The loss of Yogi Ferrell is a swing and a miss, not a strikeout for Nets

(AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)
(AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)
(AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)

The loss of Yogi Ferrell is a swing and a miss, not a strikeout for Nets

If you’re reading this, you’ll likely all too familiar with the 10-day contract and how it has both benefitted and hurt the Brooklyn Nets since Sean Marks took over the general manager position about one year ago. The 10-day contract gives teams in the NBA an opportunity to experiment with players in unique ways, testing them out in certain lineups, rotations, or specific periods of time. This type of contract enables teams to take chances on players with no long-term commitments — and, typically, it’s a win-win for all parties involved.

Except for when it isn’t.

On Saturday, the Dallas Mavericks signed Yogi Ferrell to a two-year contract following his 32-point performance in Friday’s win at Portland. Ferrell, who was previously signed to a 10-day contract with Dallas, has led the Mavericks to a win in each of the four games he has started, including victories over the Cleveland Cavaliers and San Antonio Spurs.

With the emergence of Ferrell, the Mavericks have climbed their way back into the Western Conference playoff picture, now just 2.5 games behind 8th-seeded Denver. The 10-day contract encourages teams to take risks on players that they might not otherwise and Dallas will look to reap the rewards of this system, riding Ferrell’s hot-streak as (ironically) Deron Williams continues to deal with injury.

For once, at the other end of the spectrum, are the Brooklyn Nets. Identified as a potential game-changer immediately, Ferrell was signed the morning after last June’s NBA Draft — the Nets saw his potential and acted on it as quickly as possible. In turn, Ferrell was put through the gauntlet with Nets and played on the franchise’s summer league team before joining the expansion D-League team, the Long Island Nets, the fall.

After quick successive injuries to both Jeremy Lin and Greivis Vasquez, the Nets took their chance on Ferrell and gave him the call-up. Ultimately, Ferrell was waived by Brooklyn twice since December and appears to have found a home in Dallas, which has left a sour taste in many supporter’s mouths. The Nets are obviously in the process of rebuilding and losing Ferrell may seem like a significant loss now but, in the long run, it probably isn’t.

Ferrell played in 10 regular season games for the Nets this season. During his brief tenure, the undrafted guard from the University of Indiana never scored more than 13 points, which he put up in a blowout loss at the Clippers in November. While in Brooklyn, Ferrell never gave Sean Marks any indication that he was worth keeping. Prior to his 9-11 three point shooting rampage last week, Ferrell was shooting just 28% from deep, with most of those attempts coming in a Nets uniform.

Of course, the Nets’ focus has shifted towards creating a competitive roster through free agency and the draft, both of which they will have to wait until the offseason for. It looks more likely each day that the first round draft pick that the Nets will swap with the Celtics will go no. 1 overall. No doubt, that hurts, but there’s no reason the Nets can’t learn from this whole Ferrell experience and use it in the future.

After all, the Nets are no stranger to the benefits that a 10-day contract can create. At around this time last year, the Nets signed Sean Kilpatrick to a 10-day contract. Less than a month after, the Nets signed him to a multi-year contract. Now a year later, it’s safe to say that this experiment was a success. Kilpatrick has emerged as one of the Nets’ most dynamic scorers — albeit his recent struggles – and an overall productive piece for Kenny Atkinson to utilize during his first year coaching the team.

For many, the issue with Ferrell lies within his ultimate replacement, Spencer Dinwiddie — another one of Marks’ 10-day contracts turned permanent. While Dinwiddie has certainly had his struggles in black and white, just as Ferrell had, it’s been well-noted that the Nets, looking to deploy a system similar to the Atlanta Hawks’, love his height and frame. The jury is certainly out on Dinwiddie as a long-term piece for the program, but, frankly, the same could be said about most of the roster outside of Caris LeVert, definitively.

Whether Ferrell turns out to be the next Stephen Curry or falls back to Earth (he will) shouldn’t affect the Nets going forward. The Nets have to understand that a 10-day contract is always a gamble, but it is certainly one worth taking. It’s a low risk, high reward system and one miss doesn’t make or break the team, especially when this one won’t likely compete for anything serious until 2019 or beyond.

To borrow a term from baseball, losing out on Ferrell may be a swing and a miss but the Nets are still in the batter’s box, not on their way back to the dugout.