Cam Thomas minutes and Nerlens Noel minutes are not mutually exclusive.

It was a question head coach Jacque Vaughn answered after Brooklyn’s third straight victory on Tuesday night in Houston. Thomas — the lightning rod scorer who has been Vaughn’s first player off the bench in the games that followed the Feb. 9 NBA trade deadline — sat on the bench while Noel played an extended role as backup big man one day after signing a 10-day contract in Brooklyn.

“Yeah he [Cam] could easily play 30 minutes two nights from now. So, doesn’t change my ability to put him on the floor at any time of the game,” Vaughn said postgame. “I think tonight, I wanted to see could Nerlens play in a basketball game and contribute and be able to pick up what we’re doing as a group, alter shots, see his quickness, see if he could protect the rim.

“So I needed to see that tonight, and he is on a 10-day, so I decided to use one of those 10 days pretty quickly to see what he was gonna give us. So tonight was the night.”

Noel, the veteran rim protector and former No. 6 overall pick who played in 14 games for the Detroit Pistons before becoming a free agent in February, played 18 minutes off the bench in his first game in Brooklyn after signing a 10-day deal — an extended run Vaughn attributed partially to starting center Nic Claxton’s early foul trouble.

He finished with two points, three rebounds and one steal on the night and showed quick feet, active hands and a 6-11 frame that can be helpful for a Nets team that has needed to address depth at the center position all season.

“In the back of my mind, I wanted to see where he was at,” Vaughn said. “Obviously didn’t play Cam Thomas tonight because of that. So didn’t want to go too far into the rotation. Really just supplemented Nerlens for Cam.”

Vaughn said the addition of Noel provides more options for a Nets team with one of the more versatile defensive rosters in all of basketball. With Ben Simmons (left knee/back inflammation) out since the All-Star break, Vaughn used Dorian Finney-Smith as the backup center.

“[We] kept Do-Do away from the five position tonight to see what that looks like,” he said. “If we were still bigger, we could play …read more

Source:: The Mercury News


Nerlens Noel plays extended minutes in Nets debut: ‘Tonight was the night’

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *