David Nwaba doesn’t often hear his name called by Nets coach Kenny Atkinson, and certainly not by the crowd at Barclays Center. But he earned praise from both of those audiences in the Nets’ 109-106 loss to the Heat on Sunday afternoon.
Nwaba provided 10 much-needed bench points for a second unit that has been struggling to score along with his trademark physical defense during his 18 minutes on the court. It was his second straight 10-point performance, coming on the heels of his effort Wednesday night in Boston.
The mystifying thing is why Atkinson didn’t use him at all in the game against the Celtics on Friday afternoon at Barclays Center. Nwaba made only his 12th appearance in 20 games for the Nets, and he took only 10 total shots in the first 10 appearances before showing he can contribute at the offensive end with 8-for-12 shooting in the past two appearances.
“Really good,” Atkinson said of Nwaba’s effort against the Heat. “We need his physicality. He’s earning more playing time.”
Nwaba earned the appreciation of the Brooklyn Brigade cheering section, which had a lot of fun chanting: “Nwaba-waba-waba.”
Asked if he thinks he’s establishing himself, Nwaba said, “I’m just trying to bring some energy, just play hard, play the right way, shoot open shots, and whatever happens happens.”
Nwaba is in his fourth season with his fourth different organization, so he knows what it’s like to handle insecurity. “Just stay ready,” he said. “I just got to be ready and stay positive about the whole process.”
When Wilson Chandler’s 25-game suspension ends on Dec. 15, the Nets must cut a player. Nwaba insists he’s not concerned.
“I know what I bring to this team,” he said. “Whatever happens, I’ll use it as fuel and just compete. Actually, I’m not even worried about that. I just worry about contributing.”