Nets’ highest-paid player struggling with his shot again

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For the second straight year, a preseason ankle injury is crippling the start of Allen Crabbe’s regular season. He’s the highest-paid player on the roster at $18.5 million, but he can’t buy a 3-pointer.

“The biggest expectation for me coming into the season was [to continue] the way I ended off the season,” Crabbe told The Post. “And I could sit up here and make excuses about the minutes restrictions and all that stuff. But I’m just not making shots right now. So, really, it’s just on me.

“So I’ve got to go out there and keep putting extra reps in, come in for shootaround, stay after practice until I get that rhythm again and I feel confident in letting it go, and not second-guessing it, not deferring, but getting back to how I get that rhythm, shot the ball. It’s not tinkering with anything, really, it’s moreso just going out there and making a damn shot.”

So far, Crabbe — an elite shooter — has made damn few shots. He mustered just eight points in Wednesday’s 120-119 OT win over Detroit. He shot 1-of-6 overall, just 1-of-4 from behind the arc to finish a minus-8.

“It’s his rhythm. He’s getting a rhythm. You can see it in his hesitation,” coach Kenny Atkinson said. “It’s either hesitating or sometimes rushing a shot too. When you re-watch the games you see it. But I do see it improving. It’s much like last year. I think it’ll come. He needs more time, more real NBA game minutes, and he’ll get back to where he should be.”

Crabbe is averaging 7.3 points on 25.9 percent shooting. He said his base mechanics aren’t broken and he doesn’t need to change them.

“I’m not switching, I’m not changing anything. The same way I’ve been shooting since damn near high school has gotten me to this point. There isn’t anything to change; you’ve just got to make it. And unfortunately to start off the season like this, it sucks obviously,” said Crabbe, admitting there is honing to be done.

“We’ve been looking at film. Sometimes I’m shooting the ball on the way down instead of releasing at the top of my release. … So just going back and what am I doing differently. Not holding my follow-through all the time. Sometimes bringing the hand back so early can leave the shot early or something like that. It’s the little things that I’ve just been looking at, and I’ve got to fix it.”


There is another forward who could be returning to the mix. Rookie Rodions Kurucs, who sprained his left ankle Oct. 20 in Indiana, went three-on-three before the game, and hopes to go five-on-five at Thursday’s practice.

If he does, that could at least put him in the mix to return as soon as Friday against Houston.


DeMarre Carroll (ankle) and Treveon Graham (hamstring) were both out against the Pistons.

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