In a lackluster performance on both ends of the floor, the Long Island Nets dropped their first game of the 2021-22 G League season to the Delaware Blue Coats, 114-110, in Wilmington.
After a close first quarter, the Blue Coats ran away with the game in the second frame and beyond. Delaware maintained a big lead until Long Island cut it to 10 points with two minutes remaining, but the Sixers’ G League squad was able to weather the storm and cruise home to victory.
Brooklyn Nets Rookie Day’Ron Sharpe was one of Long Island’s top performers, finishing with 12 points and 13 rebounds, with nine of those boards coming on the offensive end the floor. On his 20th birthday, Sharpe dominated the glass against an undersized Blue Coats team and even hit a 3-pointer. Sharpe is not rostered with Long Island, but is instead on a G League assignment while Brooklyn is on the road.
And as he did in Summer League, Cam Thomas, Brooklyn’s other first round pick in the 2021 Draft, dominated scoring. The Co-MVP of the Vegas Summer League led the Nets with 35 points, but struggled along the way. The LSU product shot 10-of-23 from the field, including 1-of-7 from three and a perfect 8-of-8 from the line. He also grabbed six rebounds and handed out two assists while turning the ball over four times.
Thomas looked his best during a stretch in the third quarter when he was consistently getting into the lane and drawing fouls, but he soon ditched that strategy becoming more reliant on his jump shot. He picked it back up very late in the fourth quarter, hitting his first three and finishing in the lane for an and-1 with 2:10 left. That was the closest Long Island got as the Sixers affiliate finished the game on a 7-3 run.
There’s no doubt Thomas can put the ball in the basket, but will he maintain efficiency as a scorer, consistently give effort on the defensive end, and find teammates when open? It was a question that dogged him in Las Vegas and preseason as well. Of course, like Sharpe, he’s only 20.
Here’s Thomas’ game highlights ...
The first of Brooklyn’s three second round draft picks, Kessler Edwards, struggled offensively against the Blue Coats. Edwards registered a mere four points on 2-of-6 shooting from the field, but remains one of the more intriguing players from the opening G League matchup.
Edwards shot a solid percentage from three while at Pepperdine, but did so with an unorthodox form. At Long Island Nets Media Day, Edwards and members of the coaching staff said altering his shot would be a focus during the season.
We saw a glimpse of his new release on a fade-away early on against the Blue Coats:
Kessler Edwards' new shot form doesn't look too bad. pic.twitter.com/Mpn793h9KH— Alec Sturm (@Alec_Sturm) November 6, 2021
Josh Gray, one of Long Island’s offseason acquisitions, had a solid outing to begin his season. The 28-year-old scored 13 points and grabbed six rebounds. David Duke Jr. was the only other Net in double figures, with 10 points on 4-of-12 shooting, including 2-of-4 from three. He also grabbed seven boards.
Long Island went through shooting woes all night long, finishing with shooting splits of 37/19/64. He also turned the ball over 23 times.
As for Delaware, Shaquille Harrison led the way with 29 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assistants, as well as some stellar on Long Island’s guard. The cherry on top to Harrison’s outing was a beautiful alley-oop to himself off the glass.
Here are the game highlights:
Long Island’s next game will be next Wednesday against the Capital City Go-Go in their season opener at the Nassau Coliseum. The game tips off at 7 p.m.