We took a quick break last week, but we’re back with the latest installment of TBG Stock Watch to ring in the New Year. The previous week started off hot for Brooklyn before crashing down ahead of the ball dropping. But after a double-overtime slugfest against Charlotte and a tough loss against the Bucks, one of the Eastern Conference’s elite, we’re willing to let it slide a bit headed into 2019.
With all that said, there are some risers and fallers worth noting as the Nets look to turn the page and keep chasing that postseason berth.
Let’s catch you up on the last week of Nets basketball.
Last week’s scores:
12/23: Nets 111, Suns 103
12/26: Nets 134, Hornets 132
12/28: Hornets 100, Nets 87
12/29: Bucks 129, Nets 115
1. Joe Harris
I must admit — I wasn’t the biggest Joe Harris fan during his first year in Brooklyn. Even though he was a decent three-point shooter that year (38.5), he only shot 42.5 percent from the field. He was truly a one-dimensional player as the Nets coaching staff worked to develop him after two seasons in which he barely saw the court in Cleveland.
I’m glad to say that I was dead wrong on Harris and that I’ve changed my ways.
Harris has improved every year — seemingly every few weeks over the last few seasons — in every aspect of his game. He appears more ready to launch threes when coming off screens, having his feet squared to the rim by the time he catches the pass and going up in one motion. It’s the same posied motion that fan-favorite Mirza Teletovic used to employ and it’s beautiful to watch.
He’s also become much better at using the threat of his shot to find driving lanes and his finishing inside has become reliable.
Joe Harris dropped the game winner, plus 25 more points en route to victory in Part 1 of our home-and-home vs. the Hornets 📼 https://t.co/FbSx7xZOjC
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) December 28, 2018
Over the last week, Harris averaged a mind-boggling 57.1 percent from deep on 5.3 attempts per game. On the season, he’s averaging a career-high in shot attempts (9.5) and attempts from deep (5.1). With that, he’s also averaging a career-high percentage from the field (50.9) and from deep (48.3).
Oh, and when you hit multiple game-tying three-pointers to send a game into overtime, all before scoring the game-winner in double overtime, your stock is going to go up.
2. Shabazz Napier
The Connecticut product had barely seen the court during the Nets’ recent hot stretch. But on the second night of a back-to-back, and with D’angello Russell getting a night off, Napier exploded against the Bucks for 32 points, 7 assists and just 1 turnover.
Napier showed good spurts earlier in the year, but Kenny Atkinson then decided to shorten his rotation. He’s never going to take Russell or Dinwiddie’s minutes, but Napier is still a viable bench option for most teams. The Nets could look to move him for a team that needs guard depth — but he’s also a great insurance policy if something were to happen to Russell or Dinwiddie.
Either way, Napier showed why he still belongs in the conversation.
3. Jarrett Allen’s Highlight Reel
This GIF kind of says it all.
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) December 30, 2018
Jarrett Allen is a shot-blocking machine who isn’t scared of your team’s best player. Even if that best player is arguably the greatest dunker of this generation. Even if that best player is arguably this year’s MVP. Even if that best player is arguably the greatest to ever play the game.
Brooklyn’s next game is against the Pelicans. At this point, I might be surprised if Allen doesn’t block Anthony Davis.
1. Jared Dudley
On the week, Dudley shot 31.8 percent from the field and 29.4 percent overall. His season percentages are now down to 40.9 and 32.1 percent, respectively. He also averaged a whopping 28.5 minutes per game this week, and he’s still averaging 22.2 minutes on the season.
By all accounts, Dudley is a fantastic teammate and he’s played hard when he’s on the court. He also didn’t play much last year on a Suns team that wasn’t all that good. And while it’s true that the Nets lack a good stretch-four, Dudley’s 32 percent from deep isn’t exactly causing defenses to scramble to guard him.
When the Nets are struggling with energy and rebounds, it might be worth it to give Kenneth Faried (who got into the game against the Bucks and played well) a look instead.
2. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
Every step forward seems to come with a setback for Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. He had a double-double in the double-overtime victory against the Hornets. In the other game against Charlotte and in the win over Phoenix, he combined for eight points on 2-of-10 shooting and had more turnovers (5) than assists (1).
Now, as mentioned before, he’s hurt again. Hollis-Jefferson’s season got off to a slow start after he missed training camp and the first few games with an injury. He’s shooting a career-worst 40.5 percent from the field and he’s also weirdly regressed from the free throw line, shooting just 66 percent after shooting 79 percent last year and 75 percent two years ago.
RHJ will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season. There’s a chance Brooklyn might have to make a decision to match his contract if another team offers him a hefty pay-raise. That decision looks far from clear as of now.
3. The Nets’ Future Answer at Point Guard
It never gets clearer, does it? Dinwiddie led the charge in the double-overtime victory against the Hornets with 37 points and 11 assists. Two days later, Russell was the only reason that the Nets were in the game, as he scored 33 of the team’s 87 points.
Follow that up with Russell getting a day off for rest against the Bucks (even though he had only played 27 minutes in the double-OT game) and Dinwiddie being inserted back into the starting lineup. Dinwiddie was quiet for most of that game, only taking seven shots and scoring just 10 points.
The Nets have already committed to Dinwiddie in the long term with the three-year contract extension he got. But they’ve also been a much better team when he comes off the bench this year. However, is Russell the answer as the starting point guard? He’s been pulled for Dinwiddie several times this season at the end of games.
It’s still a bit hazy.
This Week’s Games:
1/2 vs New Orleans Pelicans
1/4 vs. Memphis Grizzlies
1/6 vs Chicago Bulls