DeAndre' Bembry becoming Nets' bargain as fill-in starter

With the Nets’ Big 3, it’s easy to get wrapped up on the top end of the Nets’ roster. But DeAndre’ Bembry is becoming a bargain for the veteran minimum — and the latest savvy find by GM Sean Marks.

“He gives us some speed and athleticism; he gives us a defender out there who can guard No. 1 options on the other team, and he also is a cutter offensively for us. So he’s been great,” head coach Steve Nash said. “We’ve been working with him to really understand his role, and I think he’s been fantastic with his willingness to compete and to grow as a player. So, really proud of his effort and he’s getting better.”

Bembry has played all but one game this season, but with the combined injuries of Joe Harris and Bruce Brown, who just returned Saturday, he has taken on a bigger role lately and started the last four games, averaging 10.5 points and 6.3 rebounds.

“Obviously, it’s different coming off the bench,” Bembry said. “Coming off the bench, sometimes you try to change the pace if we’re down. But starting, everyone’s still just waking up and trying to get their blood flowing, so it’s hard to keep that pace for everybody. But me myself, that’s my game. I’m just coming in and being aggressive defensively, trying to disrupt plays.”

brooklyn nets, nba

DeAndre’ Bembry dunks the ball during the Nets’ game against the Suns.

Robert Sabo

Over his last two games, Bembry averaged 13.5 and 9.5 boards, totaling 13 of 18 from the floor and a plus-24.

“He played incredible [against Phoenix] — playing defense on the ball, cutting to the rim, making himself available, rebounding,” Kevin Durant said. “We’re going to need that from him. He was a spark for us and he was one of the bright spots out there. So hopefully he can continue to build on this and keep getting better.”

After his contract was only guaranteed for $750,000 when he signed in August, Bembry will see it guaranteed up to $1.25 million on Dec. 15. It’ll fully guarantee on Jan. 7 — but that seems a forgone conclusion the way he’s played.

Brown was limited to a scoreless 4:36 off the bench in Saturday’s return from hamstring tightness. He’d started 14 straight games before that.

The Nets are 11-3 in those starts, and 40-11 with Brown in the lineup since last season.

Harris (ankle) and Nic Claxton (non-COVID illness) are expected to miss the Knicks game.

Brooklyn assigned Day’Ron Sharpe to G-League Long Island on Sunday.

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