Watson, Evans Bolster Nets' Bench
Both C.J. Watson and Reggie Evans were in good situations last season. Watson was a member of the Bulls' "Bench Mob," backing up All-NBA point guard Derrick Rose and occasionally playing a crucial starting role during an injury-plagued season for the 2011 MVP. Evans spent the year bodying Clippers opponents who envisioned a few minutes off when Blake Griffin subbed out.
Each joined the Brooklyn Nets for the team's inaugural season at Barclays Center because they bought into the vision and saw an opportunity. They know their roles, and are confident in their ability to execute them.
"They want to win," said Nets coach Avery Johnson. "They thought this would be a great opportunity when they looked at our roster, of how they fit in. CJ knows: Deron is the man, he's the starter. He knows he'll get some minutes with Deron, some minutes without him.
"And the guys that we can put around him -- this is a team sport, and I hate bringing up my career, but I'll just give you one little thing: I was a much better point guard when I played with (NBA legends) Tim Duncan and David Robinson. When I went to Denver and didn't play with guys named Robinson and Duncan, I wasn't as good, ha. C.J. understands having an opportunity to play with Brook (Lopez) and play with Joe (Johnson) and (Kris) Humphries and all those guys, it makes a difference."
The coach views Watson as a key to the bench's success and the team's overall ability to push the tempo and pressure teams with offensive execution. Watson admits he's still adjusting to the new system, new teammates and new city (he hates the traffic), but feels well-suited to the situation.
"It's going pretty good," Watson said. "Just trying to get out there and have fun, play some basketball."
Johnson said that Evans has been beating up Humphries all week during Training Camp, playing physically without flopping. And Humphries will be the first to tell you how much he appreciates having Evans in the same jersey.
"What's great about Reggie is that last year he was on the Clippers and you'd play against Blake and those guys and when you think you're getting more of a break, then here comes Reggie," said now-teammate Kris Humphries. "It's great that on our team we'll have Reggie coming out and doing what he does so well. I'm just glad we don't have to play against him anymore."
The Nets simulated a gameday on Friday, splitting the teams into "White" and "Black" teams, beginning with a morning shootaround and setting up for an evening scrimmage. The scrimmage, though played under NBA rules and timing, will last only three quarters: a 1st, a 2nd and then a "4th."
Coach: Ronald "Popeye" Jones
Starters: Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Josh Childress, Mirza Teletovic, Andray Blatche
Bench: Keith Bogans, Stephen Dennis, James Mays, Tyshawn Taylor (OUT – strained right quad)
Coach: Mario Elie
Starters: C.J. Watson, MarShon Brooks, Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, Brook Lopez
Bench: Toko Shengelia, Carleton Scott, Reggie Evans, Jerry Stackhouse