The Nets bench better on paper, but has to produce
The Brooklyn Nets have assembled what could be one of the most underrated bench units in the Eastern Conference.
Last season, the Brooklyn Nets bench did a good job coming into the game and getting the job done. Compared to last season, the Nets bench will be more active, with expected sharing of frontcourt roles and more playing time for standout players.
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The three bench players that are expected to get more minutes are Joe Harris, Shabazz Napier, and new Net Ed Davis. Let’s start first with Brooklyn’s backup guards. Harris and Napier have different roles, but will be very active off the bench next season.
Harris, who recently signed a new two-year deal to remain in Brooklyn, did an outstanding job last season. Despite having an outstanding season, he will be seeing more minutes and will have to keep that high level of play.
When he comes off the bench, he has two main roles; to score and to play lock-down defense. Harris is a great shooter who can also put the ball on the floor. He was definitely Brooklyn’s main guy off the bench for the majority of last season.
Same goes with this season. He will be the Nets’ sixth man.
Regarding Napier, he will have to show he can facilitate and run an offense, something he has struggled with at times in stops with Miami, Orlando and Portland.
Napier had his best NBA season in 2017-18 as Damian Lillard’s backup at the point for the Trail Blazers, but still only averaged 2.0 assists in 20.7 minutes per game.
Now, Brooklyn’s frontcourt reserves will be the biggest part of the bench, with a new cast of characters assembled behind expected starters Jarrett Allen, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and DeMarre Carroll.
It will be interesting to see how Kenny Atkinson manages his frontcourt assets. Marks brought in six new faces to the frontcourt, which means every player will have to battle for minutes. The Nets frontcourt has great small-ball 4s such as Carroll, Hollis-Jefferson and new Net Jared Dudley.
Brooklyn also has Dzanan Musa, Rodions Kurucs, Caris LeVert, Treveon Graham and Joe Harris who can play at the wing. With the crowded wing position, players will have to embrace their roles and make the most of the minutes they can get.
Same thing goes with the big men down low. Davis and Kenneth Faried are likely to come off the bench. When they do, they will need to make an immediate impact on both ends of the floor.
The bench will be a huge decider on Brooklyn’s playoff hopes. If these bench players can embrace their roles and play at their highest level, Brooklyn can play great basketball next season.