Harris, Curry to sit out Nets’ opener
Sharpshooters sidelined by injuries vs. New Orleans
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Joe Harris sat out all but 14 games last season.
So missing Opening Night at Downtown’s Barclays Center Wednesday has to be disappointing for Brooklyn’s long-range specialist as the Nets prepare to host the New Orleans Pelicans before what should be a capacity crowd on the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush.
“It’s well within the realm of normalcy for guys to have little hiccups on their way back from surgery,” Brooklyn head coach Steve Nash explained at practice last weekend as Harris continued to rehab his sore left foot.
Harris, one of the league’s top 3-point shooters and a key to Brooklyn spreading the floor for the likes of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, had a pair of ankle surgeries last season and didn’t see the hardwood following a Nov. 14 win at Oklahoma City.
The University of Virginia alum did suit up for Brooklyn’s exhibition opener at Barclays on Oct. 3, but felt discomfort in the foot soon afterward, forcing the Nets to shut him down for the remainder of the preseason slate.
Harris averaged 11.3 points and 4.0 rebounds when he did play last season, knocking down 46.6 percent of his shots from beyond the arc.
Brooklyn will also be missing Seth Curry, acquired in the trade-deadline deal that sent James Harden to Philadelphia last February, due to a left ankle injury.
Curry was a boon to the Nets’ offense while Harris was shelved last year, averging 14.9 points per contest down the stretch.
While Nash indicated that Harris was expected to return sooner than Curry, he didn’t seem overly concerned that the Nets’ sharp-shooting tandem would be shelved for long.
“I’m not concerned. I’m positive. I’m optimistic,” Nash told ESPN. “It’s just not straightforward with guys coming off surgeries, assimilating back to play. It’s not always like straight up.
“Sometimes you go through some adaptation issues,” he added. “So I think those guys are facing that more than, ‘Oh, the emergency lights are on and we’re concerned.’ I think we feel like this is just a part of them getting back to it.”
Durant and Irving will finally get back to it Wednesday after spending most of this past offseason expecting to be dealt from our fair borough.
Irving was denied a long-term extension last summer, instead accepting his $36.5 million option.
Durant demanded a trade and reportedly asked team owner Joe Tsai to fire general manager Sean Marks and Nash.
But Tsai stuck to his guns and has both his superstars back in the fold for yet another run at the organization’s first-ever NBA title.
Brooklyn is hoping to have a third superstar in the mix beginning Wednesday as versatile point guard Ben Simmons will make his official Nets debut after playing with the team for the first time in the preseason.
Simmons, who sat out all of last season while dealing with mental-health issues and a herniated disk, is admittedly working his way back into the form that made him a three-time NBA All-Star with the 76ers before he arrived in Brooklyn in the Harden deal in February.
“It’s been a year,” Simmons said. “I’m coming back. Give me some time.”
After hosting Zion Williamson and the Pelicans Wednesday, the Nets will welcome the Toronto Raptors to Barclays on Friday night.
NOTHING BUT NET: The Nets will be celebrating their 10th anniversary in Brooklyn Wednesday night and all season. The team will be debuting its Brooklyn Way features throughout the campaign with special programming to “infuse the five cultural pillars that define the borough – Basketball, Music, Fashion, Food and The Arts.” Additionally, the Nets have released a short film called 10 Years in Brooklyn, a visual love letter to the borough told through the eyes of the first generation of born-and-bred Nets fans. “Brooklyn has a distinct identity, comprised of diverse, driven, and passionate people that embody the spirit of The Brooklyn Way,” said Andrew Karson, Senior Vice President of Brand Marketing, Strategy & Solutions, BSE Global. “The Brooklyn Way will come to life through our celebration of 10 Years in Brooklyn, which is for, and inspired by, Nets fans and the borough. To commemorate this milestone, we will show appreciation to our community for their support over the past decade, spotlight the best of Brooklyn basketball and culture, and establish traditions for the future.”
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