The Brooklyn Nets have been struggling to be consistent in the playoff hunt, but recently since the acquisition of Thaddeus Young, the team has changed. Markel Brown has been starting, Young has been coming off the bench putting up solid numbers; and Brook Lopez has become the sixth man on this squad.
Someone who has really come out of the woodwork for the Nets has been Markel Brown, scoring a solid 10 points this past week against the Pelicans. Brown hasn’t been the greatest contributor this past season up until recently. Ever since the trade deadline, the Nets have gone under a major overhaul and his role and playing time has changed. In fact, he did start against the Pelicans and Nuggets. Although he is not putting up plethora of points, he’s been averaging 9 points in the past three games, a solid contribution from someone who has been a bench player for most of the season.
The Nets’ bench is looking really well too. They have a “Big Three” on the bench that is doing absolute wonders for the team.
The first of the “big three” is Cory Jefferson. There aren’t many expectations of the last overall pick the in the 2014 draft, but he’s proving the stereotype wrong. Jefferson isn’t putting up All-Star numbers, but he is doing a lot of for someone who was drafted 60th overall. Jefferson doesn’t play every single game, but more than likely he will be playing more towards the end of the season. He’s a solid rebounder with incredible strength. He may be 24, but he can be a great contributor for the next few seasons if he is developed more. He had a decent performance against the Nuggets with 5 boards and 7 points.
The next big guy of the bench is none other than the captain, Brook Lopez. Lopez doesn’t start every game anymore, but he is still the biggest contributor for this team overall. Lopez is averaging 27.5 minutes a game and has practically become the team’s sixth man this past season. He is averaging 15.6 points per game, 1.7 blocks a game, with over 6 rebounds as well.
The Nets needs a sixth man, and Lopez can fill that role now that Mason Plumlee has been moved to full-time center. He’s been the leader of this team for a long time and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down, but perhaps the role he may play for a long time may be coming off the bench.
The biggest addition the Nets have had this season was obtaining Thaddeus Young from the Minnesota Timberwolves. Young hasn’t played a whole lot for someone who was a regular for his previous team. He has been slowly getting there in terms of minutes, playing more every single game. He is fitting into the system, but more than likely won’t be a starter until later on the season when he fully figures out the Nets’ offensive and defensive sets. So far, he’s been coming off of the bunch and has been a solid contributor in terms of scoring.
The Nets are trying to stay in the playoff hunt and look like they are a playoff team. The team is a mix of young guys and a few veterans. The “Big Three” off the bench have been the heart and soul of this team for the past few games. If they continue to strive and play like they are doing now, they will be able to make the playoffs.