Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Nets’ coach pulls out college football-style signs to direct defense

kenny atkinson sign

All day Saturday, assistants next to college football coaches will hold up large signs with obscure references — a pineapple, a Ferrari, a picture of Margot Robbie — to signal a play or formation in to a quarterback and team.

Friday night, Nets coach Kenny Atkinson pulled out a sign — a picture of former Orlando sharpshooter (turned NBA TV broadcaster) Dennis Scott with the international “no” symbol over him — to signal a defensive formation to his team.

So. Many. Questions.

Why? Is that even legal? Why the hate for Dennis Scott?

The why part Atkinson explained after the game, via Nets Daily.

Atkinson said post-game that the idea of the placard came from a staff member. He said the team was struggling to communicate defensive schemes and he wanted to have a “little bit of humor with it, too.”

“It’s just a defensive coverage we have. And we’ve had trouble communicating it to the guys in the past, so we came up with this idea. We have to find a way so everybody knows. Sometimes you have to add a little humor to things. It sinks in a little more with the guys,” Atkinson said, adding, “I’m not going to tell you exactly what it is.”

So why the Dennis Scott hate? That we may never know, although it seemed to be about defending the three and slowing James Harden (good luck with that).

But is it even legal? ESPN’s Bobby Marks (a former front office person for Brooklyn) said apparently yes, only because nobody had ever done it or thought of it before.

I want to see Gregg Popovich pull up out a sign next game so badly.

This could open up an entirely new field of NBA analytics — sign breakdowns.

Whatever, it worked. Brooklyn took control of the second and third quarters and held on to win, 123-116.