For months, Nets fans have craved veterans like DeMarcus Cousins and Hassan Whiteside. They may be 30+ and have less-than-sterling resumes but they are bigs but fans believed that the Nic Claxton and Day’Ron Sharpe combination simply wasn’t going to be enough to battle the bigger bigs. Moreover, the Nets had lost Andre Drummond, Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge in the off-season.
Sean Marks said at Media Day that he was willing to give the two youngsters — Claxton is 23, Sharpe 20 — some time. noting how they’ve reconfigured their bodies and looked good over the summer. Later, he said, Brooklyn might need to make a move, but he’d wait and see.
“At the end of the day, I’m excited to give Nic and Day’Ron a shot out there and see how they perform.”
And so far, as Peter Botte of the Post writes Monday, they have performed well. Claxton, coming off a two-year, $20 million deal, was expected to deliver. He played well at the end of last season and was one of the few positives in the Nets loss to the Celtics ... if you forget about that 1-of-11 stint at the line in Game 4. The surprise has been Sharpe’s play. Botte notes that in battling Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez in Milwaukee, then Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns in Minnesota, Sharpe put up two-game averages of 13 points and nine rebounds in 21.5 minutes. A tiny sample in preseason, as Nash admits, but impressive nonetheless.
“Well, he had a great summer. I think he looks physically better. He really was great this summer,” Steve Nash said after Sunday’s practice. “I think I’ve told you before we’ve worked really hard with the young guys … and DayDay took a step.
“But [he’s a] 20-year-old guy, so we’ve got to also be patient and recognize two good preseason games does not mean he’s arrived. He’s got to be super-focused, diligent with his work and his prep and continue to take nothing for granted and see if he can continue to play well.”
It’s not just his athleticism that’s impressed Nash and the rest of the Nets braintrust. It’s his BBIQ as shown in these clips from the Timberwolves game...
Nash has also been playing Sharpe with the veteran big man Marks did sign: Markieff Morris. Not as mobile or as tall (6’9”) as Sharpe and Claxton but the 33-year-old can pick and pop with a career 3-point percentage of 34.1. Expect more of it, he told beat reporters.
“I think it starts a little bit by just trying to fit them on the floor. In preseason, you’re trying to play a little bit of an expanded group, but we actually have been pretty pleased with that,” Nash said. “We’ll see. I think different nights that’ll probably be not as inviting, but on other nights it can be good, so it’s not set in stone. But it’s also not something that we’re gonna throw out.”
Meanwhile, Cousins and Whiteside remain unsigned.
- Nets’ Day’Ron Sharpe keeps impressing ahead of opener - Peter Botte - New York Post