After losing out on Allen Crabbe and Tyler Johnson this summer, the Nets signed two veteran guards they hoped would fill the gap ... and signed second round pick Isaiah Whitehead to learn the point guard job.
So far, it hasn’t worked. Foye hasn’t played yet, out with a nagging hamstring injury. Vasquez is still troubled by his ankle, now almost a year since he first had to limit minutes —and then undergo surgery— for bone spurs. Against Milwaukee, he limped throughout the first half before being removed.
So, Whitehead has been thrown into the fire behind Jeremy Lin and the results have been a series of “teaching moments” for the 6’5” Seton Hall product. He admits he only played point guard for one year, last year, during his high school and college career.
Whitehead scored six points and made only 3-of-11 shots while committing five turnovers in 21 minutes. “I just didn’t come out ready to play when the team needed it,” Whitehead said. “I think I came out of the gate a little too fast by trying to force things. I just didn’t approach the game well.”
Maybe so, but it was a lot to ask him to do against the likes of Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo.
“Everything. It’s like we’re learning new basketball. It’s a totally different approach, a totally different game, totally different players, the best players in the world. Any little thing you do wrong, you get bit for it.”
Foye, 33, likely will return in the next day or two, but Vasquez, who turns 30 in January, is another issue. The Nets say he’s day-to-day, but his ankle now must be seen as a persistent issue, maybe a critical one.
“That’s going to be a day-to-day thing, the performance team and everybody figuring out what that looks like,’’ coach Kenny Atkinson said, putting the best face on it. “But it’s sore right now, and we’ll look at it on a daily basis.”
Vasquez, who sat out much of training camp after dropping out of the Olympics, is earning $4.35 million this season, with $650,000 in unlikely incentives.
Atkinson does see some positives going forward.
“We’re going to play [the young players], and it’s a great experience for Isaiah, Chris [McCullough], Anthony Bennett, for those guys to get in these types of games,” Atkinson said. “It’s part of their development, and as they get more experience they’ll step it up in closer games.”
Don’t expect any help from the Nets two D-League point guards, Yogi Ferrell or Boris Dallo. Both are projects and more importantly, there’s no roster spots for them.
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