NBA Opening Night By Amara Prophet

If you were fortunate enough to catch opening night for the Brooklyn Nets, you may have noticed just how talented Cam Thomas really is. With the team parting ways with Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving over the past two (2) seasons, Cam Thomas was a shoe-in for a bigger role. I remember some of Cam’s performances as LSU where he looked like a sure fire bucket getter. He’s getting a little more comfortable in the NBA and teams are becoming familiar with some of his go-to moves, but the ball is still hitting the bottom of the net. On opening night, he did not disappoint provided the home crowd with a 36 point performance in a 25-minute time frame. Ben Simmons put on a Rondo-esque performance and we’re still waiting for him to unlock that 3-point shot we’ve been hearing rumors about since he was a 76er. There’s a lot left to be desired from guys like Spencer Dinwiddie who turned his career around here in Brooklyn, but it was just opening night and a lot of players shake the rust off around December. 

While the Nets lost by 1-point in a 114-113 loss, it could’ve been a lot worse. The Cavaliers had Donovan Mitchell operating the offense looking to create for others more than himself. We witnessed Max Stus fire off some airballs and off target misses, which don’t fit his character. As a new addition to the Cavaliers, we expect them to feed their free agent signing and get him acclimated to the role they prefer for him. A lot of chemistry issues were on display on both sides of the ball for both teams. The 3-balls never stopped flying. Combined, both team shot 70 3-pointers and combined for 26 makes while attempting 178 field goals total. 

The Brooklyn Nets looked like the better team, even though they lost. Barring injury, they should emerge as a middle of the pack team, if not a fringe playoff team.

Live basketball always has a different feel than watching it on screen. The Long Island Nets home opener was a game of runs. The opportunity to witness Markquis Nowell of the Raptors 905 put on a jersey as a part of the NBA family for the first time was worth the price of the tickets. He put on a passing clinic and helped guys like Ron Harper Jr., Mouhamadou Gueye, and Javon Freeman-Liberty get some easy buckets as all three (3) of them eclipsed the 25-point mark.. While the marquee name on display was definitely Nowell that night, the Raptors 905 do not have the better roster. We, the Long Island Nets, happen to host a number of G League athletes that are capable of being called up to the NBA.

Jalen Wilson, who is basically getting reps in the G League, put on quite the performance. As the Julius Erving award winner in college, anointing him as the best SF in college basketball, he finished with 33 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal in under 30 minutes of basketball. He looked like a cut above the rest and “above” G League standard. I wouldn’t say he’s an NBA player just yet, but with time, that door may open itself up. He seems marketable and communicates with his teammates. 

The Long Island Nets have a toolkit of athletes they can use to mix-and-match up against a lot of what the G League has to offer. Keifer Sykes is one of the less known players who is similar to Markquis Nowell in a lot of ways, including size and poise. Kyler Edwards, Kennedy Chandler, Noah Clowney, Patrick Gardner, Jordan Hall, and Kameron Hankerson all made an impact this game. The Nets held a comfortable lead for a good chunk of the game and it made for a family friendly night at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

G League Opening Night  By Amara Prophet