The Nets are playing musical chairs to rest their worn-out players in an effort to play the long game and have all of their players available when needed.
Even though the Nets got Ben Simmons back in Friday’s 120-116 victory over Atlanta, they will rest him and TJ Warren on Saturday’s second night of a back-to-back. They are also anticipating Yuta Watanabe’s return in Indiana.
The status of Nic Claxton, who missed Friday’s victory due to a hamstring injury, is uncertain.
“Yes, it only got tighter on Thursday.” Therefore, I do not know. “I just hope I’m ready to play on Saturday,” Claxton said, adding that he was not receiving any imaging and that the injury was not serious. “No. It’s day to day.”
Simmons of the Nets
Kevin Durant, who entered Friday having played the most minutes in the league and logged another 36:12 against the Hawks, is also questionable for Sunday’s game. He expressed his desire to face the Pacers.
“Currently,” Durant stated. “However, you must discuss this with Jacque [Vaughn, the Nets’ coach]. … I just listen. I attempt to accomplish everything. They have my best interests in mind, so I simply listen to what they say and follow their advice.”
Vaughn was evasive, noting that their schedule will lighten following the weekend.
Simmons returned after missing four consecutive games due to a strained left upper calf. Simmons started at center in Claxton’s absence and finished with six points, seven rebounds, and four steals in 20:49. The Nets will exercise caution and rest him in the second game of their back-to-back against the Pacers.
Watanabe has become a fan favorite due to his tenacity and team-oriented approach. He is set to return Saturday after 10 consecutive absences.
“He brings length, athleticism, and intelligence,” stated Durant. “Obviously, he shoots the ball well, but the fact that he makes a lot of them sticks out. Everyone enjoys seeing the ball go in the hoop, but when he is able to switch, guard men with his length, rebound, and cut to the hoop, everyone is impressed.
“He does all the little things, and when he starts making shots, he becomes a fantastic player. So we anticipate his vitality. We know that if you miss one or two days in the league, it’s difficult to get back into a rhythm, so the fact that he will be gone for practically a couple of weeks is concerning. I’m certain we’ll all be patient with him, but he’s eager to return.”
In his fourth game back, Warren showed no signs of rustiness.
After missing nearly two years due to severe stress fractures and a handful of surgeries, he scored 14 points on 6-for-8 shooting efficiency off the bench.
“Getting his feet up beneath him. “He’s an efficient player: 6-for-8,” said Durant. “Over there on the bench, we’re like, ‘Man, he just finds his way to the basketball, to the rim a lot, and he’s always in the proper position on the offensive end.’ And defensively, he is adept at gaining possession of the ball and causing turnovers.
“So yeah, I mean he looked good. As he grows more comfortable and raises his legs, the situation will improve even further. It is a procedure. But he bats 6-for-8 and bats 14 times off the bench without appearing to exert any effort. It demonstrates how gifted he is.”