This afternoon, the Brooklyn Nets lost to the Miami Heat 71-70 after an inbounds lob from Justice Winslow to Tyler Johnson with .4 seconds left on the clock. On the whole, it was a much more succinct and focused effort than their game against the Grizzlies — but turnover issues still plagued the team greatly. Although these games are still meaningless, no matter how many errant passes Markel Brown may or may not have had, there are still plenty of takeaways from this type of game — so, with that being said, here are five quick observations from today’s showdown with Miami.
(Miami’s Justise Winslow is going to be good, but you already knew that.)
1. RH with the J
For a guy who supposedly can’t shoot, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has spent a fair amount of time in the first two games shooting from mid-range and behind the arc, almost as if to challenge his doubters. Plenty of people have compared Hollis-Jefferson’s form to that of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, but that seems unfair. Hollis-Jefferson nailed a tough three towards the end of the game on Saturday, and wasn’t shy during today’s match-up either.
Ian Eagle recently pegged Hollis-Jefferson as a Day One starter and he seems committed to working out any kinks before training camp in September. With at least five games left in the summer, it’ll be interesting to see Hollis-Jefferson’s shot progress. So far, so good.
8 points, 7 rebounds, 0 assists, 2 steals, 3 turnovers, 4-8 FG%, 25:27 minutes played.
2. Early Overreaction: Ryan Boatright seems NBA-Ready
Yes, I know, it’s been two games, but Boatright seems like he could have a place in the NBA. The former National Champion seems cool and confident on the ball, and efficiently kept the offense ticking against Miami. Boatright isn’t afraid of the big shot and has a nice looking stroke — and he hit fives threes in this one. As The Brooklyn Game has pointed out before, a smooth three-point shooter like Boatright could be a good addition for a team that fired at just 33% from downtown — 25th worst in the NBA last year.
In fact, Boatright caught fire in the third quarter and nailed back-to-back threes, even going so far as to take a contested heat check on the next position. Boatright single-handedly kept the Nets alive and lead all scorers with 23 points. The Brooklyn Game wholly looks forward to using #RyanBoatrightHeatCheck next season as much as possible. Maybe that leadership and facilitation is why the Nets have given him a somewhat partially guaranteed contract, effectively locking him up for training camp.
23 points, 3 rebounds, 0 assists, 2 steals, 3 turnovers, 7-14 FG%, 25:05 minutes played.
3. Meet Jonathan Simmons, the sharpshooter from Texas
Simmons didn’t play against the Grizzlies, but the former D-League standout left a relatively positive contribution on today’s game. The former undrafted guard from the University of Houston has played the last two seasons with the Austin Spurs and averaged 15.2 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 3.7 APG, and 1 SPG on a blistering 49% from the field. Additionally, Simmons nailed a little over one three-pointer per game and could reveal himself as a cheap option for the Nets off the bench.
He had some trouble taking care of the ball, but had a thunderous dunk, nailed a couple of jumpers, and nearly hit an incredibly tough lay-up in the lane — all in the second quarter. His highlight of the day, however, most definitely came when he chased down Justise Winslow for a huge block on the fast break. For a guard, shooting nearly 50% from anywhere is quite the feat and it should be interesting to see what the Nets have planned for him moving forward.
13 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 5 turnovers, 3-7 FG%, 29:38 minutes played.
4. The Nets are still getting comfortable with each other, duh
Yesterday, the Nets couldn’t take care of the ball and quickly fell behind the Grizzlies once their shots stopped falling. Today, was much of the same other than Ryan Boatright bursting into flames from behind the arc. Amazingly, the Nets had more turnovers in the first half than field goals and finished with an astonishing 25 turnovers overall. There isn’t a ton of substance behind an observation like this, but it’s important to remember that this is just the fifth time these guys have played together — three practices and two games, including this one.
So, again, be careful about getting too sucked into the turnover side of the statistics sheet. With the exception of Earl Clark, this is a team full of youngsters and rookies, a little bit of sloppiness should be expected with their unfamiliarity. However, on the off-occasion when things went right, the Nets’ offense actually looked pretty, but those moments were few and far between.
Total Turnovers: 25
5. Khem Birch is an interesting prospect, too bad he’s Euro-bound
Birch, who played for UNLV in 2013-2014 and averaged 11.5 PPG and 10.2 RPG before going undrafted, has had an impressive showing so far this summer. The 6’9 forward from Montreal had a couple incredible blocks at the rim and has shown a pretty adapt ability in the post. For a team that struggled mightily in the paint with just Mason Plumlee and Jerome Jordan behind Brook Lopez, Birch could’ve been an interesting flier this year. However, he signed with Uşak Sportif of the Turkish Basketball League on June 30th.
So while he could be an intriguing piece at some point, he’ll be unavailable to the Nets or any NBA team for the foreseeable future.
4 points, 5 rebounds, 3 blocks, 1 turnover, 2-4 FG%, 17:54 minutes played.
The Nets play next on Tuesday at 3PM against Frank Kaminsky and the Charlotte Hornets.