Charles Maniego takes a look at where the Nets stand as free agency nears its end. This is Part III.Sunday, he’ll examine the Nets defensive options.

In his years as an NBA assistant coach, Kenny Atkinson developed a reputation as a “development guru,” a coach willing to work with every player on the roster in improving. Jeremy Lin credits Atkinson for his success in New York. Several members of the Atlanta Hawks spoke highly of Atkinson. DeMarre Carroll called him “family” when asked about reuniting with his former assistant. The respect for the Nets head coach runs deep.

But what exactly makes Atkinson a development guru?

Atkinson’s work ethic has been noted throughout the league. In Howard Beck’s profile of the Jeremy Lin-Kenny Atkinson relationship, the Long Island native’s willingness to work with a then relative unknown was detailed. Both Lin and Atkinson broke down film early in the morning. Atkinson took the floor with Lin, working his way with Lin through drills. The first thing Lin noticed about Atkinson was his “passion,” almost evident in everything the coach did.

Even as a head coach, Atkinson’s work ethic and passion stood out. Atkinson’s coaching staff included former players


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