Preview: Win or go home for the Summer Nets against Denver

Photo via Twitter/BrooklynNets

Opponent: Denver Nuggets

Time: 4:30 p.m. EST

Location: Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, Nev. 

Watch: ESPN 2

Photo via Twitter/BrooklynNets

Boasting a 2-1 record in Summer League pool play, which includes a 95-66 rout of the Pelicans, Brooklyn enjoyed the spoils of its play as the team earned the No. 7 seed heading into the playoffs that included a Round 1 bye in the 2017 Summer League tournament.

Expectations were high for the Nets entering Summer League, with a roster that features five players who ended the season as a part of the Nets rotation. In fact, the four of the “veteran” summer Nets each started more than 15 games last season. 

Brooklyn is coming off its most complete outing of Summer League in which the team thrashed New Orleans by 29 points Monday. Brooklyn was led by Archie Goodwin, who scored 18. Caris LeVert had his best game of the summer finishing with 17 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists on 6-12 shooting. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Isaiah Whitehead each chipped in 11 points in a game that wasn’t close past the first quarter. New face Jeremy Senglin was the only non-“veteran” to score in double figures, as he finished with 14 points on an impressive 5-10 shooting.

After going 0-3 in pool play, the Nuggets, Brooklyn’s next opponent, were able to advance in the Summer League tournament, getting past the Houston Rockets 87-81. Denver was powered from Torrey Craig, an unheralded commodity who went undrafted after four years at the University of South Carolina, who came off the bench to score 27 points on 8-14 shooting. Craig did a lot of his damage from the line, as he connected on 10-11 free throw attempts, also collected 11 rebounds and swatted three blocks. Goodwin will draw the assignment if both remain coming off the bench. The Summer League Nuggets outrebounded Houston plus-14 and had five more turnovers, but still won by six. Only one Denver starter scored in double digits.  

If Brooklyn hopes to advance and ultimately capture the Summer League championship, the team’s “big five” will need to do most of the heavy lifting. LeVert has only improved with each game as has Hollis-Jefferson, and these signs bode well. However, players like Senglin, Milton Doyle, Nathan Boothe and Prince Ibeh will have to pick up the slack when/if their “veteran” players have a bad game.