Rookies see roles dwindle as Nets rely on vets

The Nets’ rookies did their job and generally played better than expected considering their draft value, if drafted at all.

Now, however, their duties appear to be winding down.

Cam Thomas has displayed true scoring ability, Kessler Edwards has displayed true defense ability, big man Day’Ron Sharpe has NBA body and guard David Duke Jr. has sharp and athletic NBA game.

All four contributed, probably far more than the often-understaffed team would have liked, but after adding reinforcements and with a long run ahead, the Nets will likely lean on their veterans during the playoff push.

Thomas, the 27th overall pick in last year’s draft, was the best of the bunch. Sometimes he was even the first choice on offense. But the Nets will find time for new signings Goran Dragic and Seth Curry in their backcourt. Patty Mills has become the first shooter off the bench, and at some point the Nets are hoping Ben Simmons finds his way to court. It’s a crowded group.

Camera Thomas
Camera Thomas
Getty Images
Kessler Edwards
Kessler Edwards
Getty Images

Thomas was not included in the injury report beforehand The victory of the nets on Thursday in Philadelphia (he sustained but recovered from a back contusion on Sunday), but he didn’t compete until the fourth quarter.

Edwards, selected 44th overall, recorded five and a half minutes in the blowout, his longest run in a week and a half. The 21-year-old forward with good length has made 20 games this season but has barely played since Kevin Durant’s return while Bruce Brown has emerged as the top small forward.

Edwards has a two-way contract that would need to be updated before April 11 to qualify for the postseason. To convert the pact, the Nets would have to vacate a roster spot, a path that doesn’t seem likely.

Day'Ron Sharpe
Day’Ron Sharpe
Karl Wenzelberg

The undrafted Duke is also on a two-way contract and both he and Sharpe were recently relegated to the G-League. When Simmons makes his Nets debut (if he does), there will be no place for Duke, who’s a good defender but not a shooter. And Sharpe was replaced by Andre Drummond.

There are elements in each of the four player games that the Nets can leave encouraged, and Thomas, Edwards and Duke starting together on December 18 marked the first time since 2009 that three Nets players started a freshman game together .

However, the Nets’ return to health and James Harden’s trade for multiple players may have erased the roles of rookies. Rookies see roles dwindle as Nets rely on vets


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