2 good surprises for the Nets at the start of the 2022-23 NBA season

By | November 15, 2022

Like their summer season, the beginning of the Brooklyn Nets’ 2022-23 season has been a tumultuous one. From Steve Nash’s firing to Kyrie Irving’s suspension to Ben Simmons’ early struggles, it is no exaggeration to say you could not have scripted a worse opener of the yr.

Nonetheless, the Nets have not too long ago discovered success, successful 4 of their final six video games. With Irving suspended, a number of younger actors stepped in and exceeded expectations within the ultimate interval. Amongst these nice surprises are Edmond Sumner and Yuta Watanabe.

Edmond Summer season

Edmond Sumner began all six video games rather than Kyrie Irving, averaging 10.5 factors on 9-for-22 (40.9%) on three throughout the interval. The 26-year-old signed {a partially} assured minimal contract with the Nets this summer season after lacking all of final season at Indiana with a torn Achilles.

Sumner scored 9 factors on 3-for-3 capturing within the first quarter of a 112-85 rout of the New York Knicks final week. The Xavier product completed the sport with 18 factors on 7-of-10 capturing from the sector.

“Truthfully, you simply should belief him,” Sumner mentioned of his current photographs after lacking all of final season. “While you’re on the market and also you miss photographs otherwise you’re not used to it, it’s totally irritating. However with me, it is simply sort of sticking to the optimistic. , figuring out that I labored arduous to get again to that chance and with the fixed reps and staying within the gymnasium I knew I used to be going to recover from it Figuring out my function too Not attempting to do a lot but additionally know it’s important to go on the market and be aggressive.

The previous second-round decide’s aggressive shot creation offered a much-needed offensive increase with groups relentlessly teaming up with Kevin Durant. At 6’4″ with a 6’8″ wingspan, Sumner’s hardline protection insertion into the backcourt additionally coincided with a defensive resurgence for Brooklyn. The Nets have posted the perfect defensive score within the league of their final six video games.

“Truthfully, I believe it is simply taking part in more durable,” Sumner mentioned of Brooklyn’s defensive enchancment final week. “The patterns are all the time the identical, we do precisely the identical factor. I simply really feel like we’re actually masking for one another. If I get beat on the rebound I do know somebody’s there to select me up, I am going to bounce again and roll to the opposite man. So I really feel like we actually come collectively. We now have much more video games and we’re able to sacrifice ourselves, so we actually belief the fellows extra.

Yuta Watanabe

For his half, Yuta Watanabe rapidly turned a fan favourite in his first yr with the Nets. The fifth-year ahead carved out a invaluable two-way function as considered one of Brooklyn’s greatest defensemen whereas capturing 50 % on three on 2.2 makes an attempt per recreation. Watanabe signed Brooklyn this summer season to an unsecured minimal contract.

The 28-year-old has played the past two seasons with the Toronto Raptors, averaging 4.3 points on 37.3% shooting on three in just 13.3 minutes per game. Watanabe’s relentless defensive activity on and off the ball has been refreshing for a Brooklyn team that has struggled with effort to that end in recent years.

The Japanese prospect missed two video games final week after spraining his ankle in a loss to Dallas on Monday. Watanabe returned in opposition to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday and continued to supply a prompt the bench, scoring 11 factors on 5-of-8 capturing whereas grabbing 5 rebounds. The freshman Web ought to stay a fixture in Brooklyn’s rotation given his high three-and-D play.

The Nets will want each Edmond Sumner and Yuta Watanabe to maintain their manufacturing going with Kyrie Irving suspended and Ben Simmons fighting knee ailment. Brooklyn sits 6-8 after a loss to the Lakers on Sunday. Jacque Vaughn’s facet will look to construct on their current success as they wrap up a four-game West Coast journey to Sacramento and Portland early this week.