The Nets play the Celtics Monday night in Boston, their final preseason game, but don't expect a lot of frontline players to put in time. As Lionel Hollins said after Sunday's win over Philly, he plans to "shuffle the deck" for finale. What that normally means is most of the rotation players sit with the camp invites and rookies getting minutes.
In fact, Brook Lopez, Thaddeus Young, Jarrett Jack and Joe Johnson didn't even travel to Boston.
Sunday's game was supposed to be a "dress rehearsal" for the season opener which is still nine days away. But once again, the Nets left their coach and their fans with a lot of unanswered questions. "We’ve got a lot of stuff to work on, still," said Thaddeus Young.
Not to say there weren't some positives. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, coming off a slight ankle sprain, did well. "He played fine," Hollins said of Hollis-Jefferson. "I don’t know if he’s part of the rotation or not, but he played fine."
The rotation, in fact, remains a question mark, in part because of injuries to players like Andrea Bargnani and Markel Brown as well as subpar performances from players like Bojan Bogdanovic. On Sunday, Hollins had Bogdanovic come off the bench, starting Wayne Ellington.
Where to follow the game
Out of luck again. No YES, No NBA TV.
Bargnani (hamstring) and Brown (quad) finish preseason without playing a single game. Willie Reed, of course is out for six to eight weeks. Chris McCullough, of course, hasn't played yet. With those four out and four players resting, the Nets will still have 12 players available: Bogdanovic, Hollis-Jefferson, Ellington, Thomas Robinson, Shane Larkin, Sergey Karasev, Donald Sloan, Dahntay Jones, Quincy Miller, Chris Daniels, Ryan Boatright and Justin Harper.
David Lee is sick, but Terry Rozier and Marcus Smart will probably play for Boston.
Player to watch: Justin Harper
Harper was the next-to-last player invited to camp but if anyone of the camp invites deserves a shot, It's Harper, who Hollins has played every game. The 26-year-old has has had some minutes at center in small ball, but mostly he's been at the stretch 4. In those five games, he's played 87.5 minutes. In that time, he's averaged 8.0 points and 4.4 rebounds, shooting 47.1 percent overall and 42.9 from deep.
This is Harper's last chance to prove himself. Can he break the logjam and find a roster spot? With Reed and McCullough out until at least December and Bargnani uncertain, the Nets could use some depth upfront. Harper, who played 14 games with Orlando four years ago, may very well have a chance.
From the Vault
Since we're on the subject of Harper, here's what he said about he thinks he can bring to an NBA team. He was interviewed in summer league where he played for the Pistons.
- Brooklyn Nets Game Notes - Brooklyn Nets
- Boston Celtics Game Notes - Boston Celtics
- Nets still have more questions - Andy Vasquez - The Record
- Nets have work to do before Oct. 28 opener against Bulls - Rod Boone - Newsday