Yuta Watanabe has been a nice find for the Nets this season. In 58 games for the team, Watanabe is averaging 5.6 points per game, 2.4 rebounds per game, and just under one assist per game at 0.8. The six-foot-eight forward has been an underrated player for Brooklyn this season, despite what the stats may say.
Unfortunately, Watanabe may be on the short end of the stick come postseason time. With the Nets need to keep their top defensive forwards like Dorian Finney-Smith, Mikal Bridges, and even Cam Johnson in the game, the George Washington product will find it tough to find minutes.
Prior to the Nets season finale against the Sixers, Watanabe had played only 18 minutes across the Nets other three games in April. Why is that important? In those games, Brooklyn was attempting to clinch a playoff berth and was already showing signs of what their playoff rotation may be. And while Watanabe did find minutes across these three games, his role progressively got smaller in the three-game span.
It will be a tough road for the 28-year-old journeyman to find consistent minutes in the postseason, but stranger things have certainly happened. But until shown otherwise, Watanabe may be on the outside looking in come playoffs.