The Brooklyn Nets will be without Yuta Watanabe for their much-awaited game against the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night, ESPN's Tim Bontemps reported. The Japanese sensation will miss the game due to right hamstring tightness.
This will be the fourth game overall that Watanabe won't suit up for the Nets. He's done an exceptional job as one of their premier outside threats. His value on the court could be felt Tuesday night as they take on the Sixers. In his first 14 games, he's making 57.1% of his 3-pointers, leading the entire league.
During their 127-115 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday, the Nets forward had 16 points and made four of his six shots from 3-point range. This season, Watanabe is averaging 8.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 0.9 assists. Aside from scoring, he's also considered one of the team's ball stoppers.
Luckily for the Nets, Nic Claxton will make a comeback after not playing against the Grizzlies. Claxton dealt with an illness which resulted in him not suiting up. While he was out, Ben Simmons took over the center position and played fairly decently, with a season-high 22 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
Yuta Watanabe has emerged as a fan favorite for the Nets this season
Yuta Watanabe is the new fan favorite, and it's all thanks to the Nets. When fans acknowledge a player, they usually mean it and are genuinely happy for the player. It's the same situation Alex Caruso was put in during his early years in the league. Few knew Caruso, an undrafted guard, but he became a heavy favorite for his hard work.
The same can be said about Watanabe. He isn't the most athletic player in the league and not the quickest, either. But his dedication to working on his craft has been inspiring to many fans. Even his teammates have shown their amazement at the Japanese star.
Kevin Durant is one of his most enthusiastic teammates.
"I’m excited for him," Durant said. "At this point, I think we should expect that he’ll go out there and play good basketball — he’s just playing solid ball on both ends of the floor, but we expect that from him now."