After missing Wednesday’s preseason opener against the Knicks, forward Kenneth Faried is available to play Monday night in Detroit against the Pistons, but Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is still out.
Hollis-Jefferson, the incumbent starter at the 4 spot, is Brooklyn’s leading rebounder from a year ago, while Faried has averaged 8.2 rebounds per game over his seven-year career. The Nets are looking for a stronger performance on the interior after the Knicks’ Enes Kanter piled up 22 points and 20 rebounds last week.
The Pistons offer another tough center matchup in Andre Drummond, who averaged 14.8 points and 18.5 rebounds against the Nets in four games last season.
“Let’s be better with what we do,” said coach Kenny Atkinson. “I hate to go to our adjustments, before we keep hammering our principles. I think I told you this last week, I think it’s not just Jarrett Allen, it’s the Brooklyn Nets that have to help him. When you have an elite rebounder like that, I saw Kanter have eight rebounds against whoever they played the next game. We’ve just got to do a better job. But it’s a good…especially two teams we’re going to be playing early, great, great practice for us.”
The addition of Faried to the mix does add in one new wrinkle.
“Now with Faried maybe we can mix in some big, big lineups and try that,” said Atkinson. “Listen, I don’t think Kenneth is going to play 25 minutes. I think he’s got to build up.”
As for Hollis-Jefferson, Atkinson said he will travel with the team but doesn’t expect him to play Wednesday in Montreal against the Raptors either. There is no certainty that he’ll be available when the Nets return to Detroit for the season opener on Oct. 17.
“I just think we’re doing everything we can to get him ready,” said Atkinson. “We’re lucky it’s a guy that knows our system. He’s been in the league a while now. I don’t expect him to miss a beat.”
PRACTICE IN THE PARK
The Nets held their second Practice in the Park Saturday at Brooklyn Bridge Park.
“It was dope, being able to go out there and show those people love after everything they do night in and night out for us,” said Spencer Dinwiddie. “It was great being able to sign autographs and interact and show people that we’re people, too. That we’re very normal and just interact.”
“Great for the organization. Great for the fans,” said DeMarre Carroll. “Just the opportunity for us to interact with them and they can actually see the kind of things we’re doing in practice and some competitions. But it was great, man. If it was me, I’d do it two or three times a year. Because it was great for the fans.”
The Nets staged shooting contests, signed autographs, and connected with fans at the interactive event that included a block party after practice.
“An event like yesterday, to me, that’s what it’s all about,” said Atkinson. “To be in our neighborhood where we work, where we live, where we play, it’s awesome. A great turnout. I enjoy it personally. Maybe some coaches think of that as an obligation, I enjoy that. I like hanging out with the fans, talking with the fans.”
ABOUT THE PISTONS
For their second preseason game, the Nets visit Detroit on Monday night. The Pistons finished 39-43 last season and won three out of four against the Nets. Detroit’s big move in the offseason was a front office and coaching shakeup that saw 2017-18 NBA Coach of the Year Dwane Casey replace Stan Van Gundy after Casey was ousted after seven seasons in Toronto.
The Pistons’ big personnel move came in midseason last year with the acquisition of Blake Griffin in a deal that sent Tobias Harris to the Clippers. Detroit also gave up its 2018 first round pick in that deal and didn’t add much else in the offseason.
Griffin is Detroit’s leading returning scorer (19.8 points per game), while Drummond averaged 15.0 points and 16.0 rebounds.