Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is still feeling his way back offensively after being sidelined for the entire preseason with a hip injury, but the man did not forget how to defend.
Giving up a lot of size to Julius Randle, Hollis-Jefferson battled him to a standstill for much of their time together on the floor. RHJ yielded some ground up high, but then was successfully able to turn Randle into positions the bigger man did not want to be in.
Hollis-Jefferson also cleaned up the glass well with six boards in only 16 minutes. Much like with Allen Crabbe, the touch offensively will come with playing time, but RHJ continues to do lots of of the other dirty work that makes a team successful.
The longer he’s in the NBA, the more Shabazz Napier begins to look like the guy who carried the University of Connecticut to a national championship as a senior in 2014.
It’s been a slow process — three teams in his first three seasons and two of those years buried at the back of the rotation — but Napier is really starting to find his niche in the league.
Friday night in New Orleans, Napier just sort of did his own little thing for a span bridging the third and fourth quarters. Deep 3s, acrobatic layups, pesky defense despite giving up a lot of size — Napier was everything you could want in a fourth guard.
That whole point-per-minute thing didn’t hurt, either. Napier gave the Nets a boost when they needed it in the late third and early fourth quarters, keeping New Orleans at bay as they started to cut into the Brooklyn lead.
Is Napier going to sustain that scoring pace? Probably not, but it’s nice to know you’ve got a guy that deep in the rotation that can go full supernova for a spell.