Lets face it, despite how good the duo of Devin Harris and Vince Carter have been and regardless of how much Brook Lopez has progressed this season, the Nets have been hard-pressed to find a consistent presence from the other two spots in the lineup.
Bobby Simmons showed some flair against the Bulls last week, scoring 18 points, but aside from that, he’s been pretty inconsistent this season. The same goes for Ryan Anderson, who seemed to be picking up the slack for an injured Yi Jianlian last month, to only be benched a few games last week. The only consistent and dependable player this team has coming off the bench this season seems to be Keyon Dooling, who I feel is having one of, if the not the best, season of his NBA career. The same thing goes for Jarvis Hayes, whose play has seemingly gotten better after he injured his hand a few games ago.
Ironic, don’t ya think?
For what it’s worth too, I think Trenton Hassell, despite playing in 39 games, has been solid. It seems that every game I watch this team play that he gets an opportunity in, he does something. Against Boston, he hit all of his shots and didn’t really hurt the team on defense. Now I’m sure you’ll say he’s been starting lately, but he’s playing under 20 minutes which to me puts him in the realm of a bench player. Nevertheless, his hustle and drive is something I’d like to see from more of the players occupying the Nets bench.
Despite the problems from the rest of the bench though, someone always seems to come up big when th team needs them.
“We’ve gotten great contributions from the bench,” Frank explained to the Associated Press a few days ago. “Basically what we told our guys, it’s all hands on deck. You know who’s definitely going to play and based on matchups and the play of the game there are a couple guys who can be in or they can be out. And they’ve got to be ready. It may be your night, it may not be, but you’ve got to be ready.”
Two players that have gotten more playing time as of late are Sean Williams and Chris Douglas-Roberts, who have taken some of the pressure off of guys late Dooling. While they haven’t produced as much offensively as Frank would like, they have given the Nets a different look. At the same time, they may get some of the under-producers to finally get their act together.
At any rate, like I said before, if this team is going to make the playoffs, someone on that bench is going to have to get hot and fast. If not, it’ll be another season watching someone else.
Photo by Bill Menzel.