The January 30 matchup between the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers did not have as much flare as anticipated because All-Stars from both teams were on the inactive list. For the Lakers, LeBron James and Anthony Davis were out due to injury, and Ben Simmons and Kevin Durant were out for the Nets for the same reason.
But not all the primetime players were on the sideline. All-Star point guards Kyrie Irving and Russell Westbrook were active for the matchup. During shootaround, the two guards had a wholesome exchange on the court at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, which went viral (H/T ClutchPoints).
Kyrie Irving: “I knew greatness would be out here early!”
Russell Westbrook: “Somebody gotta do it.”
Kyrie: “Some people show up right on time. Does it go unnoticed? Do people appreciate it?”
Irving: “But we understand.”
Westbrook: “For sure. Yessir.”
The latest Nets news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Nets newsletter here!
Nets Urged to Part Ways With Day’Ron Sharpe
As January closes, all eyes will be on the looming NBA trade deadline. In the wake of Kevin Durant’s MCL sprain, the Nets expect to remain active in acquiring new players to help fill the void in his absence. With the Eastern Conference standings being so tight-knit, the next move the Nets make could be the defining moment of their season.
Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report believes that the Nets should move their young frontcourt player, Day’Ron Sharpe, to improve their roster.
“No matter which of those players are moved, it would behoove Brooklyn to attach Day’Ron Sharpe to the deal. He can’t have a ton of trade value, but rebuilders might see the appeal of grabbing a flier on a 2021 first-round pick,” Buckley writes.
“The Nets, as you’ve surely heard a thousand times this season, could stand to add size at the center spot. Sharpe is the team’s biggest player (6’11”, 265 lbs), but that hasn’t been enough to get him regular runs. Five of his last six few-and-far-between appearances lasted fewer than seven minutes.”
Royce O’Neale Sounds off on Recent Success
One player that the Nets are unlikely to move at the trade deadline is sharpshooter Royce O’Neale, who they acquired via a trade with the Utah Jazz during the offseason. O’Neale’s play has been sporadic for most of the season, but since the calendar turned over to the new year, he also has seemed to flip a switch.
He is averaging 8.9 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 3.3 assists in 12 games in January, per StatMuse. The Nets guard attributes his recent success to his method of preparation.
“Yeah, just every day, every game, taking care of myself, making sure I’m able to compete and just accepting [Vaughn] having the trust and leaving me out there and playing me as much as I can, as long as he wants. Longevity and being healthy is a big key, so just doing whatever I have to do for this team,” O’Neale said to the New York Post.
“If I can walk and run, I can play. If I need to take care of myself and sit, I will; but I’m trying to be one of those reliable guys and doing whatever I’ve got to for this team, whether it’s offense or defense and just being out there.”
O’Neale could be one of the Nets’ keys as they prepare for a postseason run.