When Kenny Atkinson was fired last March, the one big move interim coach Jacque Vaughn made was to replace Jarrett Allen as starting center with veteran DeAndre Jordan. That lasted only two games before the season was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and Jordan later missed the restart after contracting the virus.
But Jordan made his sixth straight start under new Nets coach Steve Nash against the Hawks Friday night at Barclays Center even though Allen has been performing better. Through the first five games, Allen averaged 9.6 points and 12.0 rebounds, and he was coming off a game in which he had 13 rebounds and 15 points in the Nets’ win over the Hawks on Wednesday when Jordan, who is averaging 3.6 points and 8.0 rebounds, was benched the entire fourth quarter.
Asked if there is any chance Allen might regain his starting position, Nash said, "I’m not sure. He’s going to play probably the most minutes at the position, whether he starts or comes off the bench. I’m not overly concerned with that right now . . . I think we have a lot bigger issues to figure out."
Jordan’s claim to the starting role partly reflects his relationship with stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Nash acknowledged that veteran trio shares a strong connection, just as Allen has chemistry with Caris LeVert on the second unit.
"Jarrett’s going to play a lot," Nash said. "I love him on the floor. I want to be very careful not to make it like a mini-drama because it’s not. JA has been outstanding and will play plenty, if not the bulk of the minutes. But for right now, he’s just playing those minutes from the second unit.
"As you saw, he closed the game against Atlanta the last time out. I just don’t want it to become some sort of thing where we’re pitting our own guys against each other because the group has got a pretty good vibe right now."