2. Can Nets get a boost from All-Star Weekend quartet?
The Brooklyn Nets were one of three teams that had an NBA-high four representatives at All-Star Weekend in Charlotte.
Jarrett Allen and Rodions Kurucs participated in Friday’s Rising Stars Challenge, Joe Harris stunned the field in winning the Three-Point Contest on Saturday and D’Angelo Russell scored six points with three assists in 12 minutes in Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game.
It was a lot of good exposure for a franchise that has alternated between punch line and mere afterthought the last several seasons.
Russell played a hand in two of the three 3-pointers made by Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki in his brief All-Star appearance and handled himself well in the off-court events.
Harris faced the unenviable task of being the first man up in the Three-Point Contest, but by putting up a solid total of 25 shifted the pressure to the rest of the field to match him.
In the final round, he followed that up with 26 points, clinching the title when Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors misfired on the third attempt in his money ball rack.
Kurucs had 10 points and five assists in the Rising Stars Challenge and was one of the few of the young players on display that attempted to put up any defensive resistance.
Allen only scored two points, but also had two blocks — including adding All-Star Ben Simmons to his lengthening list of star denials at the rim.
Throw in injured Spencer Dinwiddie starring on the media circuit in Charlotte and the Nets may be flipping the script on how they are perceived around the rest of the league.
It can’t help but help a young, emerging team gain confidence. Russell held his own with 24 of the best players in the world, as well as two legendary figures of the sport. Harris took down the man widely thought of as the best shooter in the history of the NBA.
It was something coach Kenny Atkinson couldn’t help but notice.
How that translates into second-half results against a daunting schedule remains to be seen, but it certainly can’t hurt to have helped the franchise make a strong showing on a big stage.