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The shooting guru that helped turn the Nets around almost joined the Wizards

SB Nation logo SB Nation 5/23/2019 Yanir A. Rubinstein
a man holding a basketball © Brose Bamberg

Tommy Sheppard and Scott Brooks missed a real opportunity last year

Stefan Weissenboeck, on the coaching staff of Bamberg in the first division of the German League, has garnered a league-wide reputation in player development as an overall skills and shooting specialist, as highlighted in a recent in-depth article on Closeup360.com. Now, he consults for the Brooklyn Nets and flies in periodically to improve their players’ shooting and skills.

He also consults with individual players, including Tomas Satoransky, who he took under his wing in 2017 after Satoransky’s first year in the NBA. Thanks to his help, Satoransky went from shooting 24.3 percent from deep his rookie season to 46.5 percent in his second season. It made him the second-most accurate 3-point shooter in the entire NBA among players that played at least 10 games and averaged at least one 3-point field goal per game. League defenses have adapted this season, but Satoransky still shot 39.5 percent, the second-best mark on the team, eclipsed only by Chasson Randle at 40 percent (incidentally, Satoransky and Randle have one other thing in common).

Weissenboeck has been working with NBA players and hopefuls for years now, including P.J. Tucker, Jakob Poeltl (both starters on Western Conference playoffs teams), Daniel Theis, Maxi Kleber, and the list goes on. During the season, when I asked Satoransky about his relationship with Weissenboeck, he was full of superlatives: “We have a great relationship, we really talk about basketball and about life, we have a good connection. I am glad I found some person like that. Especially when you’re an NBA player you need that.”

Given Weissenboeck’s strong connection to Satoransky and the fact that Weissenboeck was on the market looking for an NBA team last off-season, the obvious question is how did he end up in Brooklyn and not in Washington?

One would imagine that surely the front office was well-aware of his tremendous success story with Satoransky and would be eager to use his services to develop/improve some of their other players. For instance, Kelly Oubre Jr. struggled mightily from downtown towards the end of last season and those struggles carried over into the start of this season before the Wizards traded him to the Suns. In a season where Scott Brooks preached shooting more threes, the Wizards finished 26th in 3-point percentage.

Well, as it turns out from some reports in German-language outlets, Weissenboeck did entertain interviews not just from the Brooklyn Nets who ended up hiring him, but also from the Oklahoma City Thunder and... the Washington Wizards. According to some of these foreign outlets, Tommy Sheppard and the Wizards’ coaching staff interviewed Weissenboeck in 2018.

According to der Standard (via Nets Daily), Weissenboeck is quoted saying, “Everyone wants to go to the NBA, the Washington Wizards were the first to discuss a flexible commitment, but then talks got delayed with the playoffs ... the Nets gave me the chance and I am really happy and thankful for it.”

Weissenboeck signed with the Nets shortly afterwards, in May 2018, and during the past year has developed multiple Nets players, including Caris LaVert. The results speak for themselves: the Nets made the fifth-most threes in the league this season, catapulted back into the playoffs and secured their first winning record since 2013-14. We will probably never know exactly how or why Tommy Sheppard and/or head-coach Scott Brooks missed out on this one (Sheppard declined to comment on this piece), but what is clear is that the Brooklyn Nets really got a great bargain here (and led by Sean Marks and Kenny Atkinson they have consistently been creative), with Weissenboeck being an important part of their spectacular turnaround story.

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