If there was one player who was an absolute revelation for the Nets last season, it was 5-11 point guard Chris Chiozza. After spending much of last season with the Long Island Nets in the G League, Chiozza came off the bench late in the third quarter March 3 in Boston and played the final 21 minutes to help spark a comeback from a 21-point deficit on a night when Caris LeVert totaled 51 points.
Over the final 16 games, including the NBA re-start in Orlando, Chiozza averaged 8.2 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists while shooting 43.9% from three-point range. Yet, he was the final player added to the Nets’ 20-man training-camp roster on a minimum contract, and Chiozza finds himself seventh on the depth chart at the two guard positions behind six established veterans, including LeVert, Kyrie Irving and Spencer Dinwiddie.
Chiozza could’ve signed elsewhere, but as he said after practice Thursday, "It was two-way [contracts] and opportunities I didn’t think were as good as trying to stay here and being on a team that’s going to compete for a championship."
Odds are Chiozza likely will wind up on a two-way contract, but when asked if he faces a daunting task, Chiozza said, "It’s not daunting at all. I take it as a challenge, more opportunity to learn from these guys and get better every day. The more I can learn from these guys and implement it into my future. I’m all for it."
Last season, Chiozza was part of the "extra work crew" that remained after practice to work with superstar forward Kevin Durant as he returned from Achilles tendon surgery.
"He was coming back, and we weren’t sure how healthy he was and were trying to figure out the contact and how physical to be with him," Chiozza said. "Now, you can tell he’s back. He’s creating the contact now. He’s doing what he wants to do. He’s looking like himself."