So far in the 2023/24 season, the Brooklyn Nets’ depth has continued to be a hot topic. They have dealt with constant injury troubles, leading to more minutes for bench players like Dennis Smith Jr.
The 25-year-old guard has bounced around the league in six seasons before he joined the Nets. He was often considered one of the most promising players in the 2017 NBA Draft but he has not met his potential.
“Imma be a dog every chance I get. I’m going to compete, I’m going to fight, and I want to win games. I don’t want to lose,” DSJ said during training camp ahead of the 2023/24 season. “I think that’s going to rub off on guys. Dorian (Finney-Smith) the same way, knowing we bring that to the team, you can’t help but follow suit.”
DSJ suits what coach Vaughn wants from his point guards
Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn came into training camp with a particular offensive system in mind. He aims to emphasize a transition-focused playstyle, involving continuous movement for straightforward opportunities in the paint or through transition three-pointers; furthermore, he can complement Spencer Dinwiddie, with DSJ concentrating on passing and defending, allowing Dinwiddie to concentrate solely on scoring.
Despite Simmons’ hip injury, the Nets maintain their fast break style when DSJ takes the floor. His floor general skills come into play off the bench, initiating plays through steals or quick rebounds, showcasing his exceptional athleticism for scoring in the paint.
DSJ is a phenomenal defender
In terms of one-on-one defenders, Brooklyn has a handful of them with Mikal Bridges, Simmons, and DSJ. They all embrace the role of being the defensive stoppers and Smith Jr. isn’t afraid to guard anyone despite his smaller stature.
Brooklyn benefits from a defensive-focused lineup with offensive potential, utilizing DSJ and Ben in strategic spurts due to shooting challenges. The pairing includes reliable shooters like Mikal and Dorian Finney-Smith, along with Nic Claxton serving as a defensive anchor and lob threat.
The Nets’ emphasis on versatile players committed to their roles contributes to a solid lineup, with DSJ poised to defy doubters and play a crucial role in the rotation.