Brooklyn Nets: Sean Kilpatrick Will Be Our Hero This Season

Sep 26, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Sean Kilpatrick (6) poses for a portrait during media day at HSS Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

A Brooklyn Nets reserve has emerged as the unlikely hero this season. His name is Sean Kilpatrick.

When I set sail on my 15 1/2 minute commute to Downtown Brooklyn on October 22 for my “Brooklyn Nets: Exploring the Area Around the Barclays Center” piece, my biggest disappointment wasn’t the frigid weather, nor the fact that I had to wipe away water droplets trickling down my phone screen every ten seconds. It was the And1 Store, which is just a two minute walk from the Barclays Center, not being open.

Why should we care about And1, you say? Well, here’s one (and possibly the only) reason: Sean Kilpatrick.

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If you don’t know who Sean Kilpatrick is by now, I suggest you at least get informed about his journey to the Brooklyn Nets. But really, if you don’t know who he is by now, I may start questioning your loyalty.

The 26-year-old from Yonkers has been making a statement in his brief time with the Nets. Already, just eight games into the 2016-17 season, he is averaging 15.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and one steals per game. Impressive for a guy who hopped from team to team in the D-League and NBA just a few years prior.

Brooklyn decided to use Kilpatrick off the bench this season, but that doesn’t mean that he is worth any less than the Nets’ starters. In fact, the sixth man role may suit Kilpatrick even better than the starting role, as he packs a major scoring punch in the Nets’ second unit. This makes him a strong candidate for Sixth Man of the Year.

He’ll be our hero this season, and it’s clear why he is loved by so many fans.

Mar 24, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Sean Kilpatrick (6) drives to the basket during the third quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Barclays Center. Brooklyn won 104-95. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

We appreciate greatness, and Kilpatrick is getting there…

Greatness in sports is defined in many ways. There are the LeBrons, the Kobes, the Lillards, and this list can continue on with franchise players. But more often than not, there are players who impact their team in a quieter fashion.

Take Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan for instance. Both are pivotal players on the Toronto Raptors, but aren’t discussed in the same bubble as LeBron James, Stephen Curry, or Damian Lillard. Of course, individually speaking, their skillsets are not up to par with those greats, but Lowry and DeRozan are the superstars of the Raptors. They have become one of the most dynamic duos in the NBA, and Toronto has been a playoff contender for a couple of years now.

The Nets don’t have a superstar. They probably haven’t had one since Jason Kidd and Vince Carter. You could argue for Brook Lopez, but Lopez just doesn’t fit into the same conversation as even guys like Lowry and DeRozan. If there was a superstar building for the future on the Nets roster, it’d be Kilpatrick.

Kilpatrick has already begun establishing his presence in Brooklyn. There are some clear signs during Nets games that define who Kilpatrick is.

Every hissed “S….. K…..” at the Barclays Center for each of his field goals. Every drive to the basket that helps him draw a foul. Every dive for a loose ball.

I hold onto every moment. Do you?

So far this season, I’ve seen two Nets games live, and was particularly amazed by Kilpatrick’s energy in last Friday’s loss to the Charlotte Hornets. There was the Kilpatrick that knocked down shot after shot, but then there was also the Kilpatrick that fought for every loose ball and opportunity to get his team back in the game. In the final minute of the game, it was Kilpatrick who kept hustling his way into the paint to draw fouls.

Ian Eagle calls him “Skillpatrick” for a reason. There’s hope for the Nets’ future, as long as Kilpatrick is a part of it.

Mar 22, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Sean Kilpatrick (6) reacts after a three point shot against the Charlotte Hornets during second half at Barclays Center. The Charlotte Hornets defeated the Brooklyn Nets 105-100. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The Story of Being Undrafted

Kilpatrick’s story is what drives everyone to want to see him succeed. Everyone roots for an underdog who ends up coming out on top.

The shooting guard recently released his “Undrafted” shop, which represents his journey to the NBA well. The shop features merchandise with the word “Undrafted” and two X’s. Pretty simple, but it gets the message across.

I went against buying a $70 “Undrafted” hoodie (though I am still eyeing a $40 t-shirt). Instead, I’d rather save up for something that identifies more with the emerging shooting guard. His jersey, in Brooklyn Remix fashion, because nothing pairs better than black and white with stars. Although I’m not a fan of jerseys, I think I could justify spending $110 on a Kilpatrick Brooklyn Remix jersey.

There are a whole lot of things I love about the guy, and many Nets fans would agree with me. There’s his story, the hustle he brings to the game, how he always expresses love for his fans, and how he posts daily about how he’s grateful for God and the opportunities that brought him to where he is now. What don’t you love about him?

Tell me something you hate about the guy. I dare you.

Kilpatrick will be our hero not just because of his production for the team, but also because of what he brings as a human being. There hasn’t been a shred of hope in Brooklyn for a while, but SK brings this new hope and energy to the city.

If anyone represents the tenacity of Brooklyn Grit this season, it’s Kilpatrick. Keep being you, Sean.

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