Nets vs. Bucks: Brooklyn Will Spread the Center Minutes with DeAndre Jordan Out
Rookie Claxton back in the mix along with some small-ball lineups
DeAndre Jordan’s dislocated finger on Wednesday may have opened up the door to the small-ball lineup that was a familiar option for the Nets through head coach Kenny Atkinson’s first three seasons.
With Jordan, a former All-NBA center, joining Brooklyn this season, he and young starter Jarrett Allen have dominated the center minutes. In three previous games that Jordan missed, the Nets went with rookie Nic Claxton, who averaged 14 minutes a game in those games.
On Wednesday, however, Claxton was not with the team, having been assigned to the G League Long Island Nets. So with Jordan out for the entire second half after leaving the game, the Nets went small with Wilson Chandler to fill in for Allen. Chandler scored 10 points, making 2-of-3 3-pointers.
So while the Nets will have Claxton available against Milwaukee on Saturday, Atkinson said a smaller lineup with Chandler or Rodions Kurucs and their 3-point shooting range is a possibility. Claxton, who was out for a stretch with hamstring soreness, has played just once for Brooklyn since Nov. 27.
“We’ll see it by committee,” said Atkinson. “Nic will play and he’ll get a shot at it. It’s good he had some great Long Island minutes and understands the system. You saw we played Wilson at the five, could see Rodi at the five. He’s 6-9, 6-10. It would be small ball but I think we have to be creative with this too.”
In addition, Joe Harris has been listed as out due to lower back soreness and Garrett Temple, who has missed three of the last four games, remains out with a right knee contusion.
LUWAWU-CABARROT SIGNS 10-DAY CONTRACT
Immediately following Brooklyn’s last game on Wednesday night in Philadelphia, the Nets announced a series of roster moves.
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, who had been with the Nets as a two-way player since the start of the season, signed 10-day contract as Justin Anderson, who had been on a 10-day contract, was released.
After signing with the Nets the week of the season opener, Luwawu-Cabarrot appeared briefly in two of Brooklyn’s first 24 games, playing primarily for Long Island in the G League. But he’s been a steady part of the rotation since mid-December, filling a crucial wing role after the Nets had to let Iman Shumpert go and David Nwaba was injured.
In 18 games, Luwawu-Cabarrot has averaged 4.7 points and 2.3 rebounds in 17.1 minutes per game.
“I told him today he’s doing everything we ask,” said Kenny Atkinson before Wednesday night’s game against the Sixers. “And I know he was here in Philly and I liked him when he was in Philly. I just think he’s really busting it for us, especially defensively where there were questions, questions whether he could defend in this league. It’s not a huge sample size, but we’ve been really pleased. Even last night, he did an excellent job defensively. He’s carrying our system out to a T, so that bodes well for his future.”
Brooklyn then added guard Jeremiah Martin on a two-way contract. Martin had been with the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the G League, averaging 18.5 points and 5.1 assists over 21 games. Martin was an American Athletic Conference First Team selection as a senior at Memphis last season. With Chris Chiozza having been signed to a two-day contract earlier this month, both of Brooklyn’s two-way signees are point guards.
“We’ve always had the philosophy of, let’s take the guy that’s highest rated on hour list,” said Atkinson. “It’s almost like the draft. We did it with Spencer, we’ve done it in the past. Here’s the No. 1 guy. Shaun Fein and those guys in Long Island will figure out the position. I do feel more comfortable now with multi-positional players that can play different spots. This was the guy that was rated highest on our list. Thrilled to have him and see him in action.”
HARRIS MOVES UP 3-POINT LIST
With two 3-pointers against Philadelphia on Wednesday, Joe Harris moved into fourth place in franchise history with 517 3-pointers made. Vince Carter is third on the list with 638. Harris is 12th in NBA history and fourth among active players with a career 42.4 3-point shooting percentage.
ABOUT THE BUCKS
This is the first meeting of the season between the Nets and Bucks, who are off to a 37-6 start, well ahead of second place Miami (28-12).
“I think everyone is saying the East is a lot stronger than it’s been so the fact that they’re up seven games is shocking to me,” said Kenny Atkinson. “It obviously speaks to what the Bucks and Giannis (Antetokounmpo) are doing. It’s historical. It’s both ends, too right? Offensive. Defense. They are extremely balanced and what’s amazing to me is Giannis plays 20-21 minutes and then they play all those other guys and they’re still beating teams by 20. So yes Giannis but also their whole team deserves a lot of credit, (coach Mike Budenholzer), tremendous credit to him.”
Milwaukee is second in the league in offensive rating (115.9) and field goal percentage (48.6), first in net rating (11.9), effective field goal percentage (55.5) and points (119.6). The Bucks are fourth in both 3-pointers made (13.9) and attempted (38.8) per game. Milwaukee is the only team in the league averaging more rebounds per game than the Nets, with 51.7 per game. The Nets average 48.6 per game. Milwaukee is third in rebounding percentage (52.1).
The Bucks are first in defensive rating (101.7) and effective field goal percentage allowed (48.7). Milwaukee allows the most 3-point attempts in the league (38.5), while the Nets attempt the sixth-most 3-pointers per game (36.9).
Antetokounmpo is second in the NBA in scoring with 30.1 points per game and also averages 12.9 rebounds per game and 5.5 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game. He shoots 55.2 percent from the field. Khris Middleton averages 19.4 points and shoots 41.0 percent from 3-point range.