Don’t Cry Over Scored Buckets: Nets Waiving Yogi Ferrell Wasn’t A Mistake

A wise man once said that hindsight is always 20-20, and it could not be truer when talking about former Brooklyn Nets’ guard Yogi Ferrell‘s recent hot stretch with the Dallas Mavericks.

It was late July, and Ferrell had spent 29 days with the “undrafted” label after having a stellar career with the Indiana Hoosiers. Following a four-game stint with the Brooklyn Nets Summer League team, Ferrell had earned his first professional contract, and the document got signed on July 22.

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Fast forward to the regular season; Ferrell is bouncing back and forth between Brooklyn and the Long Island Nets, and the reason he kept getting recalled to the NBA is that he was showing potential in the D-League. In 18 games with Long Island, Ferrell averaged 18.7 points, 5.8 assists and shot 39.8 percent from three. Unfortunately, he struggled in the big leagues.

He got waived before the season started, signed another deal and then got waived again before getting replaced by Spencer Dinwiddie.

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Dallas saw something in Ferrell and signed him to two 10-day contracts back-to-back. In that time, he caused the internet to have a meltdown after averaging almost 18 points in his four contests, which includes 32 against the Portland Trail Blazers and 19 against the Cleveland Cavaliers. He played so well that the Mavericks offered him a two-year deal, and I’m joyed that an undrafted player of Ferrell’s caliber is carving out a place for himself in the league.

With that said, it’s expected that Nets fans wish the team never let him go. I see that side of the argument, but it wasn’t a mistake that they let him walk.

By the time his stints finished, Ferrell had suited up for 10 games but the Nets had played 14 as a team, and he just didn’t produce enough to warrant a roster spot. The stretch of games that he played (Nov. 9 to Dec. 7) was when Brooklyn was trying to figure out their point guard rotation because Jeremy Lin‘s injury was still relatively new. At that juncture, Ferrell was fighting to take minutes from Isaiah Whitehead and Sean Kilpatrick, since they were the primary ball handlers.

Putting their numbers side-by-side, Ferrell got outplayed by the both of them, and it wasn’t because of a lack of minutes. Ferrell got extended minutes (25, 18, 19) in three consecutive contests but couldn’t remain consistent in them; he tallied 13 points and five assists against the Los Angeles Clippers, but just six points and one assist two games later against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Here is what the numbers looked like upon Ferrell’s release, courtesy of NBA.com:

  • Ferrell: 10 games, 5.4 points, 1.7 assists, 1.4 turnovers, 36.7 percent shooting in 15.4 minutes
  • Kilpatrick: 14 games, 16.7 points, 3.1 assists, 2.7 turnovers, 41.9 percent shooting in 28.3 minutes
  • Whitehead: 11 games, 7.1 points, 3.0 assists, 1.9 turnovers, 36.3 percent shooting in 26 minutes

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Even if the Nets did decide to keep Ferrell, there’s no concrete evidence that he produces like this. And that’s why it’s not a big deal they let him go. Kenny Atkinson and Sean Marks can’t see the future — if they could, they would’ve called Billy King back in July of 2013 and told him not to ruin the Nets immediate future by trading for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.

Not to discredit Ferrell’s effort against Portland, but nine of his 11 made shots were threes, and Mason Plumlee was the only Blazer to have a real contest on any of those attempts. By that point, Ferrell had already nailed six. His eighth came in transition, and the ninth (which was the dagger) was not defended.

Ferrell was dared to shoot by the Blazers, and they went under every single screen that led to a bucket — he was practically shooting uncontested jump shots. If you give an NBA player open looks, they’re going to drill them, and let’s remember that Damian Lillard is not exactly Gary Payton. Furthermore, the entire Trail Blazers team is awful defensively, and Ferrell took advantage.

Another thing to consider is Portland already having to game plan for Wesley Matthews, Seth Curry and Harrison Barnes, and the former two had solid nights themselves — 27 and 19 points, respectively, on 15-of-29 combined shooting.

Aside from that, his other solid performance was a great all-around showing against the Cavaliers, but the other two games don’t jump out at you.

Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell is a good player, and there are going to be nights where he gets buckets. But, the Nets weren’t guaranteed this level of play if they held onto him.

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