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Theo Pinson opens up about second year: ‘It’s been up and down’

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Chris Milholen spoke with Theo Pinson to talk about his return to Uniondale as a player, his up and down second season with the Nets, and expectations moving forward. 

Atlanta Hawks v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Theo Pinson has not had the season he envisioned.

“It’s been up and down,” Pinson said. “Just listening to the vets. It is not going to be highs the whole season. It’s a long season. Just take everything and embrace it and I’m always telling myself that the Lord won’t put me in situations I couldn’t handle. I just try to remember that.”

The Nets point guard has seen action in 25 of Brooklyn’s 42 games this season, posting averages of 4.5 points, 1.9 assists, and 1.8 rebounds in 13.0 minutes per outing, mostly filling in when Kyrie Irving was hurt. And he has reprised his bench role as being the instigator of a lot of team celebrations. After all, he did invent “The Swim.”

Pinson was assigned to Long Island for Wednesday’s game against the South Bay Lakers. an opportunity for him to get some minutes with the Nets guard corps now healthy. Long Island’s win Wednesday marked the first time Pinson returned to Nassau Coliseum as a player.

During the game, Pinson consistently glanced around the Coliseum, taking in and self reflecting on the memories and the history he brought to the G League affiliate last season. He was runner-up in the Rookie of the Year race and made second team All-G League as well.

Alongside Alan Williams, Pinson led Long Island to the G League’s Eastern Conference title and the G League Finals, marking the first finals appearance for the Nets affiliate. It was Pinson who hit a deep catch-and-shoot buzzer beater to lift the Nets over the Lakeland Magic to punch their ticket to the Finals.

Pinson recorded 10 points, two rebounds, and one assist in 30 minutes of play in Long Island’s win Wednesday. The Nets assignee admitted it took some time to get comfortable playing with this new group of players in Uniondale. He did not want to take the spotlight from the players but by the time the second half was underway, Pinson began to play as Uniondale fans remember him.

“I felt like I was getting a little rhythm late in the second half. First half, I was trying to figure everything out and not try to step on anybody’s toes. I know everyone’s like ‘Theo is coming down from the big team.’ I don’t want them to think like I’m taking the spotlight. I am not that type of player. Everybody understands that and I tried to get a little more aggressive in the second half and just go out there and be me.”

Following the game, Pinson reflected on seeing that Eastern Conference championship banner and the memories from his time in Uniondale.

“”I’m not going to lie, when I started playing I just thought of all the games and all the stuff we did last year as far as that team,” Pinson said. “Everything we built and honestly, we had a very good mature team. Our coaches still talk about it, the ones who were apart of it last year. We had a really good team and we all got along well and we still keep in contact to this day.”

Despite returning to Long Island, Pinson envisioned his second year to be with Brooklyn full-time although he does acknowledge that Long Island has a great track history of developing their players and sees the assignment as a way to get better, a theme he knows best.

“To be totally honest, I wanted to be with Brooklyn,” Pinson said. “At the same time, this is a way to get better. The same thing happened last year. I was a two-way guy. I played well here.”

Pinson is unsure whether this one assignment in Uniondale will become consistent. For the Nets point guard, he cares about one thing whether he is with the parent club or with Long Island.

“I am going to do what I can do to win games regardless of what team I am on, whether I am with Brooklyn or Long Island,” Pinson said. “Do what I got to do to win games. That’s the biggest thing. We all win.”

As far as expectations and goals Pinson has for the rest of the season, with a big smile he has his mind set on one thing.

“Win.”