Nets: DeAndre’ Bembry could be a part of the playoff rotation

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 11: DeAndre' Bembry #95 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 11: DeAndre' Bembry #95 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

While the Brooklyn Nets were able to build one of the best teams in the NBA last year, the division-rival Raptors, who were forced into a Tampa sojourn due to the COVID-19 pandemic, struggled outside of Toronto. Ancillary players like Aron Baynes and DeAndre’ Bembry weren’t enough to overcome tons of injuries.

In an offseason that already featured Toronto saying goodbye to Kyle Lowry, Bembry was also let go in the name of cap space. This was a bit of a surprise, as he finally seemed to find a home with the Raptors last year.

The former first-round pick never really got into a groove with the Atlanta Hawks, but his performance with Toronto was apparently interesting enough to some contenders that he was able to earn a brand new contract with one of the league’s heavyweights. Clearly, Sean Marks thinks that his style of play is what the Nets need.

Bembry has agreed to a one-year deal with the Nets, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. He isn’t going to put up gaudy scoring numbers, but he could do enough little things to earn a role in Brooklyn’s rotation in the spring.

DeAndre’ Bembry could be a solid defender for the Brooklyn Nets.

Selected with the 19th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft out of Saint Joseph’s, Bembry was billed as a high-flier who would make his name as a two-way slasher at the next level. His 6.2 points and 3.4 rebounds per game averages, however, did little to convince the Hawks that he should be a part of their future.

Averaging 5.7 points and 2.9 assists per game with the Raptors doesn’t sound like a huge step in the right direction, but he showed how he can be an ideal role player by using his frame, speed, and tenacity on defense to impact the game.

On offense, Bembry made 51% of his shots, including almost 59% of his 2-pointers. While still a liability from the 3-point line, Brooklyn has more than enough shooters on the floor to make up for that one individual shortcoming.

When Bembry was on the floor last year at the shooting guard position, the Raptors played like an 87th-percentile unit on defense. Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that, with Bembry at SG, 16.7% of opponent possessions ended in a turnover, which ranks in the 93rd percentile across the league.

With the wingspan and lateral mobility to make life tough on opposing guards, the Nets could throw an oversized perimeter player at teams when they decide to lean on smaller frontcourt lineups.

As promising as Cameron Thomas appears to be, the rookie out of LSU is not going to be a good defender at the NBA level during his rookie year. Joe Harris tries, but the playoffs showed where his defensive flaws reside. Bruce Brown is back and is excellent, but one guy can only do so much.

Bembry will need to work on his jump shot just a bit, as the Nets likely won’t roll out someone who is a complete, unadulterated liability in that regard for heavy minutes, but with plenty of talented offensive coaches to help him, don’t be surprised if Bembry starts making it rain (in a relative sense) from 3-point range.

Brooklyn’s financial situation means that they won’t be able to supplement Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden with stars. They even had to part with players like Jeff Green and Spencer Dinwiddie this offseason. Bembry is a solid intersection of potential and value, and he could be yet another defensive playmaker for the Nets to lean on.

If he starts to finally click on the offensive end, the Nets might strongly consider retaining his services for 2022 and beyond.