Brooklyn Nets: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson becoming reliable second option

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 04: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 04: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Brooklyn Nets have had a very reliable second option emerging in the form of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.

Throughout all the low points the Brooklyn Nets have faced early on this season, there seem to be some high points and one of them is former first-round pick Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. After a season-ending injury to point guard Jeremy Lin, Brooklyn lost their second primary scoring option to go along with newly acquired guard D’Angelo Russell. Amidst a 2-7 stretch that has caused Brooklyn to fall to 13th in the Eastern Conference, Hollis-Jefferson has proven so far that he can be called upon to help carry the load on both ends of the floor.

The 22-year-old had less than stellar numbers his first two seasons in Brooklyn (7.5 points and 5.6) per contest in 22 minutes causing many to question whether or not he can reach his full potential. Over his last 9 games, Hollis-Jefferson is averaging 15 points per game along with 5.6 rebounds while shooting 46 percent from the field. With the unexpected injuries, the young swingman has inherited a greater role and has flourished so far by having a career year averaging 14.7 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.1 steals, and 0.9 blocks, and shooting a career-high 49 percent from the field.

After practice Wednesday, Jefferson attributed his evolution to the hard work that he put in over the course of the summer, (via the NY Post)

"“It comes with the summer process — putting in that work. In the gym, watching film, seeing areas I can improve on,”."

Defensively, the skill set was already there thanks to the natural 6’7 220lb frame that allows him to effectively cover all positions. Sometimes the Nets even start Hollis-Jefferson at the center position to present a smaller, quicker lineup that can contend with most NBA teams on any given night.

The front office, teammates, and coaches are realizing the immediate progression. Nets coach Kenny Atkinson has a great relationship with Hollis-Jefferson and attributes his growth to the maturity and consistent willingness to get better on and off the court, (via the NY Post).

"“I think it’s basketball development,” Atkinson said. “I think it’s emotional development. He’s maturing. He doesn’t get down on himself nearly as much when he makes a mistake. He really focuses on next play mentality. He’s really improved in that area. So he’s growing before our eyes I think from a basketball standpoint and then from a personal standpoint."

Next: Brooklyn Nets: What could have been and what was

The player-coach relationship between Atkinson and Hollis-Jefferson seems to be working wonders. It’s essential that players believe in their coach and the fast-paced uptempo offensive scheme that Atkinson features for the Nets is apparently paying dividends. If all else fails in Brooklyn, even though they may not have the luxury of a first round pick in 2018 at least they can count on their current first rounder to continuously get better.