Brooklyn Nets: Signing David Nwaba was a smart decision

David Nwaba, Cleveland Cavaliers. Brooklyn Nets. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
David Nwaba, Cleveland Cavaliers. Brooklyn Nets. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The Brooklyn Nets have finally rounded out their roster by signing guard David Nwaba. Here’s why he was a great addition to an already retooled roster.

Sean Marks and the Brooklyn Nets should be applauded further for their final roster acquisition. The GM continued to surround Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant with defensive-minded and versatile players who will prove to be successful in the long-run.

The Nets signed swingman David Nwaba to a two-year deal, adding more depth on the defensive end at the wing position.

"After starting his career actually paying to attend D League tryouts – he wrote in the Players’ Tribune about forking over $150 to try out for the Reno Bighorns – Nwaba’s deal is for $1.7 million this coming season and $1.8 million the next, with a July 7 trigger date, according to ESPN."

Starting his pro career undrafted, and paying his own way to try out for the D-League, Nwaba has proven he belongs in the NBA. In 51 appearances with the Cleveland Cavaliers last season, Nwaba posted 6.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, 0.7 steals, on 48.1 FG%, 32 3P%, in 19.1 minutes per game.

At 6-4 and 219 pounds, Nwaba has an above-average seven-foot wingspan and athleticism that can be lethal against his opponents.

Although he may not play major minutes on the Nets this season or the next, he will be a versatile option at the shooting guard or small forward positions. Coach Kenny Atkinson will have more flexibility to utilize Nwaba this upcoming season due to Kevin Durant’s injury, which is a major incentive to showcase his talent.

Defensive intensity

Despite not being a major part of the Cavaliers’ 25th-ranked offense, he was arguably their best defender (30th-ranked defense) last season. Nwaba can come off the bench and provide excellent coverage on the opposing team’s best player, which is highly coveted around the NBA.

As a starter in fourteen games, Nwaba was a part of a Cavs lineup (Tristan Thompson, Rodney Hood, Cedi Osman, and Collin Sexton) that was among the team’s best in plus-minus minutes  (+4) with at least three games played together this season.

Although this is not a major sample size, it is a positive statistic that shows Nwaba was a part of one of the most effective starting lineups (out of 32 in total) for the lowly Cavaliers last season.

Nwaba can easily guard either the point guard, shooting guard, or small forward positions due to his defensive versatility. Cleveland coach Larry Drew specifically assigned Nwaba to guard the opponents best non-big man offensive threat last season. Adding him to an already talented Brooklyn Nets roster will further increase their chances of competing for a championship for years to come.

Finisher in transition

The Nets were eleventh in the NBA in pace last season, which can improve with the addition of the former Cal-Poly star and his uptempo playstyle. In his three seasons in the NBA, Nwaba has proven that he is effective in transition on both ends of the floor, which is an invaluable skill in today’s fast-paced style of play.

He has yet to average more than twenty-three minutes a game and fully develop his offense, but that may come with time. Hopefully, Nwaba will log in at least fifteen to twenty minutes this season (due to KD’s injury) and prove that he deserves to be an integral piece of Atkinson’s rotation.

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On a Nets team that arguably lacks athleticism, Nwaba fits that criteria.

He possesses an impressive ability to finish around the rim through contact, dunk through traffic, and defend the whole length of the floor.

If Nwaba finds his way into the Nets’ second unit, he will accompany Spencer Dinwiddie in the backcourt depending on the rotation Coach Atkinson decides to use.

Final thoughts

At only twenty-six years old, Nwaba has more than enough time to develop a more consistent shot from downtown and prove to be one of the most underrated three-and-D players in the NBA. He will undoubtedly be a versatile option at the shooting guard or small forward positions in an already crowded backcourt and frontcourt.

Additionally, Nwaba has been able to stay on the floor (for at least 20 minutes) with his previous teams despite his lack of consistency beyond the arc, which showcases the effectiveness of his presence on both ends of the floor.

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Receiving Tony Allen comparisons is a great sign, as he searches for a stable home in the NBA since he is about to play for his fourth different team in four seasons. The Brooklyn Nets’ will surely benefit from this underrated signing moving forward.