Video of the Nets bench mob last season may have been the greatest recruiting video in recent memory. Scenes of the bench dancing to to Kid Cudi By Playboi Carti showed a group of individuals who bonded as a team who had a great time whether on the court or on the bench.
In case you forgot (we know you didn’t), here’s a selection of their greatest hits...
A quick review shows that all but Theo Pinson and Dzanan Musa are gone. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson to Toronto, D’Angelo Russell to Golden State, Jared Dudley to L.A. and Alan Williams to Lokomotiv Kuban in Russia. Ed Davis and DeMarre Carroll didn’t dance much, but they’ll missed as well.
So with eight players gone and the bench in need of new players —and dancers—, the Nets are putting their hopes on a variety of veterans, younger players and even a rookie to fill the void.
The two biggest acquisitions are both veterans: 33-year-old 6’6” shooting guard Garrett Temple who Kyrie Irving personally recruited and agreed to sign on the first night of free agency, and David Nwaba, 26-year-old 6’5” forward who was signed a few days later. For the sake of comparison, Temple is the new Dudley; Nwaba the new Hollis-Jefferson.
“They’re picking things up really well,” said Caris LeVert of the pair. “Obviously, both of them have been around the league, so they understand how it works, they understand offensive schemes and defensive schemes. They’re both really intelligent players.”
Not only intelligent but each has a “history.” Neither was drafted. Both had stints in the D League and wore a number of NBA jerseys. (Both attended high schools named “University High,” Temple in Baton Rouge, Nwaba in Los Angeles.)
When you ask either of them, what they bring, the first word out of their mouths will be either “defense” or “energy.”
“I feel like that’s what I bring most to this team, just going there and playing hard on the defensive end and just bringing the energy that I think this team needs,” said Nwaba. “I’m just going to make sure I bring that every day.”
It was Temple’s “D” that Irving appreciated and pushed for internally.
Temple likes what he’s seen so far from his teammates.
“Because we’ve been here most of us that are able to play have been here since Labor Day, we’ve been able to build some camaraderie, some chemistry, we’re kind of just flowing right into it,” said Temple, who noted the fits as well.
“We have vets that are new, so the new guys usually understand basketball tendencies and things of that nature, so you’ve just got to learn what the speech and what the different language is for the team, but it makes it easier when there’s not a lot of young guys on the team that have to learn so much. So we’re able to flow right into camp. We have a business-like mindset. We know what we need to do and we’re getting it done.”
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