Evaluating the Brooklyn Nets’ Isaiah Whitehead situation

UNIONDALE, NY - MARCH 11: Isaiah Whitehead
UNIONDALE, NY - MARCH 11: Isaiah Whitehead /

The Brooklyn Nets are a team overloaded with young guards. With Isaiah Whitehead being one of them, he will need to find some minutes on the main roster if he wants to remain a Net and be a key part of this team moving forward.

In the summer of 2016, the Nets made a fan favorite move by drafting Coney Island native, Isaiah Whitehead. The move was looked at as an exciting one with the Nets getting what many thought was a steal. Whitehead would be a nice bench piece for the team going forward with the narrative of development. Now in his second year in the league, that narrative has changed.

Whitehead is currently on assignment with the Long Island Nets of the G-League. The Nets wanted Whitehead to get experience in the G-League last season. But with all the injuries suffered, he was thrown into the starting point guard role. Whitehead was tasked with leading a roster already lacking talent. He had a solid rookie season and was a top 10 rookie in many people’s eyes.

With his second season already nearing its end, many are still unsure of Whitehead’s place on the Nets. He has thrived in the G-League however and is beginning to look like he’ll be ready to go next next year.

To put into perspective just how well Whitehead has performed in the G-League, he’s averaging 22.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game. He is also shooting 36 percent from three. Whitehead dropped a career high 52 points in a 125-122 win against the Swarm on February 25th. All intriguing signs that the young guard may finally be ready to become a significant piece.

More recently, the Nets assigned Whitehead to Long Island last Sunday. With the G-League playoff race tightening and only 4 games remaining, Whitehead scored 26 points and grabbed 5 rebounds in 24 minutes to give the Long Island Nets the win over the Swarm, 126-93. This experience can only help him once he’s ready to play in Brooklyn.

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Nothing is certain however. We’ve seen inconsistency with Whitehead from time to time. When given a small sample size of playing time this season, he played well but the flashes he’s shown are too infrequent to judge.

In his final game with the Long Island Nets, Whitehead had another huge game to close out his first G-League season. With 39 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists, Whitehead put the Nets in a good position to win the game against the Grand Rapids Drive. In the end though, Whitehead was just off the mark on a game winning three and the Rapids defeated the Nets, eliminating Long Island from playoff contention. It was a solid campaign for Whitehead in Long Island but didn’t end how the team would’ve liked.

It will be interesting to see who will lose time if Kenny Atkinson decides to utilize Whitehead with the Brooklyn Nets. With that said, no one knows exactly where Whitehead fits on the team. He may get lost in the shuffle again. Or he may become a vital bench piece for the team moving forward. The Nets off season will be crucial in this regard.

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