It’s a good thing the Nets have increased depth this season because the injury bug keeps nipping at their heels. The latest to get bitten was rookie center Jarrett Allen, who suffered a left foot strain in Sunday’s loss to the Nuggets.
“He went through shootaround today,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said before the Nets faced the Suns Tuesday night at Barclays Center. “His foot is still a little sore. We’re going to play it on the side of caution.”
Forward Quincy Acy (left groin strain) also sat out but is considered day-to-day. DeMarre Carroll returned from a one-game absence for right ankle soreness and started.
Allen’s absence created more playing time for Tyler Zeller, the free-agent center they signed from Boston just before training camp. Zeller made just two appearances totaling 15 minutes before facing the Suns, but Atkinson was confident in his experience and said Zeller has been working to extend his shooting range beyond the three-point arc.
“The great thing about Tyler is he’s played a lot of minutes in this league, playoff minutes,” Atkinson said. “This is why you have a guy like him on the roster. You feel comfortable, and he knows what we’re doing. In practice, he’ll stretch it to the corner. Definitely, (he has) a green light.”
Atkinson likes change of pace
Against Denver, Atkinson experimented with using backup point guard Spencer Dinwiddie with starter D’Angelo Russell moving off the ball to shooting guard. It’s not practical to consider starting both, but it’s a change of pace the coach likes.
“I think it’s something we have to look at,” Atkinson said. “I do like it because I think D’Angelo is pretty good off the ball. We have to find that balance where we can get him off the ball a little.”
As for Dinwiddie’s improved play, Atkinson added, “He’s shooting really well. If he continues to play really well, we’ll have to find more minutes for him. There’s no choice.”