Early on this season, Jordan Bowden was scoring the ball at a terrific pace, but his Long Island Nets were not winning. In the first four games of the season, he averaged 27.3 points on 17.5 shots a game. The Nets G League affiliate went 0-4, however. Then, for a number of reasons, Bowden’s role changed, going from primary scorer to a jack-of-all-trades.
The 6’5” wingman from Tennessee had 20 points in Long Island’s first win, followed by 17, 15, 11 and 17 again in their next four wins (all on the road). In fact, after that initial burst, Bowden hasn’t scored 20 points again this season, hasn’t shot more than 16 times a game ... and the young Nets are 9-6. His stats graph, per Eurobasket.com, shows the change.
“I’m a team player, and I try to do everything in my power to help my guys improve their games and win as many games as possible,” Bowden told NetsDaily when asked whether the change in style of play had affected him. “We have a type of team that can be any guy at any night, so knowing that I have the luxury of playing with so many talented guys actually makes my job easier.”
Even with the change, Bowden’s start has been impressive for the Long Island Nets. Known as a microwave-like shooter at Tennessee, Bowden is averaging 18.2 ppg on 46% from the floor and 36% from the 3-point line while playing solid defense. Making the jump from averaging only 7.6 points in an injury-plagued season last year for Long Island and 7.8 points as a G League rookie in 2020-21, Bowden has transformed into one of the most improved players in the G-League.
“I played against him in college,” said fellow Tennessee native Chris Chiozza in a Nets video feature earlier this week. “So I knew he could shoot. From our scouting report, it said he was a shooter, just a shooter. but now seeing him drive and create, making other plays, playing defense, it’s good to see that growth.”
Compared to the very beginning of the season, the number of touches Bowden has gotten has diminished primarily due to the arrival of Brooklyn players David Duke, Kessler Edwards, and Day’Ron Sharpe. Jumping back and forth between Nassau Coliseum and the Barclays Stadium, the trio has forced head coach Ronnie Burrell to make adjustments. Also, Chiozza, the veteran point guard, missed a couple of game playing with Team USA which slowed things as well.
In fact, other than those occasional teammates from Brooklyn, Bowden remains Long Island’s top scorer.
The main component that separates Bowden from most players around the G League is his confidence. In the first quarter of a game against the Maine Celtics in November, Bowden attempted (and made) his first four threes. Making four threes in a row is tough in itself, but it was the degree of difficulty of each that expressed Bowden’s confidence the most. In transition, off the dribble, or heavily contested, Bowden was able to drain his shots with no problem.
“I know what I’m capable of,” Bowden told NetsDaily. “Because of the belief I have in myself and the work I put in, I believe I can not only make every shot that I take, but make the right play for my teammates to get them easy opportunities as well. I just try to be the best me.”
As videos from the Nets win over the Westchester Knicks two days ago, Bowden is being used by Burrell in a number of ways...
AIR JORDAN @_TheRealJBow pic.twitter.com/9vIIiI08IH— Long Island Nets (@LongIslandNets) December 14, 2022
.@_TheRealJBow ➡️ @dayron_sharpe— Long Island Nets (@LongIslandNets) December 14, 2022
Tonight's Homestretch presented by @HomewoodSuites Carle Place Garden City! pic.twitter.com/dCUQTygpjk
That work Bowden has put in — in order to be recognized in the way that he wants — has also been a major factor in why he’s been playing the way that he has.
‘The way that I play on the court is because of the work I put in on my skills, my body, and my health,” Bowden said. “I put in the hours in the summer and due to my hard work in the offseason, I am able to produce good results for my team.”
“He’s one of those guys who you have to pull out of the gym. He’s a workaholic. I’m happy for him in that regard. And he’s healthy. He’s doing good physically,” noted Burrell in talking to Long Island Nets G League color analyst Matt Estreich this week.
Bowden, who turns 26 next month, and Nets are now well familiar with each other. As noted, this is his third season with Long Island and he’s spent time in Brooklyn’s training camp the last three years as well as playing three games in the Summer League for the Nets in 2021. Last summer, he decided to go back to Tennessee and work out at the Volunteers basketball facility in Knoxville.
Bowden has proved that no matter the circumstances, he is able to adjust in order for the team to work smoothly. With Brooklyn expected to keep shuttling their youngsters between Brooklyn and Uniondale, adjusting his game will be a requirement.
“Just my mindset this year is free, clear and the style of play we’re playing with coach RB it kind of fits my game. it’s pretty good so far.”