Nets’ Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot has chance to make mark


Sometimes it takes an outside eye for perspective.

And as Nets wing Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot’s friends and family back home in France watch the U.S. fail to slow the coronavirus — and many Americans refuse to act responsibly — they can’t help but be stunned.

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“Yeah, they’ve been really questioning myself on what’s going, why is it still here, why [is it] you guys can’t do everything we do, especially how advanced you guys are,” Luwawu-Cabarrot said on a Zoom call Friday. “I just tell them the truth. I tell them people sometimes are not being responsible, and being outside without the masks and gloves, and not paying attention to all these things. They were surprised and shocked.”

“For them, it was hard. Literally [for] two months, you couldn’t go out. If you went out of your home, you’d have to get a lethal reason to go out, like either going to the doctor and having a paper to prove that, or going to the grocery store to get supplies. But besides those two or other urgency, you couldn’t go out. Or if you went out it was a huge fine, a few thousand euros. It was a big deal there, so they were really surprised and shocked we didn’t have these kinds of things here.”

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The U.S. has over 2.7 million of the 10.9 million worldwide COVID-19 cases, and almost 130,000 of the 523,000 fatalities. And numbers are still rising in 40 of 50 states.

Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot
Timothe Luwawu-CabarrotNBAE via Getty Images

With France’s peak long over, Luwawu-Cabarrot wishes he had taken some time to head home; but in the end, he’d decided it wasn’t worth the risk.

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Instead, he remained in Brooklyn, spending his time learning Spanish, taking up cooking (his favorite is fried chicken), and reading (currently “Chop Wood Carry Water,” courtesy of interim Jacque Vaughn.)

But now with the Nets resuming workouts, he and his teammates are preparing to restart the season in Orlando on July 31 versus the Magic.

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It will be a Nets team some will hardly recognize.

With Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, DeAndre Jordan, Wilson Chandler and Nic Claxton all out, and Spencer Dinwiddie in question, there are guaranteed minutes to be had for Luwawu-Cabarrot.

For a player who was waived in the preseason, joined the Nets as a two-way and had to prove himself on a 10-day contract, a spot in the rotation is a big thing.

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“It’s huge for us, huge for me,” Luwawu-Cabarrot said. “Obviously, we’re going to miss them. But as we say this year and as it’s always been, it’s next man up. You have to stay ready and be ready to play … I’m sure they’ll support us and we’ll try and do the best job we can.”

Right before the shutdown, Luwawu-Cabarrot had been playing his best since joining the NBA. There was the season-high 21 points in a win at Charlotte, and a 16-point, eight-rebound effort in a comeback win on March 3 in Boston where he posted a stunning plus-27. He wrapped up play with 13 points in the upset win at the Lakers before play halted.

The French wing had the third-highest Net Rating on the team (7.0) in the five games right before the league shut down.

“NBA guys are NBA guys at the end of the day, whether they’ve gotten a shot or not,” said Caris LeVert. “The guys that were in that [Boston] game — a lot of them were young like [Chris] Chiozza and TLC — are still NBA-caliber players, really high-level players that have a lot of talent.”

Luwawu-Cabarrot is going to get his shot in Orlando. He’ll not only play, but — with the frontcourt decimated — have to use his 6-foot-7, 210-pound frame as a stretch four. Or worse.

“I guess now I’m going to have to play the 4 or 5 at some point,” said Luwawu-Cabarrot, who added he has never played center.

“My role’s going to stay the same: I’m just going to help more in the paint and stay out there with [Jarrett Allen], sometimes have to do the dirty job they do.”

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