The growing partnership between the Brooklyn Nets and its G League affiliate, the Long Island Nets, inched even closer this summer when Long Island announced Will Weaver will serve as the team’s new head coach for the 2018-19 season. Weaver earns the promotion following two seasons working on Brooklyn’s coaching staff as a special assistant to Kenny Atkinson.
“It’s great for us,” Matt Riccardi, Assistant General Manager of the Long Island Nets, said. “We think it’s a seamless transition. He knows everything that we are doing in Brooklyn and everything we want to do on Long Island. I think it will be really important as we try to mirror our organizations to get everybody on the same page.”
Weaver takes over on the bench for Ronald Nored, who agreed to join the Charlotte Hornets’ coaching staff this offseason. But the addition of Weaver provides Long Island with a coach who has been ingrained in the Brooklyn Nets for the past two seasons — in comparison to Nored — who was hired following a stint with the Boston Celtics. Prior to becoming special assistant with the Nets, Weaver served in a similar role under Brett Brown and the Philadelphia 76ers. The move could enhance the cohesiveness of the Nets’ player development strategy, which has begun to blossom under Kenny Atkinson.
Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris are two prime examples of Atkinson’s focus on player development. The coach also played a major role in the development of Jeff Teague, Kent Bazemore and Jeremy Lin, respectively, during his previous stints with the Atlanta Hawks and New York Knicks.
“Kenny is right at the edge of that, in terms of the style of play and commitment to sort of a process-focus approach, as opposed to trying to chase something that is glittery and not very long lasting,” Weaver said.
Brooklyn Nets General Manager, Sean Marks, expects a broader role for the team’s G League affiliate going forward and has mentioned the possibility of using Long Island as a platform where international players can integrate themselves into the NBA. Nets draft picks Dzanan Musa and Rodions Kurucs may very well find themselves spending time with Weaver on Long Island. This would allow each prospect to receive sufficient playing time while learning Brooklyn’s offensive and defensive schemes with a more hands on approach.
“A lot of our effort is focused on the processes on all of those kinds of things, rather than on the individuals,” Weaver said. “I hope that we are successful enough to create an environment where [players like Musa and Kurucs] can come in and get reps and good game experience. This would serve as a compliment to the work they are getting with the Brooklyn group.”