Brooklyn Nets Training Camp Notebook: Kyrie Irving, Spencer Dinwiddie Impress Steve Nash
Coach with Hall of Fame point guard resume likes Brooklyn pair at the position
Brooklyn’s Hall of Fame point guard talked point guards on Wednesday afternoon after a few days of training camp practices.
Head coach Steve Nash was inducted in Springfield in 2018, and the two-time MVP has described Nets point guard Kyrie Irving as one of his favorite players.
“Why do I love watching Ky play? I mean his skill level is historic,” said Nash. “I mean his ball-handling is maybe the best ever, shot-making, going left, right, all three levels, incredible finisher with both hands. If I could add something of his to my game it would probably, he's a little more athletic than I am. I've been impressed so far in camp, I knew he was a good athlete, but he's just so mobile, he's like a cat, his agility, ability and sneaky athleticism. In NBA terms, we pigeon-hole athleticism in our league as explosiveness which he has some explosiveness but it's equally or more impressive his mobility, agility and reflexes. He's really impressive and that would have helped my game a little bit.”
With Irving back in the lineup this season, Spencer Dinwiddie will likely slide back into a reserve role. Last time he did that, he was second in the league in points and assists off the bench. Last season, starting 49 of his 64 games, Dinwiddie averaged career highs of 20.6 points and 6.8 assists, leading the Nets in both categories.
“He’s an outstanding basketball player,” said Nash. “High IQ. Has a good feel for the game. He’s an outstanding athlete, and he’s skilled. He’s a big point guard who can play off the ball, can play multiple positions, can make plays for his teammates and can score. So you’ve seen it in the past. He’s played heavy loads for this team, so he gives us a lot of versatility. There’s a lot of gaps to fill around Kevin and Ky and he can fill a number of them, whether he’s creating plays for them, or whether he’s spotting up, or he’s taking on defensive assignments.
“It’s a joy to have a player like that with that much talent and versatility in our lineup. So I love him and I just want to try to maximize his usage. With Kevin and Ky, it diminishes the load in some ways, so how can we tweak his versatility in some ways to be such a weapon and asset, because he’s the type of player that’s capable of carrying a load, but at the same time he’s capable of carrying a little versatility and being able to give us different looks and different options at multiple places, so I’m thrilled to have him, thrilled to coach him and think he’s going play a big role for us.”
When asked which of Brooklyn’s younger players have made a favorable impression so far, veteran forward Jeff Green cited rookie forward Reggie Perry.
Selected 57th overall in this year’s draft, Green is a 6-foot-10 big who averaged 17.4 points and 10.1 rebounds during his sophomore season at Mississippi State last year.
“I love Reggie, the draft pick,” said Green. “He’s a young kid who works very, very hard, who knows the game of basketball. Who can, honestly, it’s hard with the rotation that we have here, down the line in his career, I think he’ll be able to play multiple positions as well. He’s very talented. I didn’t watch – outside of watching my Georgetown – I didn’t watch much college basketball. I never watched him in college. But watching him out there on the floor, he looks pretty good.”
The NBA has been adjusting on the fly over the past nine months, and over time, some of those adjustments due to circumstances are going to stick. One of them seems to be the more casual approach to coaching wear that was routine on the NBA Campus in Orlando, with coaches wearing team polo shirts rather than suits.
Now, it looks like something close to the Summer League look is here to stay. The NBA has done away with a requirement to wear suit jackets or sports coats, though “business attire” is still part of the rules.
“I’m clearly not a fashionista,” said Nash. “I’m not a big polo guy because I feel like my dad, but I’m sure I’ll be in polos most of the time because I think the league’s going casual. I don’t think there will be a lot of sports coats. I think once they made it casual it will be a precedence to all be in the same ballpark, not one team in suits the other team business casual. I imagine wearing that casual outfit. I have no idea how it’s going to come off, but I suppose we’ll be comfortable.”
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