Nets' Yuta Watanabe (18) celebrates with teammates after a dunk...

Nets' Yuta Watanabe (18) celebrates with teammates after a dunk by Kyrie Irving during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023. Credit: AP/Frank Franklin II

MIAMI — Yuta Watanabe, Edmond Sumner and Markieff Morris will officially have their contracts fully guaranteed Tuesday, the day that all NBA contracts become guaranteed if players are still on the roster.

All three have become important role players for the Nets, after signing one-year contracts with the team over the summer.

“They’ve helped us win games in different ways, and you have to give all three of them credit,” coach Jacque Vaughn said before the Nets played the Heat on Sunday. “It’s Yuta and his ability to fit into the lineup, and make shots for us. And Edmond’s ability to create turnovers and to play with pace and speed.

"Markieff helped us win the Indiana game, and just has the overall ability to impact our locker room and our bench with what he brings as a mentor, a veteran who can still play. All three have helped the organization for sure.”

Watanabe, 28, may be the biggest steal of the offseason. He is averaging 7.5 points and 2.8 rebounds in 19.3 minutes. Most impressively, the 6-8 forward is making a league-leading 52.1% of his three-pointers.

Claxton block party

Nic Claxton entered Sunday having five or more blocks in three of his last five games. Vaughn would like to see him do that on a nightly basis.

“I think overall, he's really taken pride in protecting the rim,” Vaughn said. “No matter if he's guarding a guy that's close to the rim or away from the rim, he's decided to come over and contest shots. And you get a real sense of the defense when he does that, because guys think about getting into our paint: Is he going to be there? And so, that's the presence that he can have for us; you just want to see it on a consistent basis. I love to see five or six blocks every night for him.”

Spoelstra dumbfounded by KD

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra just shook his head when he was asked before the game what’s the best way to defend Kevin Durant’s turnaround jumper.

Said Spoelstra: “No one has figured that out.”

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