Entering the final year of his rookie contract, Brooklyn Nets forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson needs to show he’s part of the long-term plan.
The theme for the Brooklyn Nets in 2018-19 is … surprise. Not a surprise, but the word “surprise.”
"“God willing everyone stays healthy, we’ll surprise people. I believe it, we’re going to achieve it.”"
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The irony in this is that RHJ suffered a left adductor strain while playing early last month in Jeremy Lin‘s charity game in China. The good news is that the injury is not very serious and we expect to see Hollis-Jefferson ready to go at the start of camp.
With that being said, what should we expect out of the 23-year-old? Can he continue to improve his numbers? Can he grow into a bigger leadership role with the Nets? Or should the Nets explore the possibility of trading him?
The Nets young core has struggled to garner attention around the NBA these past few seasons, but Hollis-Jefferson will be an integral part of surprising other teams around the league.
The Nets are counting on the improvement of D’Angelo Russell, Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen, and Hollis-Jefferson to become and continue to grow into the Nets core four, rather than just the Nets young four.
To answer the first question, we can expect improvement and a large role for RHJ to play this season. He has become an offensive threat, rather than liability. That corner he turned last season was massive and cannot be overlooked.
Whereas the league looked at Hollis-Jefferson as a defensive-minded player, now he has a jump shot and increasing range soon to extend to the 3 point line. Off the floor, Hollis-Jefferson has become and grown as a leader immensely.
He told reporters at the Nets Training Center:
"“I think people sometimes get confused with being a leader by what they say. I think it’s about what you do and your work ethic and how you come in every day. People start to follow.”"
Hollis-Jefferson has been a steady defender, accountable leader and a growing and improving shooter that the Nets will use as an offensive threat this season.
This is why the Nets need to keep Hollis-Jefferson a part of the core in Brooklyn. He is too valuable on and off the court for the Nets to just trade away.
He has been a part of the long and tough process the Nets are going through and the fruits of his labor will pay off when we see the chemistry among the Nets young players flourish on the herringbone floor this season at Barclays Center.