The Brooklyn Nets concluded their stay in the Orlando Summer League on Friday afternoon, playing a consolation game in the tournament against the Philadelphia 76ers. The Nets and 76ers were the only two winless teams going into the final day of the tournament. The Nets were down to six players for the final game, due to a number of guys leaving to start their week in the Las Vegas Summer League. Tyshawn Taylor sat out the finale as well, leaving the Nets with five players from their roster and a borrowed player, Lawrence Hill, from the Boston Celtics roster. The Nets would end up losing the game 89-86, and finishing without a win and in last place in the Orlando Summer League.
However, there were a number of things to take away from watching the Nets this past week.
Going into the week the big player to watch on the Nets roster was Tyshawn Taylor. When the week started the Nets had not yet signed Shaun Livingston and it seemed if Taylor played well in Orlando the Nets might give him a shot as the backup for Deron Williams. But Taylor really struggled throughout the week and showed everyone that he is not ready to be a point guard in this league right now and might not ever be ready. He just doesn’t have a point guard mentality, especially for a team surrounded by veterans.
This week Taylor did prove that he is capable of being a streaky scorer that has the potential to be a very similar player to his new teammate Jason Terry. Taylor will need to improve his shooting ability but he has a scorer’s mentality and has shown he can get to the rim with ease. This season Taylor will not see a lot of court time but being in an environment full of professionals will hopefully be a positive influence for the 2nd year player out of Kansas. He has a lot of work to do, but if he is willing to put in the work he could become a good scoring option off the bench in the future. For now, he is going to have to be content with watching from the sidelines because he proved that he is not ready for the spotlight just yet.
Mason Plumlee was the other player many Nets fans had their eyes on during the week. He played well for most of the week but had his fair share of ups and downs. Plumlee’s stand out game was in the matchup against the Miami Heat when he had 23 points and 9 rebounds but then the next two games he struggled big time scoring just 10 combined points in 46 minutes. Overall, Plumlee did what was expected, he made a few spectacular dunks in transition grabbed some rebounds and got pushed around down low. He ended up averaging 13 points per game and 7 rebounds but when he played against true NBA big men, like Andre Drummond, Plumlee was overmatched. This season will be very similar for the rookie if he doesn’t put on weight before opening night. The one thing that Nets fans have to love about Plumlee was his hustle all week, it didn’t matter if the Nets were in a close game (which was rare) or getting blown out by 20, he was giving it his all diving for loose balls and running the court.
Tornike Shengelia was the other player on the Nets roster that is likely to make the team this season. Shengelia, like the rest of the Nets, had his struggles throughout the week but he did put on quite a display with his transition offense. Some of the few bright spots in the Nets week involved “Toko” getting out in transition and dishing off to teammates. He looks very comfortable on the fastbreak but struggles a lot when it comes to a half-court offense, where he commits a lot of turnovers. Shengelia will be one of the last guys on the Nets bench this season but seems to have a high basketball IQ and could develop into a nice NBA player if he can improve the little parts of his game, especially his shooting.
All eyes were on Jason Kidd in the beginning of the week. Kidd was the only NBA head coach that was on the sidelines during the summer league and he seemed to get more comfortable with each and every play. He talked to his players in between whistles, drew up a few plays, watched Lawrence Frank’s every move and listened to his every word. Frank did most of the coaching early on but handed the reins over to Kidd when he was comfortable enough to do so. It is nearly impossible to get a gauge on how Kidd will be as a coach from this past week but it was a good learning experience for the rookie head coach in order to get prepared for the upcoming season.
The other player that was impressive throughout the week was point guard Chris Wright out of Georgetown. Wright is battling multiple sclerosis but is not letting it stop him from accomplishing his goal of making an NBA roster. He played extremely well this week, showing some range from deep and running the offense smoothly when the ball was in his hand. Although there will not be space for Wright in Brooklyn this season, he will have another chance to make an NBA roster in Las Vegas when he plays with the San Antonio Spurs.
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