The Brooklyn Nets’ superteam experiment with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant was a failure, but they are now going ahead with a youthful squad that just could shock everyone this NBA season.
In exchange for Irving, they got Cam Johnson, Mikal Bridges, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Dorian Finney-Smith. Brooklyn became an intriguing and powerful squad that opponents couldn’t take lightly the moment all four of them joined.
Despite being selected ninth overall in the 2017 draft, guard Dennis Smith Jr. has played six seasons in the NBA but hasn’t yet reached his full potential. He had trouble in the Nets’ first two exhibition games, and now he has an ankle ailment.
Smith will be out for a while, according to head coach Jacque Vaughn, so it’s possible that his availability for the team’s first regular-season game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on October 25 could be in doubt.
“He’ll definitely be out at least a week,” Vaughn said. “Precautionary with the boot, so he’s got some support as he walks around.
“It’s definitely an ankle sprain, and he’s got some bone bruising in there, as well. So we’ll see a week from now, what he looks like, but luckily I think [there is] no ligament damage. So we’ll take that.”
This season, Smith is expected to serve as Vaughn’s backup point guard. He played for the Charlotte Hornets last season after playing for the New York Knicks for a few years on the other side of the East River in the same city. He has averaged 10.3 points and 4.4 assists over the course of his career while playing 24.2 minutes per game, but since entering the NBA, he has shot only 40.3 percent from the field and 29.9 percent from beyond the arc.
Brooklyn seems to have good functional depth this year with the bench players Smith, Finney-Smith, Royce O’Neal, Cam Thomas, and Lonnie Walker IV. Ben Simmons, their mysterious but gifted 6-foot-10 point guard, has looked nimble throughout the preseason, and he is perhaps the team’s greatest essential to making it to the play-in round and maybe earning one of the remaining playoff places in the Eastern Conference.
The Nets still have two preseason games left, against the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday and the Miami Heat on Wednesday.