Second-round picks are easily forgotten in the NBA, and on a roster as deep as the Nets’, that could certainly be the case. But day by day, practice after practice, Reggie Perry is trying to leave an impression.
Despite the culture shock of coming from tiny Southern towns and now playing with Hall of Fame-caliber teammates, Perry has made a fairly good impact.
“It’s been a great experience. This experience is what I’ve looked for coming into the NBA. One of my wishes was to be around great players, like Hall of Famers, and great teammates and stuff like that. It’s been great,” said Perry, who couldn’t believe he was playing with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
“I definitely said that to myself in my head. But I definitely try to keep my cool. The first day I got here, we played pickup, so as soon as we got on the court, everything was regular. Just playing basketball.”
Perry played at Mississippi State in Starkville, and grew up in Thomasville, Ga., where the population of 18,413 is only a tad bigger than the Barclays Center’s seating capacity. But he’s acclimating not only to the pace of New York but also to practice in the NBA.
“I love Reggie, the draft pick. He’s a young kid that works very, very hard but knows the game of basketball,” Jeff Green said. “Honestly — well, it’s hard with the rotations we have here — but down the line in his career, I think he’ll be able to play multiple positions as well. He is very talented.”
DeAndre Jordan has bullied his share of centers, and is impressed with not only Perry’s skill and inquisitiveness, but also the 6-foot-10, 250-pounder’s strength and toughness — even if he pretended he couldn’t remember his name.
“Who? Who? Oh, you mean Rook!” Jordan said with a laugh. “Man, I love Rook. I love what he’s doing. He is a tough player, no fear out there, a very strong guy and a skilled player who can shoot the basketball.
“Like I said, Rook’s done a great job. Just to be able to have someone around who’s a young player, wants to soak up all that knowledge and work as hard as he can. It’s great to have someone like that on our team.”
Perry averaged 17.4 points and 10.1 boards last season as a sophomore, shooting 32.4 percent from 3-point range. While he won’t get those stats or those minutes, Steve Nash does see a future for him if he continues to develop.
“Reggie is a modern 5,” Nash said. “Fortunately for Reggie’s development, as a developmental player, he can stretch the floor with a 3 and also make plays for his teammates. He’s got a lot of skills and attributes that allow him that versatility to be a small-ball 5 in the modern game.”
The Nets requested waivers on guard Jordan Bowden and forward Nate Sestina to pare the roster to 20.