Now that the Brooklyn Nets season is over, here at FRWD we will be doing player grades over the next couple of days, looking at each player on the roster and seeing where they were best at and where they can improve. We will begin with the last man on the roster, Toko Shengelia.
2013 season stats: 19 gms, 5 mpg, 1.6 ppg, 1.2 rpg, 0.2 apg, 44% FG, 56% FT, 50% 3-pt FG, 0.6 to.
The Nets have to be happy with Toko’s progress this season, especially because they were doubtful he would even be on the roster at the beginning of the year. After the Nets traded for a pick in the mid-50’s in the 2012 draft and drafted Toko, Nets fans believed he would be a Euro-stash pick, meaning he would play a few more years in Europe and eventually come over to the NBA and play with the Nets once his game is more polished.
Instead, the 20-year old decided to come over straight away, first playing for the Nets’ summer league team in Orlando and then making the 15-man roster. In the preseason, Toko had some good moments including leading a 4th quarter comeback on the road in Boston and capping it off with a big dunk at the end of the game. Yes, this was a meaningless preseason game, but this was Nets fans’ first real glimpse at the underrated athleticism that Toko has.
As the regular season started, Toko was often in a suit and did not play in many games this year, especially after Avery Johnson was fired in December. Toko only ended up playing in 6 games after mid-January and all those games were in garbage time roles.
Of course, Shengelia did spend a short amount of time with the Nets’ D-League team, the Springfield Armor, where he put up great numbers, even recording a triple-double in one game. However, D-League defense is so much worse than NBA defense that it is hard to compare the two styles of play.
Undoubtedly, Toko’s greatest moment of the season came in the second-to-last game of the season, when the Nets rested all of their starters for a meaningless game. Toko came off the bench and played 25 minutes for the Nets, recording a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds and leading the Nets to a come from behind win. Sure, this game didn’t matter at all in terms of the standings, but Nets fans had to be happy with what they saw from Toko in that brief snippet.
Shengelia did not play a second of the playoffs against Chicago.
The reason Toko did not play more minutes is because the Nets were a veteran team with experienced players while Toko is just a 20-year old rookie. However, I wish we would have gotten a better look at what he can do as a player in the rotation. He clearly possesses a lot of athleticism, which we have seen when he goes up for dunks. He is also not a bad shooter and he can jump with anybody to get rebounds.
Toko only has one year remaining on his rookie contact. Hopefully we will get to see a little bit more of him next season before he becomes a free agent.
Final grade: C