CLEVELAND – It’s hard to believe, but the Nets will have more representatives than any other team during NBA All-Star Weekend starting Friday in Charlotte. Of course, point guard D’Angelo Russell will take part in the feature attraction as a reserve on Sunday, but rookie Rodions Kurucs and second-year center Jarrett Allen are excited to play on opposite sides of Friday’s Rising Stars Challenge, and Joe Harris will be prominent in the three-point shooting contest Saturday night.
Asked Wednesday before the Nets played the Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena if his career-best 7-for-8 performance from beyond the arc was a good warmup, Harris laughed and said, “You hope to shoot well. It’s a fun experience, but you are definitely competing to win.”
Shooting 25 balls off a rack in one minute is different from game action, and Harris said he has practiced it a couple of times. “You’ve got to get used to the timing and to reaching and grabbing off the rack,” Harris said. “You don’t have enough time to watch it go in. When I’m shooting in a game, I’m looking to see if it’s in or not. With this, you’ve got to be real quick and take your eyes off of it.”
Harris said he plans to attend the Rising Stars Challenge to watch Latvian Kurucs compete for the International team against Allen on the U.S. team. “It means a lot because not a lot of people in the NBA get this type of honor to be able to go to All-Star Weekend,” Allen said. “For me to be selected to go means a lot and shows my progress in the NBA.”
As a second-round pick, Kurucs’ selection was more improbable. “I realize it’s really hard to get there because there are a lot of rookies, a lot of guys who are working hard,” said Kurucs, who sat out against the Cavs with a sore elbow but expects to play Friday. “I’ll enjoy the games, enjoy the atmosphere, enjoy the event.”
Kurucs will be accompanied by long-time agent Arturs Kalnitis, whom he describes as a “second father,” but his grandfather, Vladimirs Kislvs can’t make it because he’s coaching in Latvia. “He’ll get here one day for sure,” Kurucs said. “I’ll definitely bring him to the All-Star game because I want him to see that.”