Chris Chiozza was just starting to see some more playing time after the injuries to Tyler Johnson and James Harden and the absence of Kyrie Irving. He even got his first start all season on Tuesday versus the Minnesota Timberwolves. However, the good fortunes for Chiozza didn’t last long. Chiozza headed to the locker room with an injury after playing only 13 minutes. And then today, it was reported that he underwent successful surgery to repair a fracture on his right hand. Head coach Steve Nash also stated that he expects Chiozza to miss the rest of the regular season but with a return in the playoffs possible. With a healthy roster, Chiozza would not likely see the floor, but with all the injuries the Nets currently have, not having him is a huge loss. Let’s look at how Chiozza’s injury affects the Nets for the rest of the season.
No Guard Depth
Kyrie Irving returned for tonight’s game versus the Philadelphia 76ers after a one-game absence. Irving, the Nets point guard and lone ball-handler without Harden, took on a huge load for tonight’s game and will have to continue to do so as long as Harden, Chiozza, and Johnson are all out. With Chiozza being out, the Nets secondary ball-handler behind Irving is Landry Shamet, someone who is not a traditional point guard. Shamet has shown flashes of being serviceable as the backup point guard but is nowhere close to ideal. The Nets’ lack of guard depth causes them to play a style where when Irving is on the bench no one player dominates the ball handling.
As we saw tonight versus the Sixers, it was Shamet, Alize Johnson, and Bruce Brown taking turns with the ball-handling duties. For the time being the Nets can manage to play like this but in the long term opposing teams will be able to exploit this weakness. The Nets will look at all their options, and that may result in them having to make some tough decisions.
Chris Chiozza was never a major part of this Brooklyn Nets team. He often didn’t see the floor. And now with him being out the rest of the season, the Nets may be inclined to part ways with Chiozza in order to sign another point guard who could help them right now. There are plenty of options on the free agent market such as Austin Rivers and Isaiah Thomas who are injury free. If the Nets were to waive Chiozza, there is no deadline to sign a two-way player such as the spot Chiozza currently occupies, so Brooklyn can take their time. Chiozza’s injury came at the worst possible time for him and the Nets, meaning his time in Brooklyn could be ending soon.