The Brooklyn Nets have a young Summer League roster filled with good potential. The Nets lost an 86-80 decision in Friday’s opener to the Orlando Magic, a game that was not pretty on either side.
The NBA Summer League displays young talent who want to take their play to the NBA level. The rosters contain recently drafted players, undrafted prospects, and G-League standouts and the Brooklyn Nets‘ roster is no exception.
It was unusual seeing Brooklyn hold out on their young stars in the Summer League Opener, but the biggest news came from Ding Yanyuhang.
According to Brian Lewis of the New York Post, Ding will not play in the Summer League for the Brooklyn Nets.
Ding, who is a two-time Chinese Basketball Association domestic MVP, has been dealing with knee soreness over the past week. It is likely he went back to China because of the lingering knee injury.
This is a big disappointment for the Nets and their fans. Ding was already becoming a fan favorite despite not playing one minute in a Nets uniform.
With all the notable stars on the bench and Ding back in China, what did we see from Brooklyn in its Summer League opener?
The Brooklyn Nets started out strong against the Magic. The young Nets pushed the tempo on the offensive end thanks to Shawn Dawson. Dawson lit up the scoreboard early using all areas of the floor.
The 24-year-old played at both small forward and shooting guard in Friday’s game, showing a lot of potential, and came out hot, scoring 11 points in the first quarter.
The second quarter is where it all started to fall apart for the Nets. Brooklyn did not have the same offensive tempo as the first quarter due to Orlando’s defense. The Nets had trouble shooting and played a little sloppy.
Dawson continued to score and pass, well leading the Nets in scoring at the half. Despite Dawson’s strong play, Orlando led Brooklyn 42-34.
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Brooklyn started the second half with the same sloppy play, but controlled Orlando well. The Magic continued to score on Brooklyn and increase its lead, but the Nets made them work for it. Brooklyn had a problem controlling Orlando’s 2018 lottery pick Mohamed Bamba.
Bamba scored from all areas of the floor and even hit a smooth 3-point shot. The Nets did control Bamba, but could not take the lead from Orlando.
The Nets defense started to crumble, allowing Orlando to slowly build its lead. Orlando would capitalize off Brooklyn’s sloppy offensive play and score in transition. The Nets struggled the whole third quarter to hit their shots.
Despite the sloppy Nets defense, Dawson kept the Nets and their fans in the game with his throwdown dunk late in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter was a strong quarter for both Orlando and Brooklyn. The Magic struggled early, which led to Brooklyn creeping back in the game. But, by the time Brooklyn got the deficit under 10 points, it was not enough time to take a lead.
Dawson kept up his good play in the fourth with a series of drives and excellent passing. Milton Doyle helped the Nets get back into the game but Orlando was just too much. The Magic targeted down low and continued their solid defense.
What did we learn from the Brooklyn Nets?
Wiz of Awes
Despite the loss, there are many bright spots for Brooklyn. Dawson shot and drove the ball really well for Brooklyn. Dawson, who has played professional ball in Israel since 2012, proved he should be looked at for a G-League spot.
He led the Nets offense and led the Nets in scoring with 20 points in 18 minutes.
The Nets offense was sloppy but worked well. The young Nets played well with each other and seemed to be on the same page throughout the game.
On the other hand, Brooklyn’s defense was not stellar. They struggled to guard not only the 3-point line, but also the paint. Mo Bamba had a strong debut for the Magic and bullied the glass on both ends of the floor.
It will be interesting to see how Brooklyn will play when their stars take the court. No word on whether LeVert, Allen, Musa or Kurucs will play Saturday against the Oklahoma City Thunder. We should expect at least two of these stars to take the court Saturday though.
The Nets return to Summer League action Saturday at 7 p.m ET against the Oklahoma City Thunder.