Brooklyn Nets: Yogi Ferrell Filling Void Left By Jeremy Lin

Nov 14, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Yogi Ferrell (10) battles for the ball with Los Angeles Clippers forward Brandon Bass (30) in the second half of a NBA basketball game at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

After injuries to Jeremy Lin and Greivis Vasquez, the Brooklyn Nets cut Vasquez and signed Yogi Ferrell. The former Indiana Hoosier has fit well in Kenny Atkinson‘s offense and has done well trying to fill the void left by Lin.

Injuries can ruin a team, season, or player. With that being said, you can probably feel the pain Brooklyn Nets fans felt when just five games into the season, Jeremy Lin suffered a hamstring injury. The severity of the injury was unknown for quite a bit and is still rather unknown at this point. We don’t know if he’ll be back the next game or the following game, or the game after that and so on, all we know is that the injury is worse than originally suspected.

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We heard he could possibly return as soon as the second half of the game against the Detroit Pistons in which he got injured, but then that rumor was shut down awfully quick. Shortly after though, it was elevated to two weeks and here we are over two weeks later, still unsure of when Lin will make his return.

If there’s one thing that has been evident in Lin’s absence, it’s that the Nets need him back as soon as possible. Lin is exciting and brings a whole new level of scoring and excitement for a Nets team that has lacked that in previous years. In his short time in Brooklyn, Lin may have already taken his spot as the best Nets’ starting point guard in the Brooklyn Era. (Sorry D-Will and Jarrett Jack, but those injuries don’t help your cause). With that being said, the Nets are missing more than Lin’s scoring and passing, and are desperate just to have him back on the court.

Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Ferrell’s Unexpected Emergence

It’s tough to fill the void left by Lin, but there is one unexpected guy filling that role, and his name is Yogi Ferrell.

I was one of many Nets fans who during last year’s college basketball season, was a big fan of Yogi and felt the Nets needed to go after him. I questioned why Brooklyn wouldn’t make a move and go after him and realized that Sean Marks was so very smart in taking the risk to pass him up. He didn’t have to give anything up and if Ferrell were to go undrafted, Marks could offer him a contract. Well, that’s exactly how the scenario played out, and a little less than five months later, Ferrell found himself in a black-and-white uniform.

The former Indiana Hoosier has adapted to his new role very well, and after his first five games, which all came during the Nets mini road trip, Ferrell found himself fourth in scoring and third in assists among rookies. It may be a small sample size, but it is very impressive, especially for an “undersized guard,” who went undrafted this previous summer.

However, even with the way Ferrell has played, he hasn’t exactly filled the void left by Lin. But you have to admit, it’s not very easy for either him, or his rookie teammate, Isaiah Whitehead, to fill the void. Especially when the void is left by a veteran guard who was having one of the best seasons of his career before the injury he recently suffered.

Nov 14, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Yogi Ferrell (10) battles for the ball with Los Angeles Clippers forward Brandon Bass (30) in the second half of a NBA basketball game at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Brooklyn, Yogi

It hasn’t exactly been an ideal situation for Brooklyn, but they are getting a shot to see what this kid can do, and he is impressing many and turning plenty of heads. Those heads include his Brooklyn Nets teammates and the front office and coaching staff as well. Earlier in the preseason, Nets coach Kenny Atkinson even went as far to call Ferrell, “the Energizer Bunny of this team.” That’s a compliment you know went a long way with Ferrell.

Shortly after Atkinson made those comments, the Nets cut Ferrell and he signed with their D-League affiliate, the Long Island Nets. It looked like Ferrell would maybe work his way up to the Nets’ roster later in the season, depending on how they would ultimately stack up in the Eastern Conference playoff race. That was not the case of course. The injuries to Vasquez and Lin caused the Nets to cut Vasquez and then appropriately call up Ferrell and sign him to a deal.

Ferrell then joined the Nets on their five-game road trip, which included games against the likes of the Lakers, Clippers, and their crosstown rival Knicks. He played great basketball during that stretch of games and really showed that he can be a nice rotation player for this team. This shows the fact that he’s been alluded to as undersized multiple times throughout his basketball career doesn’t matter.

Nov 15, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Yogi Ferrell (10) and Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson (6) battle for the ball during a NBA basketball game at Staples Center. The Lakers defeated the Nets 125-118. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Having Options

This isn’t the most ideal situation for Brooklyn, but this can be nice. Having Ferrell and his rookie teammate Isaiah Whitehead playing well and easing Lin back into the lineup can work effectively for Atkinson’s crew. With plenty of options now for Atkinson once Lin returns, he has to be excited. As we’ve seen throughout this season, Atkinson has been able to make sure players 1-15 are up and ready to play, and he has gone to his bench unit down the stretch of games many times this season.

The situation in Brooklyn may look a little sticky right now, but nevertheless, there may be some silver linings to what we’re currently seeing. Letting these young guns run the floor and hold down the fort while they prepare for the return of Lin may not be too bad. The Nets are struggling right now, but building up some confidence for Ferrell and Whitehead can go a long way. 

The Nets need Lin, and they need him desperately. The hopes of the Nets surprising many and making the playoffs is looking bleak, but if Ferrell can continue to play like this once Lin returns back into the starting lineup, the Brooklyn’s hopes of grabbing a final playoff spot may begin to look better than we thought.

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