Report: Nets receive reinforcements ahead of game vs. Lakers

Jesse Cinquini
3 Min Read
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Brooklyn Nets guard Dennis Smith Jr. and forward Cam Johnson are available to play in Sunday’s matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers after both players sat out the team’s last three games.

While Johnson’s numbers haven’t been as impressive this season as they were during the 2022-23 regular season with Brooklyn (he is averaging fewer points, rebounds, steals and blocks per game compared to his first season in Brooklyn), he has still been one of the team’s best players.

In 55 games played and 47 starts with the Nets this season, he is averaging 13.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists per contest on 45.2 percent shooting from the floor and 39.7 percent from deep.

Perhaps his most valuable skill is his ability to shoot the ball behind the 3-point arc. He is averaging 2.5 3-pointers made per game on the season, which is the second-highest average of any player on the Nets, behind only Mikal Bridges.

In Johnson’s most recent appearance for the Nets on March 23, his 3-point shooting chops were on full display. He scored 13 points and knocked down half of his six 3-point attempts against the New York Knicks.

As for Smith, he has been quietly solid off the bench for Brooklyn in the 2023-24 regular season. The floor general is averaging 6.7 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game on 43.5 percent shooting from the field.

Johnson and Smith are projected to return to the lineup for a Brooklyn team that is amid one of its best stretches of basketball of the season. The Nets are winners of each of their last three contests, with those wins coming against the Chicago Bulls, Washington Wizards and Toronto Raptors.

Most recently, Brooklyn earned a 17-point victory over the Bulls on March 29. Three Nets players — Bridges, Dennis Schroder and Cam Thomas — scored 25-plus points in the win.

Considering the Nets haven’t lost in over a week and are now getting two talented contributors back in their rotation in Smith and Johnson, the Lakers could be in for an entertaining and competitive matchup on Sunday.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer covering the Lakers’ dreaded rivals, the Boston Celtics, for SB Nation. He has also covered the New York Knicks for The Knicks Wall.