Since the Nets blockbuster trade was finally complete on February 12, Brooklyn is 2-1 with wins over the Kings and Knicks and a loss to the Wizards. That was accomplished without any of their new “Big Three” of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons.
A lot of that success is due to the other pieces in the trade that was centered on James Harden for Ben Simmons: Seth Curry and Andre Drummond. Steve Nash inserted both in the starting lineup on arrival. The two will likely stay in those roles for a while ... unless New York lifts its vaccine mandate and Kyrie Irving returns as a full-time player.
Steve Nash like what both bring to the game. First Curry, who’s averaging better than 20 points a game as a Net, up five a game over his Philly numbers.
“I think in our league today it’s so important to have shooters who can space the floor [and] having him to do so for Kevin [Durant], Ky [Kyrie Irving] and Ben [Simmons] is really important,” Steve Nash said of Curry. “It gives us depth in shooting, spacing, but I think he’s a better player than just that. He’s pretty good in pick-and-roll, pretty good at scoring out of pick-and-roll situations or playing that game taking space to create offense and he can deliver the ball pretty well in those scenarios as well.”
Same thing with Drummond, who was averaging 8.8 boards in Philly in 18 minutes and is now grabbing 12.5 since donning black-and-white.
“I think the biggest thing is that we’ve struggled to rebound the ball and he’s a natural rebounder,” the head coach said before the Knicks game when he grabbed 19 boards. “He also is a big that can protect the rim, he’s got good defensively and can be a presence and offensively, I think he’s good at getting into actions, rolling, playing above the rim.”
“I think he fills needs that our group is looking for, and we’re excited for him to continue to get more comfortable in the way we play and also really get in great shape. He’s going to play more minutes for us as far as the way we project things to go, so he’s used to (playing behind Embiid, but we’re going to ask him to) play more. I think part of it is adapting to the new role.”
Drummond, who played only 18 minutes in Philadelphia this season, has been ramping up his conditioning while in Brooklyn. He’s even been doing post-game cardio sessions.
In the meantime, Nash will be scoping out how a newly reconstructed Nets roster will deal with the second half (actually a third) of the season. Nash doesn’t think that playing Simmons and Drummond, neither a 3-point threat and both poor free throw shooters, will hurt Brooklyn. Can spacing survive with the two of them on the court at the same time?
“I think that there’s ways that we can make it all fit together,” he said of Drummond and Simmons playing together. “I think they both bring a ton to the table and I think that there’s ways that we can make them complement each other and the rest of the guys.”
Nash didn’t detail how that would work, but certainly if the Nets are able to bring Joe Harris back at anytime between now and the playoffs, that would be one way. A lot of course will depend on Kyrie Irving’s status but a backcourt rotation that includes three of the NBA’s top 3-point shooters all-time in Harris (No. 1 among active 3-point shooters); Curry (No. 2) and Patty Mills (No. 20) would give other coaches headaches.
Both Drummond and Curry will be eligible for new contracts in the summer. In addition to Drummond being an unrestricted free agent, Curry can be signed to an extension beginning in 2023-24.
- Seth Curry giving Nets exactly what they need since trade - Laura Albanese - Newsday
- Ben Simmons, Andre Drummond can co-exist without shooting threes, says Nets coach Steve Nash - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News