With Spencer Dinwiddie (rest), Nic Claxton (right thumb sprain, left Achilles tendinopathy), Cameron Johnson (right knee soreness), and Royce O’Neale (left knee soreness) all unavailable in Milwaukee on Thursday, the Nets ran out a new-look starting lineup that scored just 15 total points, the lowest mark for any starting five since 2008, per Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link).
One of Brooklyn’s new starter was Nerlens Noel, who was playing in just his second game as a Net. Despite not scoring a single point, Noel was the only starter who had a plus/minus rating better than minus-14 (he was a plus-2) and made a positive impression on head coach Jacque Vaughn, as Brian Lewis of The New York Post relays.
“He continues to get himself in shape,” Vaughn said. “The charge that he took was great, putting his body on the line, so that was great. A (blocked shot) was great. So those things we want to continue to see from him.”
Noel’s contract with the Nets only covers 10 days, but so far he hasn’t been used like a player the team plans to soon part ways with, logging 18 minutes in consecutive games. Vaughn’s postgame comments also hinted that he expects the big man to be in Brooklyn for more than just 10 days.
“He’ll continue to learn conceptually what we want to do on the defensive end, and we’re switching back and forth between defenses, you know, so you got to turn your brain on and off and back on again,” Vaughn said of Noel. “So that challenge is what’s ahead of him.”
Here’s more on the Nets:
- Ben Simmons, still dealing with knee and back issues, missed his eighth game in a row on Thursday, and Vaughn said Simmons’ back inflammation remains “in the process of settling down,” per Lewis. “A big piece of it is still the strengthening, to make sure that there’s no reoccurrence,” Vaughn said. “And then for a while we had to kind of press pause a little bit in order for the inflammation in the back to kind of settle down a little bit. So last few days, that’s what that’s look like.”
- Although Brooklyn’s starting five was ineffective on Thursday, the team showed off its depth, scoring 98 bench points. That total was the highest in a regular season game since at least 1982, according to Reynolds, who notes (via Twitter) that Toronto scored 100 bench points vs. Brooklyn in a playoff game in 2020.
- Nets two-way players David Duke and Dru Smith got a rare chance to play rotation minutes at the NBA level on Thursday and combined for 30 points. Duke and Smith have spent much of the season playing key roles for a Long Island Nets team that won its 16th straight game on Thursday, led by veteran point guard Chris Chiozza, according to NetsDaily. Brooklyn’s NBAGL affiliate now holds a league-best 22-3 record.
- Sign-and-trade rules would have made it tricky for the Nets to acquire center Deandre Ayton from Phoenix in a package for Kevin Durant last summer, but Ayton would’ve been much easier to move at last month’s deadline. However, Ayton wasn’t part of the Suns‘ package for Durant and league sources tell Zach Lowe of ESPN (Insider link) that Brooklyn was “never much interested” in trading for the former No. 1 pick.
10 thoughts on “Nets Notes: Noel, Simmons, Duke, Smith, Ayton”
Ben Simmons should be in jail for robbing the 76ers and Nets of millions of dollars
Lol. Nobody forced the sixers to give him the deal. The funny thing is a lot of the media told everyone about immaturity of Simmons at LSU. Instead of listening, people just called them haters.
However, when players of his stature don’t get big contracts then allegations of collusion, conspiracy and other charges start being thrown around.
Yeah but so what. Things getting thrown around mean nothing in reality or legally. If the Nets didn’t “want” to owe Simmons rookie max money then they wouldn’t owe him rookie max money.
Simmons is a disgrace
I have no anger towards Simmons. I’d just like to see what he can do when he’s healthy. As for the rest of the team, the depth is impressive. Even looking at the G-League team shows what a reservoir they have. 22-3 is a tremendous feat. I didn’t realize until yesterday that they have Scottie Pippen’s nephew as their starting center.
He’s never going to be healthy. He’s going to milk these “injuries” so that he can collect his salary and sit. Ben is indeed a bum!
Ben is a bum.
Bums are broke.
Does Jacque Vaughan deserve COTY votes if for no other reason than the creativity involved with conjuring excuses for Ben Simmons, whom he must get asked about daily?
I still think Nash got robbed.