When Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks signed Sean Kilpatrick in February, it was a low-risk, high-reward move. Nearly 10 months later, the signing seems to be paying off.
With the Brooklyn Nets’ rebuild in full swing at this point, Sean Marks’ vision is starting to become clearer. He and head coach Kenny Atkinson are trying to build a culture full of hard workers on and off the court, as well as a fast paced up-tempo offense.
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One example was the decision to bring up point guard Yogi Ferrell, who Atkinson has called “The Energizer Bunny” of the team, from the Nets’ D-League affiliate. But another example was on display on a late November Tuesday night in Brooklyn, when the Nets faced the Clippers.
Sean Kilpatrick was on fire and helped lead the Nets to a double overtime victory over one of the NBA’s best teams at the moment. His final stat line was 38 points, 14 rebounds and two assists, easily one of the best games we’ve seen from a Brooklyn Nets player this season.
Kilpatrick did exactly what Marks brought him in to do: shoot; nothing more, nothing less. He looked scorching hot and helped Brooklyn stop the slippage for the moment, ending a seven-game losing streak.
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But even though Kilpatrick has played well, it hasn’t helped the Nets much. With the Nets missing Jeremy Lin, there’s plenty of anger among Nets fans, knowing that if Brooklyn had Lin, they would be much better off right now. After all, they won two of the five games that Lin was on the floor for, all five games coming against potential playoff teams.
So what has gone wrong with the Nets and why hasn’t Kilpatrick, who is averaging 16.2 points, been able to help without Lin there? Well, the answer is court vision and leadership, as well as change of position.
The reason the Nets paid Lin $36 million this summer is because frankly, they need someone to bring the ball up the floor as well as pass and school the youngsters that the Nets will use in the future. Kilpatrick was brought here to simply shoot the basketball. He’s played well, but remember, he is not a point guard. Typically, he’s a shooting guard and has had some struggles when playing at the point guard position.
With Lin now out with yet another pesky hamstring injury, it’s another tough break for the Brooklyn Nets and their fans. However, the injury allows Kilpatrick an opportunity to yet again find his role and see more time.
Something very interesting to look at is Kilpatrick’s stats in wins compared to losses.
Those are great numbers in wins and show how efficient Kilpatrick can be at times, especially for a team that has trouble without their starting point guard on the floor.
Meanwhile, his numbers in losses are not bad by any means, but you can definitely see how much of an impact Kilpatrick has on the game and how much a good outing can mean for the Brooklyn Nets this season.
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With that being said, once the Nets find stability without injuries lingering all around the team, they need to find a stable role for Kilpatrick. Is he a guy you want to start, or do you want him to be a spark plug and come off the bench?
Kilpatrick is an ideal sixth man for this team. Both him and Bojan Bogdanovic have thrived when coming off the bench this season, and we’ve seen them help the team out quite a bit when they do so. Having two very good shooters and energy guys coming off the bench is an ideal way to win ball games when you are low on talent at the current moment.
Nevertheless, Kilpatrick is averaging career-highs in plenty of different statistical categories this season (points, rebounds, assists) and is showing why he has been a very valuable asset to the Nets during their lengthy rebuild. Kilpatrick can be great for the Nets and has had inconsistent moments from time to time, but has definitely shown that he can excel in various levels of play.
The Nets are looking for diamonds in the rough at the moment, and it looks like Sean Marks’ first real diamond may be shining after all.