“He knows how to play,” said New Jersey Nets head coach Avery Johnson, enthralled with the energy Vujacic brings off the bench. “He just knows how to play.”
In four games with the Nets, Vujacic has averaged 11 points and shot .472. And that shooting helps — only interior guys Derrick Favors (.556) and Kris Humphries (.545) have better marks. And there is that infectious buzz Vujacic employs on the court. Johnson stressed that he doesn’t want to make too much of it because he doesn’t want to slight the guys already in place.
But, truly, he loves it.
“I don’t want to take anything away from our guys who’ve been here,” Johnson said. “I’m more of a body language guy and a spirit guy. And he has such a great spirit. He has great life. He reminds me of a soccer player. Great energy. Even when he makes a mistake, you can live with it. Very unselfish, just what we needed.”
We all know that Sasha welcomes the chance to play. Sasha won 2 rings with the Lakers, but his playing time was limited. But with the Nets he gets time. And he uses it.
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“He really gives an identity to our bench,” Devin Harris said.
“I really want to do good with the team,” said Vujacic, who has five steals in his four Nets games. “I was never one (who) just cared about their individual stats. I have to do what this team needs me to do, and that’s scoring. Sometimes, it’s going to be assists, playing good defense. Whatever. I’m having fun. They wanted me, and I’m really happy to be here.”
The Nets are 2-2 since Vujacic’s arrival. They should be 3-1, and he’ll be the first to tell you: “I hate to say, the one in Toronto, we should have won. We were up for 45 minutes and it was tough to lose.”) Now he is not the only reason, of course, but the Nets are showing signs. In the briefest of times, he has helped solidify Johnson’s rotation while flashing that contagious gusto.
“I like where we are [after] the trade for Sasha,” Johnson said. “I like our energy. Right now going into our mini break, I’m hoping that we’ll come back fresh, with even more of a renewed energy and a sense of purpose.”