Brooklyn Nets Training Camp: Garrett Temple, David Nwaba Took the Hard Way Here

Free agent signees got their pro starts with 10-day contracts and G League stints

The Nets made waves with star additions this summer, but they also filled out their roster with the kind of system-fit, high-character veterans that had such an influence on the locker room last season.

Among them are swingmen Garrett Temple and David Nwaba, who could help fill out the guard rotation beyond the Kyrie Irving/Caris LeVert/Spencer Dinwiddie trio, or slide down to provide depth at forward positions on the wing.

“They’re picking things up really well,” said Caris LeVert of the pair. “Obviously, both of them have been around the league, so they understand how it works, they understand offensive schemes and defensive schemes. They’re both really intelligent players.”

Temple and Nwaba share similar entry points to the NBA, grinding their way through 10-day contracts and G League stints. Ten years ago, Temple came out of LSU and played for five NBA teams in two seasons before going abroad for a year. He stuck with the Wizards in 2012 and stayed for four years, making two playoff trips.

After two seasons in Sacramento, he split last season between the Grizzlies and Clippers, starting 55 of 75 games.

“It’s been great man, it makes it that much sweeter,” said Temple. “The first two years, up and down, out of the D League and going overseas my third year and having to grind, make a spot in the league my fourth year and then been blessed enough to have a spot since. So I respect guys like David, obviously, Lance (Thomas), and guys like C.J. Williams trying to make the squad. But it makes it that much sweeter and I’m very grateful.”

The 33-year-old signed on with Brooklyn over the summer with the understanding that the Nets were losing knowledgeable professionals with experience like Jared Dudley, Ed Davis and DeMarre Carroll, and looking to fill that void.

“We have a group of young guys that are very humble, very skilled, can really play the game, but understand that veterans may have some insight into some stuff that they don’t know yet, so they’re willing to learn,” said Temple. “But it’s always a feeling-out process when you get to a new team. But it’s great that you have some vets coming in that know each other a little bit and we know each other’s leadership styles a good bit so we can do it together as a unit.”

Nwaba came out of Cal Poly to play 20 games for the Lakers in 2016-17 before spending a season each with the Bulls and Cavaliers. He built a reputation as a rugged defender, and it’s something Nets coach Kenny Atkinson noted on the first day of camp, that Nwaba made his presence felt. Atkinson has even discussed using the 6-foot-5, 219-pounder at the 4 spot.

“I feel like that’s what I bring most to this team, just going there and playing hard on the defensive end and just bringing the energy that I think this team needs,” said Nwaba. “I’m just going to make sure I bring that every day.”

Temple and Nwaba have quickly gotten into the flow of things, ready to go at the start of camp after informal player workouts that have brought the team together since the beginning of September.

“Because we’ve been here most of us that are able to play have been here since Labor Day, we’ve been able to build some camaraderie, some chemistry, we’re kind of just flowing right into it,” said Temple. “We have vets that are new, so the new guys usually understand basketball tendencies and things of that nature, so you’ve just got to learn what the speech and what the different language is for the team, but it makes it easier when there’s not a lot of young guys on the team that have to learn so much. So we’re able to flow right into camp. We have a business-like mindset. We know what we need to do and we’re getting it done.”

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