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Garrett Temple is flying under the radar and it’s time we give him his due

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Boston Celtics v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

June 30, 2019 will forever be remembered as one of the greatest days in Nets history.

Roughly an hour before the official 6 p.m. start of NBA Free Agency, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowksi reported that Brooklyn had won the day, secured the big fish, and pulled off the “clean sweep” of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and DeAndre Jordan.

Caught up in all the hoopla was a fourth Nets signing which occurred just twelve minutes into free agency, signaling that it was yet another priority signing, albeit on a smaller scale.

After the commitments of Durant, Irving, and Jordan, Brooklyn had many veteran free agents interested in joining up to compete for a championship. However, Brooklyn decided quite early that Garrett Temple was the man who deserved their room exception - their final tool of cap flexibility.

Irving reportedly pushed Sean Marks to make the signing as he made a list of ‘3 and D’ type wings that he’d like to play alongside; Temple was included.

Upon hearing that Irving pushed for his signing, Temple said:

“You gain a respect or a rapport with players, more than others, when you’re guarding them, seeing them 25 minutes out the game. You’re there with them. And I think we definitely gained our respect for each other.”

The two were actually Summer League teammates with Cleveland in 2012, but as Temple said, they really got to know each other as competitors where they gained a mutual respect for each other.

Temple was a nine-year NBA veteran who had bounced around, playing for eight different NBA teams, the D-League, and even overseas in Italy since going undrafted out of LSU in 2009.

Despite not being able to stick with any organization for extended periods of time, Temple gained a reputation around the league for his work ethic and leadership as well as for being one of the league’s true culture guys.

“Part of the reason I was here was to be a mentor as well as produce on the court. I’ve been in so many different roles in my entire career. Fifteenth guy to not dressing to starter playing 40 minutes a game,” Temple told the Nets Tom Dowd last month. “I think that has helped me understand the role. Kenny (Atkinson) does a great job communicating. Just understanding the scenario. It’s not like he tells people not to shoot or to shoot. We have a team that flows and guys know what their role is. Like I said, we just play it to a T and deal with the results.”

Statistically, Temple won’t ‘wow’ anyone. He’s just a career 35.3 percent three-point shooter, has never averaged double figures, and his defensive metrics don’t equal those of an elite defender.

However, Temple’s value comes in his well-rounded play. He has proven reliable as a three-point shooter, dependable as a versatile defender — guarding one through three and even some four — and even is useful as secondary playmaking ball-handler.

That’s the value Temple brings on the court. Behind the scenes, the Nets rave about the leadership, attention to detail, and life advice he provides his teammates.

Michele Roberts, the director of the National Basketball Players Association, has said about Temple, “If we here at the PA could create the prototype member, it would be him... Garrett is perfect.”

Wizards’ now All-Star guard Bradley Beal has the highest of praise for Temple as a professional and as a man.

According to CBS Sports, Beal said of Temple, “I always tell everybody he’s the best teammate I’ve ever had. For sure. Everything he stood for, and just the way he carried himself -- I don’t want to gas him up, but just the way he carried himself was perfect. I almost wanted to mimic that in a way and carry myself the same way.”

Beal later continued, calling Temple, “humble, God-fearing, perfect guy you want to be around.”

When Chris Paul eventually steps down as NBAPA union president, many believe Temple will be at the front of the line to replace him. Forget about NBAPA, current teammate Joe Harris has said that he believes Temple is intelligent enough and qualified enough to run for President of the United States! He’s too young. You have to be 35. Temple is only 33.

Still, one of his nicknames is reportedly “POTUS” for President of the United States.

Temple has a way of commanding a room with his smooth demeanor, confidence, and maturity. Despite not being a star player, he’s respected by everyone as a true leader in the locker room, but just as it was with a rookie Bradley Beal, Temple’s true impact is felt with the young players on the team.

Joe Harris told CBS Sports that Temple has “an unbelievable influence on young players.” CBS Sports also provided another interesting tidbit.

After Caris LeVert signed his three-year, $52.5 million contract extension this summer, Temple took it upon himself to discuss real estate and the advantages and disadvantages of owning/renting property. It’s business and life insights like these that Temple goes out of his way to pass on to others that make him stand apart.

Temple is a conversation starter, always available to talk to his teammates, whether it’s about life or basketball.

”If they don’t know, I owe it to them,” Temple told CBS Sports.

After Wednesday win in Atlanta, Harris added, “(Temple’s) a pro’s pro. That’s sort of his reputation around the league. He’s the ultimate professional. He just takes care of his business. He’s a great leader in the locker room.”

After the win in Atlanta, Jarrett Allen echoed Harris’ sentiments, preaching about how well Temple fits in with this Nets team — on and off the court.

Allen said, “He’s the leader. He’s telling us what to do. Off-the-court he’s telling us just how to live our lives... he kind of snuck his way in to being our vet.”

Temple provides inimitable intangibles for the Nets, but his tangible value has shown through this season as well.

In his age 33 season, Temple is arguably having his best season.

After Wednesday’s 27-point season-high outburst at Atlanta —the third highest output of his career, Temple is averaging a career-high 10.1 points per game.

On Wednesday’s YES broadcast, Sarah Kustok explained how the Nets coaching staff has implored Temple to shooting more three-pointers. Temple’s averaging nearly six three-point attempts per game, a career-high, hitting 36.8 percent of his triples. His defense has been exquisite as well, often being tasked with the opposing team’s top perimeter scorer.

Temple has established himself as the most reliable ‘3-and-D’ weapon on Brooklyn’s roster and with the IQ he possesses on the court, he has quickly become a trustworthy favorite of Atkinson’s.

While he had an inconsistent start to the season, since Irving and LeVert went down, Temple has stepped up in a big way. In a ‘tryout’ season of sorts for this roster in effort to find out who’s going to stick around for a K- led squad with championship aspirations, Temple has proven his worth on the floor and in the locker room as a pivotal piece that embodies everything for which a Brooklyn Net should stand for.

Garrett Temple; flying under the radar no more.