Day'Ron Sharpe of the Brooklyn Nets
December 26, 2023: Brooklyn Nets center Day'Ron Sharpe scores against the Brooklyn Nets. Image via the Brooklyn Nets.

Day’ron Sharpe Has Been A Shining Light For the Brooklyn Nets

Throughout a long season, good moments keep one uplifted and excited for what’s next. For Day’Ron Sharpe and the Brooklyn Nets, those moments have laid the foundation for an exciting future.

Sharpe was drafted No. 29 in the 2021 NBA draft and came over to the Nets from the Phoenix Suns in a summer trade for Landry Shamet. Sharpe was projected as a solid big man, but there were questions about his ability to succeed at the pro level. When he joined Brooklyn, he joined a team jam-packed in the front court and had championship expectations. As a young player in a crowded center room, it makes development all the more difficult.

Minutes were hard to come by for Sharpe in the early part of his career; he was behind Nic Claxton, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Blake Griffin in the rotation in his rookie year.

In 2023, Nets Republic‘s Migi Contreras wrote:

Showing he can be a big body in the paint that can rebound and roll to the rim, Sharpe looked like he could be the backup center the Nets need. However, from the start of the season, Sharpe has struggled. Sure the rebounding was there, but he was getting played off the court in switching scenarios and wasn’t able to convert at the rim efficiently. Because of this, Sharpe was demoted to the end of the bench and spent time in the G-League. 

Since then, Sharpe has found his footing in the league and is playing his best professional basketball.

Establishing A Foundation

This season has been a breakthrough for Sharpe. He has established a permanent spot in the Nets rotation and blossomed in his role coming off the bench. He’s fifth among bench players in offensive rebounds (2.6 per game) and second in double-doubles (five) this season. His work on the glass has also extended plenty of possessions for Brooklyn.

When he gets the ball near the rim, he has been able to use his soft touch to make things happen.

For years, the Nets have been a poor rebounding team. As a result, former coach Jacque Vaughn changed to a drop defensive coverage to help address that deficiency.

“Day’Ron is just becoming more consistent,” Vaughn said. “And that’s what you want as a coach, to not have hesitancy of putting the guy in the game. Knowing what you’re gonna get. He’s grown in that area, and it’s good to see.”

Sharpe’s season was going well, but like many things related to the Nets this season, it did not last.

What’s Next For Sharpe and the Nets?

Late in the game against Portland on Jan. 7, he suffered a knee sprain. On Jan. 9, the Nets announced Sharpe would miss at least two weeks after being diagnosed with a hyperextended left knee. In total, Sharpe missed 15 games and Brooklyn went 5-10 in his absence. Losing Sharpe at that point of the season was a critical blow for a Nets team fighting to stay in postseason contention.

Now that Sharpe is back, he is displaying some new skills in his arsenal.

If Brooklyn wants to save its season, it needs big play from Sharpe every night out.

Sharpe and Claxton must continue as a dynamic one-two punch at center.

“Me and Nic have been together for the last three years,” Sharpe said. “So we got that chemistry together. Some things he sees out there, he’s telling me I need to do, I’m listening. Some things I see when I’m on the sidelines, he’s like, ‘I got you.’ We complement each other just like that.”

Sharpe spoke more in-depth about that in an interview with YES Network in January.

Sharpe’s role promises to play a big part as the Nets approach an uncertain offseason. The young big man has established himself as a solid rotation player and someone the coaching staff can count on. Brooklyn has a lot to figure out, but it knows it has someone it can count on in Sharpe.