DeAndre’ Bembry is Brooklyn’s bargain as fill-in Nets starter

With the Nets’ Big 3, it’s easy to get wrapped up on the top end of the Nets’ roster. But DeAndre’ Bembry is becoming a bargain for the veteran minimum — and the latest savvy find by GM Sean Marks.

“He gives us some speed and athleticism; he gives us a defender out there who can guard No. He is also a great offensive cutter for us, as well as being one of the team’s top options. So he’s been great,” head coach Steve Nash said. “We’ve been working with him to really understand his role, and I think he’s been fantastic with his willingness to compete and to grow as a player. So, really proud of his effort and he’s getting better.”

Bembry was able to play all of this season’s games except for one. But with Joe Harris’ and Bruce Brown’s injuries, Bembry took over a larger role recently and played the final four games. Bembry averaged 10.5 points and 6.3 boards.

“Obviously, it’s different coming off the bench,” Bembry said. “Coming off the bench, sometimes you try to change the pace if we’re down. But starting, everyone’s still just waking up and trying to get their blood flowing, so it’s hard to keep that pace for everybody. But me myself, that’s my game. I’m just coming in and being aggressive defensively, trying to disrupt plays.”

DeAndre’ Bembry dunks the ball during the Nets’ game against the Suns.
Robert Sabo

Bembry’s last two games saw him average 13.5 boards and 9.5 boards. This totaled 13 out of 18 points from the floor, and was a plus-24.

“He played incredible [against Phoenix] — playing defense on the ball, cutting to the rim, making himself available, rebounding,” Kevin Durant said. “We’re going to need that from him. We had a great spark with him and he was one our brightest spots. So hopefully he can continue to build on this and keep getting better.”

Bembry’s contract, which was guaranteed at $750,000 in August when he signed it, will be guaranteed to $1.25 Million on December 15. It’ll fully guarantee on Jan. 7 — but that seems a forgone conclusion the way he’s played.

Brown was limited to a scoreless 4:36 off the bench in Saturday’s return from hamstring tightness. He’d started 14 straight games before that.

These starts have seen the Nets go 11-3, while Brown has been in the starting lineup for 40-11 since last year.

Harris (ankle), and Nic Claxton(non-COVID sickness) will likely miss the Knicks match.

Brooklyn assigned Day’Ron Sharpe to G-League Long Island on Sunday.

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