Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Chris McCullough had their team options with the Brooklyn Nets exercised Sunday, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post.
This move comes as no surprise, as both Hollis-Jefferson and McCullough are huge pieces of the Nets’ young core. RHJ will earn $1.45 million in his third year, and fellow second-year player Chris McCullough will make slightly less at $1.24 million.
At 21-years-old, Hollis-Jefferson is the key to Brooklyn having a shutdown defense in the near future, but he’s underperformed through the first three games of the season. Offensively, he’s struggling. And struggling mightily.
Although it’s not his forte, RHJ’s shooting a piddling 25 percent from the field and just 37.5 percent on two-point attempts. His usage rate is low, barely cracking 11 percent, so it’s not too detrimental to the offense, but his turnover percentage is above 30, which is awful.
As he matures, he’ll find his place in the offense and most of his struggles can be linked to growing pains–especially since this system is entirely different from last year.
The most puzzling part of his season so far is how there seems to be a dropoff defensively. As a team, the Nets rank 17th in defensive efficiency, but Hollis-Jefferson is toward the bottom of the pack. Last year, he was undoubtedly the Nets best perimeter defender, and he still is based on ability.
McCullough is another guy who can develop into a capable defender, but his presence would be in the paint. He’s played in just one game so far this year and tallied just four minutes.
Potential has been flashed in games before, and the former first-round pick can turn into a feared shot blocker and alley-oop target after a couple of seasons.
Kenny Atkinson expects to send McCullough down to the D-League at some point in the season. Doing so will allow the 21-year-old to add some polish to his game on both ends of the ball.
When these two struggle, it’s important to remember that they only had limited time last year: RHJ played in 29 games before ankle surgery, and McCullough played in 24 after recovering from an ACL injury.