LAS VEGAS — When Nets rookie Day’Ron Sharpe checked into the team’s summer-league opener Monday, he made his impact felt in every sense of the word.
“The [coaches] told me I did a great job. The time I had when I was on the court I did a great job,” Sharpe said. “Just keep screen and rolling hard, keep turning around and grabbing rebounds, doing what I’m doing with my game.”
The big center threw his weight around in the paint, and finished with six points, eight rebounds, a steal and a block. He finished his pro debut a team-high plus-14 in just 14:26 against the Grizzlies.
“He could be a great rim protector just his size alone. They felt him right away. Memphis guards, they’d try to get downhill, they’d see him [and] right away pull back out,” summer league coach Jordan Ott said. “That’s a big reason — and screening; offensively he could be a great screener and still be dynamic enough to roll. Great hands.
“And obviously offensive rebounding, you can feel him throwing people. You talk about steps … it’s so obvious, the young guys you could literally see step-by-step development from Day 1 to Day’Ron to know. It’s almost like a kid. I have a nine month old [and] you can see the progress, see these kids, it’s awesome. That’s kind of why we’re here. So exciting to see.”
The most exciting thing for the Nets was when Sharpe came up with a steal and went the other way for a layup.
For a 6-foot-11 center — who has shed 25-pounds the past few months to get down to a svelte 253 — it was an auspicious sign.
“Our scouts talked about his ball skills on the perimeter — I think a little bit at [North] Carolina. But scouting has been going on for a while, so his high school years I believe they say the perimeter skills [were there],” Ott said. “We can definitely see it in practice. It’s probably going to take a little bit to see him, but he’s comfortable out there on the perimeter offensively.”
Sharpe said he always has been able to put the ball on the floor — but it just wasn’t required at North Carolina and likely won’t be needed in Brooklyn.
“I feel like I could dribble a little bit. In high school, my coach let me do what I want, and in AAU he’d seen it in me, so he pushed me to do it more. But right now, the team I’m going to I don’t really have to do that,” Sharpe said. “So whatever I got to play to win the game, that’s the role I take. If it’s going to rebound, blocking shots, I’ll do that. If I had the ball in my hands more I’ll do that.”
Brandon Knight had nine points in Monday’s opening loss, but seven fouls in just 26:20. After having not played last season, it was the 29-year-old’s first game in a year-and-a-half and there was rust.
“A little bit. It’s summer league; it’s a different speed in summer league. It’s obvious if anyone takes time, 16, 18 months off, you’ve got to give them a little grace, throw them into a live NBA basketball action,” Ott said. “But yeah, overall, very good. He’s still trying to lead it, when to be aggressive, when to get off of it. He’s learning his teammates, too at the same time.”
Every Net came through Monday’s game healthy and practiced Tuesday.