The Brooklyn Nets have a conundrum at the point guard position. Their star player, and point guard, as you are all well aware, Jeremy Lin, is out with an hamstring injury. With no timetable for his return, the only true point guard on the Nets roster is Yogi Ferrell. The main issue is that Ferrell needs to develop more. Ferrell is an undrafted rookie out of Indiana University. Ferrell, interestingly enough, is the all-time leader in assists at that historic program.
Brooklyn, in Lin’s absence, has tried both Isaiah Whitehead and Sean Kilpatrick at the point. Putting Kilpatrick at the starting point guard position is what got him into his slump a few games ago, so he is no longer a viable option. Now, Brooklyn uses Whitehead, another rookie. Whitehead came out of Seton Hall where he only played one season as the team’s point guard. Whitehead is known more for his scoring than his floor control and passing.
While Whitehead has not looked terrible, there are times you wonder why he is being forced to play the point. Coach Atkinson should give Whitehead some time at the two guard and let him work on his shot and comfort in the much faster NBA. While Ferrell does need time and development, what better time than now? Lin is injured, and Ferrell will probably be demoted back down to the Long Island Nets when Lin comes back.
In the limited action Ferrell has seen, a lot of it has been impressive, and some of it has looked bad. Yogi can drive to the basket and somehow get the ball up and off the glass to score. He can dribble the ball down the court, make smart passes, and use his height to squeak by defenders. Ferrell also has a decent shot and can find just about anybody on the floor. He simply looks better as a point guard than Whitehead does.
I am not saying to cut Whitehead’s minutes altogether, or even at all. All I am saying is insert Yogi Ferrell into the lineup more, preferably at the point guard position. Also, put Whitehead at shooting guard, let him work out his kinks. Whitehead is a natural shooting guard and Ferrell is a natural point guard. I do not see the confusion here by Coach Atkinson–play Ferrell while he is up in the big leagues.
Whitehead can and will develop as a point guard in practice and game-time, especially when Lin gets back. Ferrell will get time, but the competition will no longer be NBA-level. Ferrell has shown glimpses of being worthy with Brooklyn, so I say let him play more minutes. Let him run the offense and the floor a little bit more than he has been. Take the load of being a starting NBA point guard off of Whitehead for a little each game, and insert Ferrell beside him in the backcourt.
If it fails, Brooklyn will know. It just makes sense to let the point guard play the point and the shooting guard to play the two. Again, when Whitehead’s shot is off, what better way to handle it than let him play comfortably in his natural position where his role is to drive and shoot the ball? Whitehead will develop as a point guard–let him work out his game and gain confidence back. He will not develop properly or fully until he does.