David Duke Jr. doesn’t fairly depend as a part of the Nets’ draft class, however he’s making their group of rookies look higher anyway.
The guard out of Windfall went undrafted then was scooped up by the Nets as a free agent. Finally he was signed as a two-way participant and spent his season with G-League Lengthy Island till the pandemic hit the Nets onerous this month.
To search out taking part in time, he was in the fitting scenario on the proper time. On Saturday towards the Magic, he spent the fourth quarter in the fitting place on the proper time.
5 instances Nets gamers missed, just for Duke to crash the bucket, bounce and put by way of the put-back. The rookie brings vitality, athleticism and feisty protection, which not often exhibits up in field scores like they did in one of the best outing of his younger profession.
Duke scored 18 factors — 16 within the fourth — and grabbed 14 rebounds — 9 within the fourth — during Brooklyn’s loss to Orlando at Barclays Middle, a vivid spot in a darkish time for the Nets.
“Unreal competitor at such an early stage in his profession,” Patty Mills mentioned of Duke. “I assume discovering his little area of interest of how he can match on this workforce and what he can do. His potential on a variety of issues could be very spectacular. However I feel his engine, on the finish of the day, simply retains going.”
In his fifth recreation, the 6-foot-5 Duke grabbed eight offensive rebounds, essentially the most for a rookie within the NBA this season. His shot has been inconsistent, however he has proven defensive tenacity. He stripped Orlando’s Franz Wagner on a full-court press within the fourth quarter and used his lengthy arms and spectacular vertical to swat away a 3-point try from Aleem Ford.
The 2021-22 Nets probably won’t ask an excessive amount of extra from a uncooked guard who’s 2 of 14 from 3, however his fast arms and lively ft would possibly flip him right into a legit possibility in time.
The Nets’ rookie class is led by first-rounder Cam Thomas, whose offensive spark has been constantly useful. However Duke, large man Day’Ron Sharpe (a late first-rounder of the Suns who was dealt to Brooklyn) and second-round ahead Kessler Edwards have had their moments.
The Nets formally signed free-agent ahead Wenyen Gabriel to a 10-day contract.
The 6-foot-9 24-year-old has performed in 51 NBA video games, most not too long ago final season with the Pelicans. He performed in 12 video games with the Wisconsin Herd of the G-League this season.
Gabriel, who went undrafted in 2018 out of Kentucky, is the fourth hardship substitute for the Nets, becoming a member of guard Langston Galloway, ahead James Ennis III and guard Shaquille Harrison.