On of the first things new YES Network analyst Richard Jefferson did Wednesday night was to dub Brooklyn Nets sharpshooter Joe Harris ‘Beef Jerky Joe.’ We’re all OK with this?
His player page at Basketball-Reference.com doesn’t show a nickname listed for the fifth-year sharpshooter, but in one of his first acts as a game analyst Wednesday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Nets great and new YES Network talent Richard Jefferson unveiled one.
Meet “Beef Jerky Joe.”
The Nets’ official Twitter account gave the moniker its blessing and on Thursday, Jamie Oakes of Wahoos 247, a University of Virginia fan site, commented on the new label.
"“While ‘Beef Jerky Joe’ won’t replace ‘Joey Hoops’ in the minds of Virginia Cavaliers’ fans, this sight will bring back fond memories of the once-beardless Harris torching twine in the ACC.”"
Before he was one of the successful reclamation projects of the Sean Marks-Kenny Atkinson era in Brooklyn, Harris was a standout for four seasons at Virginia, averaging 12.6 points and 3.8 rebounds per game on .445/.407/.722 shooting.
His 3-point touch has solidified as a pro. His 59.1 percent mark in the early going has him ranked ninth in the NBA, while his 40.6 percent career mark is 10th-best among active players and puts him 24th on the all-time list.
Harris had a strong season in 2017-18 for the Nets and was rewarded with a two-year, $16 million deal as an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
Jefferson said Harris, with the new beard, reminded him of Sasquatch from the long-running series of commercials for Jack Links Jerky.
RJ could be onto something. Brian Steele, the actor who portrayed the mythical forest giant in more than 40 of those popular commercials, is 6-foot-7. Harris, at 6-foot-6, could be an able stand-in.
Learning curve steepens for up-and-down Brooklyn Nets
In both the preseason and regular season, the Brooklyn Nets have played to a pattern of one down and one up. In the preseason, they lost to the New York Knicks, beat the Detroit Pistons, lost to the Toronto Raptors and beat the Knicks.
So far in the regular season, there has been a loss to the Pistons, a win over the Knicks, a loss to the Indiana Pacers and a victory Wednesday night over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Brooklyn gets a steep challenge Friday night when they take on the surging New Orleans Pelicans and superstar big man Anthony Davis.
"“I’d say we’re doing what we’re supposed to do. [Friday] is going to be a good challenge for us. [Friday] is going to be a great test. Get back to me [Friday] after the game.“Not to take anything away from Cleveland, but I don’t think they’re a top-five team in the East. … We came in expecting to win. We took care of business. But [Friday] is definitely one of those games where we’ll really see where we’re at on the offensive end and defensive end.”"
The Pelicans rang up 133 points per game in beating the Nets in both meetings last season, so that whole “defensive end” might be the bigger of the challenges.
Allen, the 20-year-old from Texas who is entering his second year, is already starting to realize some of the vast potential he has. Allen is the starter and is playing 28.0 minutes per game, while Davis averages 17.0.
Together, the centers average 19.3 points, 16.8 rebounds and 3.0 blocks a night.
Davis, even in his limited playing time, leads Brooklyn in rebounding at 8.8 per game. The ninth-year veteran is also playing a big role for Allen as a mentor.
The lessons appear to be paying off on the window, where Davis is averaging 8.0 rebounds per game thus far — a big spike from last season’s 5.4 mark.
Allen said Davis gives him a benchmark as well as a vast learning resource.
"“It’s almost like a game for me with the rebounding now. I’m always looking for little ways that I can get more rebounds and he’s a perfect guy to watch.”"
Changing its tune … literally
Those of you who catch the Brooklyn Nets on YES Network might have thought you were hearing a new theme to introduce the broadcasts this season.
That’s because you were.
According to Dak Dillon of the trade publication Newscast Studio, YES has a new tune produced by Manhattan Production Music.
William and Walter Brandt scored the new theme, which Dillon wrote:
"“.. works to encapsulate the coolness and grittiness of Brooklyn.”"
I’m not big on the lyrics, but it’s got a funky beat you can dance to as you get ready to watch the Nets … so it works.