The Brooklyn Nets will undoubtedly lean on players like James Harden and Kevin Durant to take them to the promised land this season, but this team’s bench will play an invaluable role in helping them churn out wins. One of the players who has impressed early on is versatile wing DeAndre’ Bembry.
Bembry is a former first-round pick who never quite stuck with the Hawks. While his scoring numbers appeared to take a bit of a dip during his year with the Raptors, he managed to improve his efficiency percentages while showing off the defensive skills that earned him a high draft pick.
Bembry was one of many defensive-minded signings the Nets made in the offseason, as Sean Marks seemed to believe that surrounding Durant and Harden’s offense with a bunch of quality defenders could be the secret ingredient that helps Brooklyn start to make some waves in the East.
So far, Bembry has been one of Brooklyn’s best reserves. 4.8 points per game may not sound amazing, but when you factor in his insane efficiency percentages of 56% from the floor and 70% from 3-point range (on less than one attempt per game, granted), it’s clear to see why Steve Nash keeps leaning on him.
The Brooklyn Nets have to be pleased with DeAndre’ Bembry.
Bembry was sought out by Toronto last year because of their affinity for players that can defend multiple positions. Even though he stands just 6-5, Bembry has shown he has the speed to lock onto guards and the size needed to withstand challenges from some of the bigger wings in the East.
Bembry is not the best shot-creator for himself, but he has more than made the most of his limited opportunities. According to Cleaning the Glass, despite having one the lowest offensive usage rates in the league, Bembry is currently in the 97th percentile in points per shot attempt.
Plenty of championship teams have a player like Bembry in their ranks. He may not light up the scoreboard, but he makes tough defensive stands, has already shown he can handle and distribute the basketball at an efficient clip, and avoid costly turnovers.
Considering the impact that Bruce Brown has had on the lineup, it’s clear that being versatile defensively will get you brownie points in Nash’s eyes. If Bembry starts to become a more aggressive offensive player, his minutes will only increase down the stretch. His skill set could make him a perfect defensive switchblade for the postseason.