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Looking to add defense, Brooklyn reportedly signs Andre Roberson

Michael Holley and Mike Smith analyze Kyrie Irving's comments on the Nets' 7-6 start since acquiring James Harden and explain why Brooklyn is no longer a clear-cut favorite to win the East due to recent struggles.

Before he ruptured his patellar tendon back in January of 2018, Andre Roberson was one of the better wing defenders in the NBA. He could defend two-through-four, and even hold his own against point guards or small-ball centers.

That is exactly the kind of player the defensively-challenged Brooklyn Nets could use on the wing, so they have signed the former Thunder player hoping he can recapture his old form. Shams Charania of The Athletic broke the news.

Brooklyn had to clear a roster spot to sign Roberson.

The Nets absolutely need defensive wing help off the bench. The Nets are 25th in the NBA in defense, and in the past seven games their defensive rating is four points per 100 worse.

Brooklyn is betting Roberson can regain most of his peak Thunder form. There’s a lot of injury history that scared other teams off — it wasn’t just the injury in January of 2018, it was the multiple setbacks and challenges during his recovery. Roberson didn’t return to the court for the Thunder until last July in the bubble, two-and-a-half years later. He played in seven games, but he looked rusty, as should be expected of a guy who missed 30 months of basketball (Roberson shot 27% in those games). Roberson could not land an offseason contract.

Now the Nets will roll the dice on him, betting he is ready to get back somewhere in the ballpark of his old form. With a minimum contract, it’s not a big risk, but the Nets need a hit or two when searching for defense and tweaking the roster.