Brooklyn Nets 2018-19 Primer: If Theo Pinson shoots, he might stay

Brooklyn Nets Theo Pinson. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets Theo Pinson. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images) /
Brooklyn Nets, NBA Summer League
LAS VEGAS, NV – JULY 13: Theo Pinson #4 of the Brooklyn Nets shoots the ball against the Indiana Pacers during the 2018 Las Vegas Summer League on July 13, 2018 at the Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Undrafted free agent Theo Pinson showed a deft shooting touch in Summer League and if that continues, he may force his way onto the Brooklyn Nets roster.

Theo Pinson was the top 3-point threat for the Brooklyn Nets in the Las Vegas Summer League, knocking down 11 deep balls in five games.

If that doesn’t seem impressive, consider that Pinson likely fell out of the 2018 NBA Draft because of his poor shooting, including a final season at North Carolina that included hitting 12 3-pointers … in 37 games.

And he didn’t hit a high percentage of those deep shots for the Tar Heels, either, converting at only a 22.6 percent rate last season and 25.5 percent for his career.

So his 42.3 percent showing from the longer NBA line during Summer League play creates some intrigue for the undrafted free agent, who signed a non-guaranteed deal with the Nets on July 30.

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Brooklyn Nets 2018-19 Primer: Jordan McLaughlin

Pinson, like fellow non-guaranteed rookies Mitch Creek and Jordan McLaughlin, faces a tough battle to earn a roster spot in Brooklyn, with the Nets already carrying 15 players on guaranteed deals.

But Pinson, who was an NBA prospect for his versatility — he can play the 1, 2 or 3 spots — and his tenacious defensive work, could force his way into the discussion is he shows in the preseason that his solid shooting from deep wasn’t just a desert mirage.

Pinson played a lot of point guard last season at North Carolina, averaging 5.1 assists per game. At 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds, he has the size to compete on the glass a bit (6.5 rebounds per game), but didn’t score a lot, averaging 10.3 points in 29.7 minutes per game.

He bettered that mark in Vegas, putting up 11.2 points in about 25 minutes per game on an overall shooting line of .450/.423/9-for-9.

The problem for Pinson is what is in front of him on the depth chart.

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At the point guard spot is D’Angelo Russell, trying to establish himself as the leader of the team and the future of the franchise as he enters the final year of his rookie contract.

At shooting guard is the highest-paid Net, Allen Crabbe, who figures to perform better than the .407/.378/.852 shooting line he put up n his first season as an NBA starter after coming over in a trade from the Portland Trail Blazers in the summer of 2017.

Behind both of them is Most Improved Player finalist Spencer Dinwiddie and third-year man Caris LeVert, who is much like Pinson in both size and versatility.

Then you have four-year veteran Shabazz Napier, a point guard signed as a free agent from Portland. Treveon Graham, a free agent from the Charlotte Hornets, can play the 2 or 3, as can veteran holdover Joe Harris.

So if it comes down to a final decision, it may wind up between Pinson and Graham for the last roster spot.

According to Brian Lewis of the New York Post, Pinson’s deal includes the Exhibit 10 attachment that allows it to be converted to a two-way contract. The contracts of Creek and McLaughlin also have the Exhibit 10, so it appears to be a three-way competition for two potential two-way deals.

Pinson would have to be considered the favorite to stick on a two-way deal between Brooklyn and the G League’s Long Island Nets.

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But a strong training camp and preseason — particularly with the long-range shot — could force an entirely different discussion, one that would have the Nets eating one of their guaranteed contracts to make a spot for Pinson on the final 15.