The Brooklyn Nets are signing veteran guard Andre Roberson, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. Roberson played with Kevin Durant in Oklahoma City, and was once one of the NBA’s best defenders. He was named Second-Team All-Defense in 2017, and played a key role for the Thunder in nearly reaching the 2016 NBA Finals.
But Roberson has hardly played since then. He ruptured his left patellar tendon in 2018, and that led to a string of other injuries that kept him out for the entire 2018-19 season and most of the 2019-20 season. He returned in time for a cameo in the Orlando bubble for the Thunder last season, but did not play a major role in their first-round loss to the Houston Rockets. He has been unsigned ever since.
Aside from his health, his offense has largely been the reason why. Roberson is a career 25.5 percent shooter on 3-pointers, and what’s perhaps even more damaging, he’s made fewer than 47 percent of his free throws. Teams routinely left him unguarded on offense, and while he developed into a smart cutter to help alleviate some of the damage his offense was doing, he would never be mistaken for good or even half-decent on that side of the ball.
But the Nets, with Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving, have more than enough offense to take a swing on such a special defender. Brooklyn can space the floor so effectively with its superstars and shooters like Landry Shamet and Joe Harris that it can afford to take a swing like this. The Nets needed defensive help, and Roberson was their best chance at finding it on the open market.