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Andre Roberson Gets Started With Brooklyn Nets

Defensive-minded wing made Nets debut vs. Lakers

Andre Roberson made his Brooklyn debut on Thursday in the Nets’ win over the Lakers, a first step in a new chapter for the 29-year-old wing who started alongside Kevin Durant for the three years the two played together in Oklahoma City.

Roberson established himself as one of the league’s premier defenders during that stretch, and in 2016-17 was named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team. The following season though, Roberson ruptured the patellar tendon in his left knee in January and eventually went more than two years without playing in an NBA game through an ordeal of stops, starts, and setbacks that featured multiple surgeries.

He finally returned over the summer and played seven games for the Thunder on the NBA Campus in Orlando after the 2019-20 season resumed. With his contract having expired after the season, Roberson was a free agent until he got the call from the Nets and signed earlier this week.

“You’ve always got to stay ready, and that’s one thing my last team taught me: be professional, always stay ready,” said Roberson. “I wasn’t ready to give up on my dream. I knew at some point, a door, an opportunity would open, whether it be this season or next season, so I was just gonna stay in shape as best I can. Obviously with the crazy protocols and stuff, that’s what I did. Thank God the Nets called. I mean, I had some traction with other teams, but nothing really stuck, but the Nets called.”

Roberson joins a team that has been making progress on the defensive end over the last 10 days, but still has room to improve, and the 6-foot-7 Roberson has a history of being an impact player on that end, with the size to guard across multiple positions.

“What I think I can bring to the team, just my energy,” said Roberson. “Be ready to play every night and try to motivate guys, communicate. Cause that’s a big part of defense (that) you can obviously help in in any team right away. So before you figure out schemes and positioning and stuff like, communication and energy are things you can control. So that’s what I look forward to bringing to this team right away.”

He also found a small benefit in joining one of the NBA’s elite offensive teams; Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving are off the menu of players to defend.

“My job’s a lot easier this year knowing that three of the best guys in the league are on one team that I don’t have to guard, so that’ll be pretty fun,” said Roberson. “But at the same time, it’s a well-rounded team. We jell pretty easily. Obviously they don’t have that many games and still trying to figure out rotations and chemistry, but the way the team is unified is pretty impressive in a short amount of time.”

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