It’s quite obvious that Isaiah Whitehead, the Brooklyn-born second-year guard for the Nets wants to stay home at The Barclays Center for good. No more shuffling between Atlantic Ave and the Long Island Nets of the G-League. His performance on Monday night proves it.
Just two days after leading the Long Island Nets with 32 points, Whitehead scored a career-high 24 points for the Brooklyn Nets, putting on an array of perimeter and post moves while playing with a NYC magic and electricity that Nets fans desperately need.
Watching Whitehead shoot 10 for 16 from the field in a 117103 loss to the Houston Rockets was like being taken back to the ’90s, sitting on a park bench on 155th and watching it go down at The Rucker.
After leading the @LongIslandNets with 32 PTS two days ago, @IsaiahW_15 scored a career-high 24 PTS for the @BrooklynNets! https://t.co/hK73pzsb1j
When watching the Nets, I ask myself, What is this team missing? Other than LeBron James, James Harden and Russell Westbrook, of course. They have no personality. No identity. Brooklyn is like the cultural foundation of modern America and the basketball team is boring and unenchanting.
Then, I watched Whitehead ball and I immediately knew what they were missing. The kid who is a product of legendary Lincoln HS, the same breeding ground for former NBA star Stephon Marbury and current NBA player Lance Stephenson. I hope Nets ownership and executive minds had an epiphany after watching Whitehead two-step, slash, splash and power his way to tying a career-high 24 points.
Brooklyn Nets Point Guard Isaiah Whitehead (@IsaiahW_15) is the first professional athlete to take ‘The Sports Walk’. The Coney Island native shared his thoughts on fatherhood, playing in his hometown and what it means to give back while at his annual Give Back Day in his neighborhood.
The Nets seem to be high on Spencer Dinwiddie, but Barclays needs excitement. The fans need a familiar feel. They need a prodigal son with his heart in the mission to bring credibility to Brooklyn basketball and erase the growing disenchantment with New York City hoops from the AAU products to the pro teams.
Brooklyn needs a hero and a hometown one. Nets coach Kenny Atkinson is from Long Island and has coached his share of inner-city ball players, so he understands the city grit that and personal pride that is the foundation of the New York basketball culture. Whitehead will only get better. Last season he played 73 games while averaging 22.5 minutes per game.
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This season, hes appeared in just six games as hes been brought up and sent down to the G League like he was on the old Free Fall ride at Great Adventures.
At 22, hes a baby in the league and he hasnt been given a consistent role on this Nets team or the trust to start and get buckets. His 3-point prowess may not be seventh-year vet ready yet, but hes not a one-dimensional player. The NBA has enough guards who just score, but as a rookie Whitehead tied the Nets single-season record for blocks by a guard with 36, set by Darwin Cook during the 198081 season.
Whitehead seems to be suffering the same early fate as NBA superstar Kemba Walker, another NYC product who was dominant in college and was recognized at the time as The Big Easts premier player. Kemba, a flashy, pit bull of a guard with ice water in his veins and a jumper that was always on in the fourth, but inconsistent in its beauty and general fluency, took UConn to great heights, same as Whitehead did when he carried on tradition with Seton Hall during his time there as an AP Honorable Mention All-American.
Despite single-handedly willing UConn to a National Championship, as a Charlotte Bobcats rookie, Kemba had to earn his minutes and prove his city slicker game could translate to the NBA. Although he’s done everything a guard can do, short of winning a championship, his rise in notoriety has been incremental.
SLAMTop50 No. 32: Kemba Walker Kemba keeps improving and is looking to get the Hornets back to the playoffs. https://t.co/eeS5RuWOII
Theres this stigma attached to NYC point guards these days. They were once the most valued commodity in college hoops. Of late, the never-ending list of NYC high school point guards with flair, handle, scoring prowess and tenacity, has not produced many superstars at the pro level. Whitehead can be that guy if the franchise commits to him and shows the confidence in him that Larry Bird showed in Lance Stephenson when he was at his best.
Bobby Cey and Uncle G Stacks catch up with Lance Stephenson of the Indiana Pacers and Isaiah Whitehead of the Brooklyn Nets after their game at Hoops in the Sun Saturday afternoon to discuss their 27 point a piece outing in a 100-93 Us Nvr Them victory over R2K, their paths to the NBA, NYC Streetball and more.
Some blame the lack of focus on long-range shooting, which has become an essential part of high-level hoops.
Bah Humbug. In my opinion theres too many metrics, too much cookie-cutter nonsense. What a 7-13 Brooklyn Nets team, which is lacking in talent and attention, needs right now is some homegrown excitement.
The Nets need to stop bouncing dude up and down like a bad check. They need to give Whitehead the ball and let the fans enjoy the game again through the basketball prism of a youngster who grew up making his name on the concrete courts, is electric with the rock and cares about his hometown.