MarShon Brooks stood at the scorer's table nearly midway through the third quarter, waiting to check in.
Avery Johnson finally had called the second-year guard's name, inserting him into the Nets' preseason game against the 76ers at the Barclays Center. Johnson, trying to test his potential regular-season rotation, went five deep into his bench before motioning for Brooks, leaving the 2011 first-round pick admittedly anxious for the chance to peel off his warmups.
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"I was ready to play," Brooks said after the Nets' 106-96 loss Friday night. "I definitely wanted to play, but Coach didn't put me in until the second half. And when I get out there, I'm just going to do what I do."
Brooks saw action in the Nets' last two preseason contests after missing the first three while rehabbing right foot tendinitis, which has him playing with orthotics in his shoes. He's averaging six points and 13 minutes a game, still finding his way.
The Nets picked up Brooks' team option for the third year of his contract Friday, perhaps giving him a little comfort. But his role remains a bit murky as the Nets sort through things in a training camp filled with nine new faces. The slender 6-5, 200-pound natural scorer knows he's going to have to fit in, even if it's not in the sixth-man gig he might have envisioned heading into the preseason.
"I just look at it as, when I get out there, I've got to make the most of my time," Brooks said. "I've just got to be efficient with the time that I get and just try to make things happen. When the ball swings my way, create, draw two [guys], kick and try to finish."
Brooks' court time likely will be predicated on matchups. Johnson is focused on making the Nets one of the league's top defensive teams and prefers veteran Keith Bogans in the stopper role with their second unit.
"Bogans is very valuable to us," Johnson said. "You can see the way the game changes on defense when he's out on the floor. It also gives us another three-point shooter and a guy that can spread the floor . . . That's what we need from him, his leadership. We need him because he's going to have to put out some of those guys that are coming into the game."
Still, Deron Williams is confident that Brooks will be a major part of the Nets' plans once they tip off for real.
"He missed a lot of time, and so he's just trying to work his way into it," Williams said. "He hasn't gotten a lot of minutes, but when he comes in, he's definitely efficient. We know what he can do. He can score the basketball."