G League

Long Island Aim to Produce Talent for New-Look Brooklyn Nets

The Brooklyn Nets, led by the three-headed monster of Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving, have their eyes firmly set on championship success. However, that doesn’t deter focus from their G League affiliate, the Long Island Nets.

On their current NBA roster, the Nets have Chris Chiozza, Nicolas Claxton, and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, who all hold Long Island experience. Other notable names to come through the system include Yogi Ferrell, Rodions Kurucs, Dzanan Musa, Taurean Prince, and Mike Scott.

In addition, the likes of Joe Harris and Spencer Dinwiddie, who have evolved into key contributors for the Nets over the years, were handpicked from the G League by the franchise.

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(Image/Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Matt Riccardi’s Talent Conveyor Belt:

Long Island are currently in the G League bubble in Orlando, where they face an intense 15-game schedule in a 24-day period. They kick-start proceedings on February 10 against the Iowa Wolves. On February 22, a highly-anticipated match-up against the new G League Ignite team awaits as well.

In a media availability ahead of the 2021 G League season, Long Island Nets General Manager, Matt Riccardi, spoke about the current make-up of the roster. Despite the Brooklyn Nets now being championship contenders, there still appears to be concentration on developing talent in the NBA’s official minor league.

“We’ve definitely looked at this G League bubble as an opportunity to take a look at some guys that we haven’t had in our system before,” Riccardi told reporters via Zoom. “We wanted to make sure we had players that had a chance to develop, that would be looked at as call-up targets for the NBA. That could put our program as competitive as possible.”

Jeremiah Martin, CJ Messinburg, and Shannon Scott all return to Long Island’s roster, alongside newcomers Kaiser Gates, BJ Johnson, Tariq Owens, Paul Eboua, and Elle Okobo. Rookies Jordan Bowen and Nate Sestina will suit up for the Nets, while two- way players Tyler Bey and Nate Hinton have joined the roster as flexible assignments from the Dallas Mavericks.

Potential Two-Way Movement:

While it’s expected that two-way players Chris Chiozza and Reggie Perry will remain in the NBA, Riccardi stated that protocols are in place to assign players to-and-from the bubble, if required.

“The G League itself has put together a process that guys would have to quarantine upon entry,” Riccardi said. “Depending on what their travel is like and where they’re coming from, have they been part of the NBA protocols, those different type of tier lists.”

“Yes, there’s definitely a protocol in place for that happening as you’ve seen some guys on other teams start to be assigned and go through that process.”

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(Image/Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Nets’ New Big Man Acquisition:

In an attempt to shore up their defensive presence in the paint, the Brooklyn Nets recently acquired G League veteran, Norvel Pelle. The 28-year-old boasts a wealth of experience both stateside and overseas.

Pelle last featured for the Philadelphia 76ers on a two-way contract, where he made 24 NBA appearances through the 2019-20 campaign. In those games he averaged 2.4 points, 3 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks.

As part of his two-way deal, Pelle also showed out for the Delaware Blue Coats in the G League. An organization that he has been affiliated with since 2013. In 8 contests for Delaware, he posted averages of 13.9 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks. This was in a limited 22.5 minutes per game, and on 64.8% shooting from the field.

“He had a stellar career in the G League and someone we’ve seen a lot of in the past. He was a really good two-way for Philadelphia/Delaware last year,” Riccardi said about the Nets’ new signing.

After losing to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in the 2018-19 G League Finals, Long Island held a 19-23 record in 2019-20, at the time of the season suspension. Like many other teams, the Long Island Nets hold a deep, talented roster and are eyeing success in Disney World.

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