For the second straight game, the Nets went with Nic Claxton and newcomer Royce O’Neale alongside their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons.
What was glaringly missing yet again on Wednesday night in Milwaukee was a considerable amount of their shooting, sidelined by injuries.
Wing Joe Harris (sore foot), off-guard Seth Curry (ankle), forward T.J. Warren (foot) and backup point guard Edmond Sumner (hip) didn’t play in the Nets’ 107-97 win over the Bucks, their first preseason victory. Brrooklyn’s preseason finale is Friday in Minnesota.
Curry, who is coming off ankle surgery over the summer, did make the trip. He has been doing drills and coach Steve Nash has said he’s hoping the guard can be ready for the Oct. 19 regular-season opener, but he still hasn’t been cleared for five-on-five work yet according to ESPN.
Harris was limited to just 14 games last season with an ankle injury that sidelined him from November on and required two surgeries. He played in the preseason opener but missed the next two games with a sore foot. Harris and Nash both feel the sharpshooter can be ready for opening night, but there are no guarantees.
“My ankle honestly feels fine. It’s kind of the rest of my body that has to catch up,” Harris had said. “You just have little stuff here and there, whether it’s your knee or back, certain stuff just kind of flares up that typically hasn’t popped up in the past, but that’s all part of the rehab, too.
“I hadn’t played since last November, so taking that much time off and then trying to get back into the swing of things, the ankle is definitely feeling great but it’s kind of the rest of the body that’s got to get acclimated.”
The Nets requested waivers on Noah Kirkwood.
The Nets are carrying 19 players on the roster. They have to cut down to 17 — 15 standard deals and a pair of two-ways — by the regular-season opener.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Brook Lopez and Jrue Holiday, who sat out Tuesday’s game against the Bulls, played against the Nets. Antetokounmpo finished with 24 points and 14 rebounds, while Holiday had 20 points and six rebounds. Lopez finish with five points and three rebounds in 26 minutes.
The Nets hired former Hornets Rockets and Pistons general manager Jeff Bower in a “scouting role,” according to Marc Stein’s Substack.
The team hasn’t confirmed what Bower’s exact duties will be, but with former director of player personnel J.R. Holden being moved to GM of G-League Long Island, that seems a likely landing spot for the 61-year-old veteran.
Bower had recently been in the Phoenix front office as senior vice president of basketball operations, departing after the Suns’ NBA Finals run in 2020-21. They’d been a Western Conference-worst 19-63 in 2018-19, the year before his arrival. They lost to Milwaukee in the Finals two years later.