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#pounditThursday, December 8, 2022

Nets sign fan favorite away from rival team

Steve Nash at a press conference

Mar 31, 2018; San Antonio, TX, USA; Former basketball player Steve Nash speaks during the NBA Hall of Fame press conference at the Alamodome. Mandatory Credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets are back with a vengeance after successfully convincing Kevin Durant to drop his trade request.

The Nets announced on Sunday that they have signed fifth-year forward Yuta Watanabe. The 27-year-old had been a free agent after spending the last two seasons with the Toronto Raptors, Brooklyn’s division rivals.

After going undrafted in 2018 and then spending the first two seasons of his career with the Memphis Grizzlies, Watanabe became a fan favorite in Toronto. He has been widely praised for his maximum effort and high basketball IQ, particularly on the defensive end. Watanabe has terrific length on the wing at 6-foot-9 and hits the occasional three-ball too.

While Watanabe has averaged less than four points per game for his career, the Nets need low-usage role players who are not afraid to take the tough defensive assignments. Watanabe fits that billing (though sometimes his fearlessness can backfire on him).

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