PHILADELPHIA — This isn’t just the first playoff experience for most of the Nets’ roster, but also for Kenny Atkinson as a head coach. And even before they tip off the first round Saturday in Philadelphia, they’re learning the postseason is a whole different animal.
“It’s like a breath of fresh air. It’s so much more exciting,” Atkinson said.” It’s like a new season, not to be corny or cliché about it. I feel re-energized. When the playoffs come, it’s much more scouting-based. … During the season, there’s so many games that we focus more on ourselves.
“It’s like the NFL: You’re focused on the other team. You spend hours and hours getting into detail of what the other team is doing. I enjoy that because I don’t get to do that a lot. The assistants get to do it with the scouts. This is when I can really dive into the strengths and weaknesses of the team we’re playing.”
The third-seeded 76ers clearly have more strengths than deficiencies. But unlike the day-to-day grind of the regular-season — when teams have little time to implement real change — the postseason is more of a chess match.
“That’s why having two days of preparation, we’re much more scouting-focused in this phase than we would be in the regular season,” Atkinson said. “If this was Game 73 and we’re on a back-to-back and you don’t want to give your guys too much. We can give them a lot actually in these last two days.
“[We gave them] twice as much. … We did a 20-minute personnel tape. We’re going to do that on each player, split our guys into groups.It’s more like football. It’s more like an NFL prep [because] you have more time and can focus on the little details: This guy when he drives left he likes to spin, this guy pump fakes. You can really hone in on the little details that you can’t during the regular season.”
Atkinson actually had to reign himself in and not overload his players. He Googled elite coaches to see how they prepped for playoff runs.
“I was checking myself and make sure I don’t do much,” Atkinson said. “I did some research — how does [Gregg] Popovich prepare and what do other coaches say about preparing for the playoffs. Be careful that you don’t complicate it too much. We’ll see if I did a good job or not — or we did a good job — because I always second-guess myself.”
The Nets already could sense a difference in how much scouting was being done for the 76ers.
“I guess we’ll see [how he did],” Jared Dudley said. “The one thing you can see already is these guys have been here 6 to 7 hours scouting and putting gameplans in there. I don’t think you can do that when you’re playing 82 games and you have four games in five nights.”
DeMarre Carroll and Joe Harris are both set to play Saturday. Allen Crabbe is out.
Published at Sat, 13 Apr 2019 07:15:36 +0000