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After four years as an assistant coach across the river at Madison Square Garden with the Knicks, and another four in the same capacity, Kenny Atkinson finally was thrust into a leading role last year, when he nailed down the job as the head coach for the Brooklyn Nets, making the Barclays Center into his home for at least 41 games a year. With those eight years of experience on NBA sidelines—coupled with a 14-year international playing career as a point guard—Atkinson’s hiring was greatly lauded by NBA purists everywhere. Now, the fate of hoops in Brooklyn lie on his 6-foot-1 shoulders. It’ll take some time as the team works through a rebuild, but Atkinson is the kind of young coach that could grow alongside his young team.
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Photo by Jane Bruce