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Day’Ron Sharpe answers the call. Was he responding to Nets’ 10-day signings?

There have been a few positive developments out of the Nets recent ups and downs. Day’Ron Sharpe is one of them.

Brooklyn Nets v Orlando Magic Photo by Gary Bassing/NBAE via Getty Images

At the beginning of the season, in responding to questions about Brooklyn’s depth at the 5, Sean Marks said he was prepared to go with Nic Claxton and Day’Ron Sharpe early, see what they could do. Claxton, of course, has more than justified Marks optimism, being in the conversation for both the All-Defensive team and Most Improved Player.

Sharpe on the other hand had some positive showings, but as the season wore on, he was spending a lot more time developing with the Long Island Nets than he was on the court. Overall, the 21-year-old now in his second year was not meeting expectations.

Then, following the trades that sent Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to Phoenix and Dallas, respectively, the Nets found themselves relying on undersized back-ups like 6’6” Royce O’Neale and 6’7” Dorian Finney Smith. They even went out and signed two veteran bigs, Nerlens Noel and Moses Brown, to 10-days while Sharpe spent time on the bench. Between March 3 and March 16, Sharpe got in one game, vs. Milwaukee, playing 30 minutes. His game log was marred by seven DNP-CDs.

Finally, Sharpe responded. Starting with the Cavs game last Tuesday, Sharpe has provided some solid minutes for Jacque Vaughn when inserted. Over the past four games, the 6’10” Sharpe has averaged 11.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, including 5.3 offensive boards, in 15.8 minutes per game. As the Nets boasted on Twitter, “no player in the league has more offensive boards than Sharpe in that timeframe.”

So did the Nets deliberately bring in Noel and Brown to motivate Sharpe, Brian Lewis asked pre-game Sunday.

“Of course we wouldn’t do that. We wouldn’t sign those two bigs to motivate Day’Ron Sharpe to be a professional and bring all he has every single day,” Vaughn responded, as Lewis noted, his voice dripping with good-natured sarcasm. “At the end of the day these guys are here in this league because they have a competitive nature about it. That’s why they got here. That’s why they’re the one-percenters.

“And sometimes you have to tap into that competitive nature. Sometimes you can not appreciate the situation that you’re in. It might not look like the way you want it to look on your timing. Sometimes you need a little nudge, and Day’Ron has responded extremely well by having another big on the roster.”

Sharpe wouldn’t say whether Vaughn’s tough love had won him over, but he didn’t say it didn’t either.

“I’d say [inconsistent playing time] was hard early on. It was a challenge. Now, I’d say it is what it is. You can only control what you can control,” Sharpe told Lewis. “I’m just the type of dude I really don’t let things get ingrown. Something happens and a couple of hours go by and I’m over it, for real.

“[Vaughn] is always preaching habits and being more professional. … Watching film after the game, just getting what you need. Even though I’m young, still getting what you need and doing what you have to do to get ready for the game.”

Sharpe is likely to get more minutes in the Nets final games. Claxton could use the rest. So far, he’s played 2,073 minutes in 70 games this season which ranks him 66th in the NBA. In his three seasons before this one, he had accumulated a grand total of 1,755!

Sharpe doesn’t turn 22 till early next season and like Claxton — and Jarrett Allen before him — it’s taken some time from him to mature but Vaughn and the Nets believe he’s on right path for whatever reason.

As for Brown, himself only 23, the Nets will have to decide his future with the franchise today. They could offer him a second 10-day or not renew him.