The Nets are using what’s left of this season to determine who they want back next season, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Interim coach Tony Brown has been juggling his lineups, as Thomas Robinson, Sergey Karasev, Henry Sims and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson all made starts this week. “It’s an opportunity for you to show people what you can do,” Brown said. “As far as I know, we don’t have a bunch of long-term-contract guys, so this is an opportunity for them to show themselves to the organization and possibly to the league. So use your time wisely and help yourself when you play.”
Two players who have made the most of their late-season chances are shooting guard Sean Kilpatrick, who was signed out of the D-League and is averaging 13.9 points over his last 15 games, and point guard Shane Larkin, who has put up 10.8 points and six assists per night in his last six games as a starter. Larkin has a $1.5MM player option for next season.
There’s more from the Atlantic Division:
- The Celtics could benefit from Brooklyn’s decision to shut down Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young for the rest of the season, according to NetsDaily. Boston owns the Nets‘ unprotected first rounder, and Brooklyn is currently fourth in Hoops Rumors’ reverse standings, one game behind Phoenix. If the Nets move past the Suns, Boston’s chance at the No. 1 pick improves from 11.9% to 15.6%.
- Raptors assistant coach Nick Nurse picks Patrick Patterson as the team’s most improved player this season, relays Mike Ganter of The National Post. The sixth-year power forward only averages 7.0 points and 4.4 rebounds per game, but Nurse said the improvement shows up in his overall play. “I would say he has made more strides defensively, but I would also say he has made strides consistently producing the same thing night in and night out,” Nurse said. “I think there were a little more extreme peaks and valleys with him [before].” Patterson is signed for one more season at slightly more than $6MM.
- Derrick Williams has finally put aside the pressure of being the second player drafted in 2011 and has found a home with the Knicks, writes Dan Feldman of NBCSports.com. “This league is about opportunity, situation and timing – those three things right there,” Williams said. “And if you have good opportunity, situation is right, and the time is right on point, you can’t be stopped.”