Wednesday’s game will be the last on his 10-day. He can be extended another 10-day under NBA rules so it won’t necessarily be his last chance. It might a bit of an exaggeration to say playing for Brooklyn is a dream, but according to reports out of Minnesota, the Nets were the “top choice” of the Iowa Wolves’ big.
And in an interview with Hoopshype’s Bryan Kalbrosky, described the process.
“I had an interview with [general manager] Sean Marks and [assistant general manager] Jeff Peterson about a week before I knew I would be going to Brooklyn. I spoke to them a few years back when I had a draft workout with the Nets but that was the only time I had met them before,” Cook told Kalbrosky.
“Anyway, we had a late game, tipoff at 7:30 pm, in the G League bubble. I was just grabbing food and walking back to my room when my agent called me and he said: ‘Pack your bags. You’re going to Brooklyn tomorrow.’”
And after news spread, his coaches and teammates celebrated with him...
some wholesome content for your timeline. pic.twitter.com/ruH0DHMZnz— Iowa Wolves (@iawolves) February 25, 2021
Cook liked the idea of joining a contender ... and one with a reputation for development.
“It hit me quick. I was obviously very excited to get the call in general but to know that it would be with this team, with a chance to do something special with the guys on this team, was even more exciting,” said Cook. “I’m super excited to be a part of this group for however long it may be.”
So far, the 6’9” Cook hasn’t gotten much burn. He’s played 14 minutes in three games, scoring two points, grabbing two rebounds and handing out one assist. The 23-year-old was coming off a solid G League season, averaging 20/10/4 in 33 minutes over eight games. He was seen as the best unaffiliated player in the G League.
It’s not about numbers, though, says Cook. He wants to be known primarily as a defender.
“In terms of my role, it’s going to be a lockdown defender. I’m going to rebound and I’m going to help get guys open by setting good screens and rolling hard to the basket and finishing when I do get the ball in a pick-and-roll situation or a dump-down pass or whatever it may be,” he explained.
“I’m going to do what I always do, naturally, and be the guy that does the small things to help this group and do what it takes to become someone the players and coaches value.”
Cook, who had some time last year with Denver, also said he learned from the Nuggets bigs, led by Nikola Jokic, about how big playmaking can be for a big man.
“I actually learned a lot of that last year during my time with the Denver Nuggets while I was spending time around Nikola Jokic and Paul Millsap and Jerami Grant. They helped me a ton and made me “think the game” better and play it better, too...
“I was a good playmaker in the G League because I learned where my teammates liked getting the ball. Does this player like coming off a dribble handoff? Does he like to get hit early? I want to learn everything so that I can get them the best shots and the shots that they like. That is why my assist percentage is high. Moving forward, I’ll bring that same element to my team as it is needed.”
Kalbrosky asked if he thought his big game against Long Island in the G League opener —31 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists— played a role in his call-up (as Spence Dinwiddie’s 25 points and 12 assists did back when he was called up in December 2016.)
“I think that’s a question for our general manager,” Cook said with a laugh. “Obviously, at that point, I didn’t know that Brooklyn was interested. I was just trying to play the best game that I could play. I don’t know how much that game stuck out in their minds but I do think the consistency that I was playing with down there definitely helped. I had a pretty good run down there.”
The Nets, as any fan of the team knows, have a very good record of plucking players out of the G League and making them more than just rotation players. Dinwiddie, like Cook, was 23. Joe Harris 24.
We’ll know more later this week —if not earlier— whether the Nets see some of that same potential.
- Get to know new Brooklyn Nets big man signee Tyler Cook - Bryan Kalbrosky - Hoopshype