, Team 2 was able to regain the lead. Still, Team 1 shifted the momentum back to them in the third, and they came out victorious. There were plenty of highlights from each side during the scrimmage.
One thing to note about both sides is the up-tempo ball movement, which contributed to many turnovers, but also forced both sides to play hard. It was refreshing to see players dive for loose balls and attempt to get every charge they could receive.
Let’s dive deeper into who stood out during the scrimmage, and some other things that went on at LIU.
Jun 3, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Joe Harris (12) during practice prior to the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Harris: By a long-shot, Harris stood out the most at open practice. The 25-year-old shooting guard canned three after three, including two back-to-backs during drills, and another back-to-back set of threes in the second quarter of the scrimmage. It’s unlikely that Atkinson will deploy Harris as a starter, but he would be a solid backup to Sean Kilpatrick or Bojan Bogdanovic.
Jeremy Lin: Of course, Lin got the most attention and love at open practice. Some fans even began chanting “M-V-P” when Lin was at the free-throw line towards the start of the first quarter. Though his shooting was not as great as it could be today, he showed that he was not afraid to attack the glass and that he still possesses a strong passing ability. In one instance during the first quarter, he assisted two straight field goals by Kilpatrick.
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Rondae Hollis-Jefferson: Arguably the most fun player on the Nets, Hollis-Jefferson was dazzling once again at open practice. His slam off a feed from Kilpatrick in the third quarter drew some “oohs” and “ahhs” from the crowd, and he had other jams throughout drills and the scrimmage as well. Though he is still far from perfecting his shooting, Hollis-Jefferson is primed to be one of the Nets’ breakout candidates this year. It was nice to see him having some fun at open practice too, as he always does.
Anthony Bennett: Bennett is looking for redemption from his status as the biggest bust in NBA history. If his performance at open practice is any indication of how he’ll do this season, he is at the beginning stages of improving his image. The 23-year-old showed off some slams, including one where he pumped the ball. He also demonstrated range, knocking down a three in the third quarter. Though Bennett probably won’t turn into a player Brooklyn can rely on right away, he showed that he could at least move with the ball at open practice.
Sep 26, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Greivis Vasquez (21) poses for a portrait during media day at HSS Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports
Other Notable Players
Greivis Vasquez: The 29-year-old Venezuelan guard appeared to have no problems moving around today, which is good news for the Nets. All that time recuperating during the offseason must’ve paid off. It was also nice to see Vasquez in high spirits, as he was seen joking with the referee during the second quarter about a blocking foul he thought should have been a charge.
Sean Kilpatrick: Kilpatrick never ceases to amaze fans; he was one of the main stars in NBA Summer League. He had his share of highlights today at open practice as well. During the second quarter, Kilpatrick made an unbelievable play — he squeezed his way around two defenders and was able to finish off the glass.
Yogi Ferrell: Ferrell may have been the shortest guy on the court today, but that doesn’t mean he had any less energy. With such a crowded backcourt, the Nets will have a tough time deciding who makes the final cut, and Ferrell just might be one of them if he continues to bring the firepower he showed today. The former Hoosier demonstrated a knack of knocking down shots from long range throughout the scrimmage.