Jacque Vaughn increasing Nets starters’ minutes ahead of playoffs
In a typical year, as the regular season ends, Jack Vaughn would like to start increasing his starting minutes for the playoffs.
It looks like he started that process a little early this season.
The 2022-23 campaign has been anything but ordinary for the Nets.
Brooklyn has leaned heavily on its starters and sixth man Royce O’Neal over the past two weeks, and Vaughn reiterated that approach is “definitely something I’ve been aware of” since the trade. Makes a lineup with four new starters. deadline
In Sunday’s win against the Hornets, Michael Bridges played 40 minutes, 58 seconds, which was still less than he logged two nights ago against the Celtics (42:45).
“In the past … we haven’t played our guys that many minutes, and then as the playoffs started coming, we wanted to ramp those guys up so they could play, quote-unquote, playoff minutes,” Vaughn said. . “I’m just trying to handle it a little bit with the regular season and the little time between this group coming together and the playoffs.”
Outside of O’Neale, Brooklyn has thinned out its rotation, and that has led to limited court time for Seth Curry, Joe Harris, Yuta Watanabe and Cam Thomas, with the exception of blowouts.
Thomas, who compiled three consecutive 40-point outbursts leading up to the trade deadline, has been on the court for just 13:47 over the last two games.
Watanabe, with the exception of Sunday when the Nets blew a 30-point lead, has disappeared from the rotation entirely.
“I’m playing a lot of minutes,” Bridges said Sunday. “If you ask anybody when I was in Phoenix, there was nothing wrong with that. I just want to go out there and do my best, help the team win.”
It took about a month, but Cameron Johnson is finally starting to settle into a rhythm for the Nets.
The 27-year-old guard, who will be a restricted free agent after the season, has scored 20 points in three of his last five games, also recording a double-double against the Hornets — Johnson’s first and third since his rookie season. . with his career-highs of 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Johnson said he has figured out where his shots will start in the Nets’ offense.
“He’s shown everything,” Vaughn said. “His ability to handle the basketball, play the pick-and-roll. His ability to shoot the ball off the bounce in transition. So some things I’m growing to understand and learn about him. “I feel comfortable putting the ball in his hands.”
The Nets ruled Ben Simmons out of Tuesday’s game against the Rockets, though Edmond Sumner, who missed three games due to the birth of his child, and Nerlens Noel, who signed a 10-day contract on Monday. , are not listed on the team’s injury report. , meaning they should be available.