Things haven’t been all easy for the Brooklyn Nets of late, having lost eight in a row and 12 of their last 13 with two of their rotation players sidelined due to injury.
However, there was some good news on Sunday...
The Nets announced that Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert will both return to the lineup on Monday against the Chicago Bulls. Hollis-Jefferson has missed the last 11 games with a right groin strain and LeVert has been out the past five games with a right knee sprain. It’s uncertain how much play they will get and Kenny Atkinson told reporters Saturday that Hollis-Jefferson won’t start and both will be on minutes restrictions.
They’ve been missed. Hollis-Jefferson, who has started 45 games at power forward this season, is second on the team in scoring (14.3) and rebounds (6.5). He provides athleticism and length that cannot be replicated, and the Nets have felt it. They’re 1-10 in the 11 games RHJ missed.
LeVert has been an integral part to Brooklyn guard rotation and has improved all season, averaging 11.6 points and four assists in 26 minutes per game. The Nets are 0-5 since he’s been out -- a large chunk of their current losing streak.
While the Nets aren’t “fully” healthy with Jeremy Lin out for the season, this will be the first time in a while that they’ve had a healthy full roster, as we’ve pointed out...
I’ve tweeted this before but the Nets have been completely healthy for exactly two games in last two years: March 2 of last season and Opening Night of this season.— NetsDaily.com (@NetsDaily) February 24, 2018
Still, their return helps put guys back in their respective roles. Line-ups are less likely to be experiments.
“Being whole is so key,” coach Kenny Atkinson said at Saturday’s practice. “That’s what’s going to get us moving back in the right direction.”
“They’re our energy guys. We obviously have been really struggling rebounding the ball. Rondae is one of our best rebounders, and Caris rebounds at a high level, too... We put Rondae on usually the best big player. We’ve put him on guards. He plugs a lot of holes, so it will be great for our defense getting him back.”
LeVert told reporters that he’s ready to get back and be a hound on the defensive side. Same goes for RHJ who told reporters that he wants to continue being aggressive on the glass despite being undersized, somewhat of a comparison to Dennis Rodman.
“I’m hunting rebounds. [Rodman] was 6-7-ish. I’m hunting rebounds.”
The Nets can only hope the two come in and make an impact. This losing skid is bad and it’s only gotten worse. Last year the Nets faced a period where they went 1-25. It hasn’t been that bad but it’s been close. They’e 4-16 in the last 20 and 7-23 in the last 30.
- Nets look to improve with return of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Caris LeVert - Greg Logan - Newsday