I’m clearly going through the five stages of grief.
Two days ago, I wrote that I would try not to get so mad about losing a pointless Summer League game. I hated watching it because these are some of the guys that the Nets are going to have to count on during big stretches next year. I was mad that Summer League didn’t go exactly as I had dreamed.
But today, in the midst of a thrashing by the Championship-bound Houston Rockets, I realized I was completely indifferent. All things considered, we all learned some really important things over the last half-week. We went 0-4, but who cares? Here’s what I took away from this final game against Houston and the week as a whole:
Shooting 36% from the field today, the Nets dug themselves in a deep hole. As the NBA TV Announcers mulled: "This could get ugly guys," we agreed. But, Brooklyn fought back, thankfully. The last quarter and much of the second half was something to be proud of. On the bright side, the Nets only turned the ball over 17 times today. That was an improvement and that is not a typo.
Tyshawn Taylor is not ready for a role with an NBA team—and this is the big one. I love the hustle and effort from Taylor, but he’s 100% not the player that the Nets need. In September, I’d be really surprised to find that there’s any competition at all between Livingston and Taylor. One passes, one shoots; no matter how much potential Taylor has, Livingston’s distributing nature will beat him out. Last week, I literally said: “give Tyshawn the reins to the backup spot.” Well, I changed that tune pretty quickly.
Toko Shengelia has had an up and down Summer League as well. Sometimes, Shengelia looks like he works harder than anyone on the court. Then, he’ll make a complacent pass or stand quietly in the corner, just hoping to get noticed. I truly believe that Toko can be the backup small forward. Of course, he won’t be, but why not? The Nets could use a slashing forward that makes the right pass and can run in the open court. Shengelia didn’t quite have the breakout Summer League performance that he did last year; but we learned quite a bit about Toko: he’s a hustler and gamer. Keep him around, Billy, he deserves a shot.
Mason Plumlee had his moments in the first couple games, but was largely non-existant over the last two. They worked on getting him as many looks at that skyhook, but it’d really be tough for Plumlee top his first appearances. In case you’ve forgotten, his first basket for Brooklyn was the penetrating-spin-move-elevation-two-handed-stuff over the city of Detroit. He'll be battling with Reggie Evans for time behind Lopez this year and I like the rookie's chances.
But we knew about those guys, how about the others? There are really only two here even worth mentioning: David Lighty and Chris Wright. Unfortunately, Wright has little-to-no chance of making the squad, given the logjam at point guard already, but I was impressed by his game. I’d like to see him on Springfield this year if he doesn’t get a shot elsewhere. Wright is fearless like Taylor, but in a good way—willing to give it up even when he doesn’t have to and even sported a little bit of range, too!
David Lighty is an interesting dude. Again, I’m not sure if we’ll see him in Brooklyn this year because he’s not a sexy pick for backup small forward. But after missing out on Korver and Bogdanovic, something has to give right? Lighty could bring some of that 3 and D philosophy that the Nets lost after trading Bogans—and perhaps Paul Pierce could even teach him a thing or two
Oh, and Kidd? Well, he got up when the Nets were losing 17-2 to talk to on the phone. Then he came back and talked to Rod Thorn for a bit. Not much to report other than this:
A: He’ll be ready come November.
B: He’s riding a three-game streak of not getting a technical foul.
You start looking for the little things when you go 0-4. And if you look hard enough, you’ll find them.