1. Cupboard getting very bare at the wing spots
The Brooklyn Nets could be severely handcuffed as far as options on the wing are concerned when they face the Milwaukee Bucks Monday night.
Joe Harris, who has started a career-high 50 games already this season, is listed as questionable with soreness in his right hip and could join a list of missing wing players that includes:
- Caris LeVert, out since Nov. 12 with a dislocated right foot
- Allen Crabbe, out since Dec. 12 with a lingering right knee issue
- Jared Dudley, out since Jan. 9 with a strained left hamstring
- Spencer Dinwiddie, out since Jan. 25 with torn ligaments in his right thumb
This isn’t the the first time this season Harris has dealt with problems with his right hip. He missed three games in late November and early December with tightness in his right adductor.
When Harris sat out a Jan. 7 game against the Boston Celtics with a sprained ankle, Shabazz Napier made the start in Harris’ place, but against the very big, very long Bucks, Napier may not be the best option.
The problem is that the bench is getting very thin at those wing positions.
The Nets could give DeMarre Carroll his first start of the season at either the 2 or the 3, shifting Rodions Kurucs to the 2 (maybe not the worst idea against Milwaukee’s stretchy wings in Malcolm Brogdon and All-Star Khris Middleton.
The only other options are two-way player Theo Pinson or Australian veteran Mitch Creek, whose 10-day contract expires Monday. Per Olgun Uluc of Fox Sports Australia, Creek is going to get a second 10-day deal to remain on Brooklyn’s roster.
Pinson has played in 10 games for Brooklyn this season, averaging 4.9 points and 2.1 rebounds in 13.5 minutes per game while shooting 37.2 percent overall and 28 percent from 3-point range.
Creek is a 6-foot-5 wing, but not an outside shooting threat. He’s played in three games for the Nets since joining them on Jan. 25 and has seven points in 20 minutes on 2-of-5 shooting to go with five rebounds.
Harris has been slumping of late and was 3-for-12 overall and 0-for-5 from long range in Saturday’s loss at Orlando and the Nets have a 102.1 offensive rating over their last five games since Dinwiddie went out, ranked 26th in the NBA over that span.
Brooklyn’s 47.0 effective field goal percentage since Jan. 25, meanwhile, is 29th in the NBA, ahead of only the New York Knicks.
Coach Kenny Atkinson has excelled at pulling rabbits out of his hat as the Nets have dealt with multiple injuries for most of the season, but even a magician can pull off the same trick only so many times.