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Season Preview: Brooklyn Nets

September 21, 2012
By

 

Brooklyn has officially begun its invasion of NYC…..

In: Joe Johnson (& max contract), C.J. Watson, Reggie Evans, Andray Blatche, Josh Childress, Keith Bogans, Jerry Stackhouse

Out: Jordan Farmar (Israel), Gerald Green (IND)…Anthony Morrow, DeShawn Stevenson, Johan Petro, & Jordan Williams (ATL), Shelden Williams (France), Armon Johnson, Sundiata Gaines (IND)

Lineup:

PG Deron Williams        C.J. Watson, TyShawn Taylor (r)

SG Joe Johnson              Marshon Brooks, Jerry Stackhouse

SF Gerald Wallace          Josh Childress, Keith Bogans, James Mays (r)

PF Kris Humphries        Andray Blatche, Mirza Teletovic (r)

C Brook Lopez                 Reggie Evans

Offseason Recap: I was one of those people who though that Deron Williams re-signing with the Nets was far from certain. I thought he had made little ties emotionally with the the team in the year and a half he was there. I was wrong. Williams made the ultimate decision to make the trip into the ‘Big Apple’ with Mikhail Prokhorov n’ crew. It was the first domino that needed to fall in order for GM Billy King to move forward with the rest of the summer’s business.

The Joe Johnson trade caught some of us offguard. It’s not that the team was willing to absorb that max contract…no, it was that the team decided to add a one-on-one scorer to the backcourt of Deron Williams and Marshon Brooks. It’s obvious what happened…new Atlanta GM Danny Ferry started to make some calls for unloading his biggest contract and the star-hungry Nets bit. Owner ‘Proky Proke’ was desperate to add a big name to the roster and he got his wish.

The happiest people when Dwight Howard went to L.A. (besides Lakers fans) were the member of the Nets front office. The team was finally able to move on with their lives. They quickly locked down Brook Lopez to an extension and then brought back Kris Humphries using way more $ than any other team was willing to offer (Cleveland would only commit 1 year). The starting lineup was set in Brooklyn and there should be little drama as to who will be out there for the jumpball every night. The loss of PG Jordan Farmar wasn’t a big deal as he felt he didn’t have a future with the Nets, anyways (J still thinks he should be a starter). The former Laker is now Tel Aviv’s newest baller. Rookie forward Mirza Teletovic is finally crossing the Atlantic to join the Nets this Fall. Here’s a word of advice: learn this guys name now because he’ll definitely be in the rotation.

The Reggie Evans acquisition from the Clippers in a sign-n-trade was huge. He gives this team an attitude and a toughness inside…he also gives them rebounding. All three of the aforementioned things Brook Lopez lacks. Avery Johnson will rely heavily on Reggie down the stretch in April.

Problem-child Andray Blatche & forgotten baller Josh Childress were signed recently to non-guaranteed contracts…but I have little doubt that they’ll make the team. This squad needs depth badly after spending an entire salary cap on their starters alone.

Lastly, can somebody please tell me what’s wrong with Marshon Brooks? The Nets obviously aren’t happy to have him because they threw the SG in just about every trade proposal this summer. The 25th pick in last year’s draft averaged 12.6 ppg as a rookie coming off the bench, a number that was much higher before he took his foot of the gas in March-April.  The sky’s the limit for this scorer out of Providence…I just hope Brooklyn appreciates what they got.

Strengths: This team has as good of a vibe as you can have around a team. They’re moving into the NYC area, into a brand new arena, and will wear fresh hip-hop gear on the court. This alone should give the team 5-10 wins…..I’m serious. It’s a long 82-game season, so the positive energy and fan excitement will carry them at home many nights and even translate on the road. On the court, this team has plenty of talent now. The key is to get the defense and rebounding up to snuff as soon as possible. If Avery Johnson can get this (and a solid rotation) handled by January, the playoffs will be a foregone conclusion in Brooklyn.

Weaknesses: There’s only one ball. Both D-will and J.J. love to play with the ball on offense. Between the two of them will the ball ever get thrown into Lopez in the post? Kris Humphries better keep crashing the boards, cuz that’s the only way he’s going to see the rock. Lucky for Gerald Wallace that he doesn’t need plays or the ball to come his way…the modern-day Cedric Ceballos is a perfect fit for this Brooklyn streetball squad. On defense, the Nets were last in blocked shots and defensive rebounds last season. Okay, so Brook Lopez played in only 5 games last season…but the rebounding has been his weaknesses ever since coming into the NBA. As far as blocked shots, sure Lopez can get you those when healthy, but he hadly intimidates in the lane like say a Howard or Bynum. Regardless, Brook must improve on the boards if the Nets are to ever become contenders.

Prediction: The Brooklyn Nets are making a hard play on the Knicks’ fan base and territory…..and I luv it. The same way that position battles make a team better, intra-city rivals make a league better. I anticipate a great rivalry for decades to come, on the court and on the streets of the NYC. Barclays Center finally opened its doors this past week, a moment Bruce Ratner has been eyeing for nine years. Mikhail Prokhorov now has all the weapons that James Dolan has at his disposal…..let the best Billionaire win.

The Nets will battle Boston for 3rd in the division all season (behind the 76ers & Knicks). They’ll also be battling for the final 3 spots in the East playoff picture. Brooklyn could even finish as low as 8th, but they’re definitely a playoff squad based on talent alone. I don’t care how much money they spent this past summer, just making the playoffs would be a big accomplishment considering their recent history. I think Deron & Joe will find a way to gel on offense. Avery has been somewhat forgotten in N.J. the past two years but he’s still one of the better coaches around. He’ll get this talent to play together…and may even turn Andray Blatche into a professional, too.

I am concerned long-term for the Nets. They signed Brook Lopez to a max deal this summer, a guy who hasn’t made an All-Star team. What incentive does he have to get better? BKN also re-signed Kris Humphries to a deal at $12 million/year after making just $8M last season. What did he do to earn a 50% increase in pay? He played the same and the team was just as bad. I fear that the Nets front office will regret agreeing to these two price tags for years to come.

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13 Responses to Season Preview: Brooklyn Nets

  1. Herrera on September 21, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    Williams had his best season as an NBA player with the Nets last season, averaging 21.0 points (ninth in the league) and 8.7 assists (fifth in the league).

  2. jirohkanzaki on September 22, 2012 at 11:17 am

    How can you blame Brook Lopez for blocks and rebounding last season? He played 5 games…
    BL did not rebound very well the season before getting injured but last season was not his fault obviously.

    • Martin Knezevic on September 22, 2012 at 1:35 pm

      Excellent point…My bad, I posted one of my earlier drafts instead of the updated version. Lopez definitely can’t be blamed for last season’s interior defense or rebounding due to injury. But, over the course of his career, he has been one of the worst rebounders at 7-feet in recent memory. Even Dirk thinks he should board more. Thanks for reading.
      I have a question for you…don’t you think max $ for Brook and $12M/yr for Kris aren’t going to hurt the team one day?
      -Knez

  3. Lo Ki on September 22, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    You do realize that Brook Lopez spent almost all of last season injured, right? Kind of hard to put “blocked shots and defensive rebounds” on his shoulders, especially because he’s averaged near 2 blocks a game over the course of his career, if I’m not mistaken.

  4. BKLYN We No Joke on September 22, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    “BKN also re-signed Kris Humphries to a deal at $12 million/year after making just $8M last season. What did he do to earn a 50% increase in pay? He played the same and the team was just as bad. I fear that the Nets front office will regret agreeing to these two price tags for years to come.”

    See this is where you are wrong. First off Humphries is a great player and will fit perfectly with this squad. Sure he is not worth $12M per but it’s only a 2 year deal…so either he keeps balling his off averaging a double double after which they resign him to a cheaper deal (because lets be honest they hooked him up so either take a cheaper deal or see ya) OR he becomes an awesome expiring deal…

    See the Nets had a chance to go way over the cap in signing Humphries. Being over the cap can be a GOOD place to be if your owner is willing to pay the tax that comes along with it. You can constantly stay over the cap and just continue to trade your huge valuable expiring deals for a younger big contract player who you would otherwise not be able to sign because you are at the cap. So at the 2013/2014 trade deadline the Nets can trade Hump for a $12M/per player on a team that is looking to shed salary.

    The Lakers are masters at being way over the cap yet somehow getting good players (see: Dwight Howard)

  5. Martin Knezevic on September 22, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Lo Ki, my bad on that. I posted an earlier draft and not my edited version. Brook can’t be ‘blamed’ for last season’s ranking in blocked shots or rebounding…but, going forward I have serious doubts about his rebounding. We all know how weak he’s been on the boards in his career (for a 7-footer). This is a major reason why Kris Humphries averages a double-couble…somebody has to grab those defensive caroms. And while Lopez does get blocked shots, he is not an intimidator inside. If you’re 7 foot and defensive don’t worry about you in the paint, something is wrong. Tell me, are you happy with the max extension Brook got? Seems like he has a long way to improve…
    -Knez

    • Matheus on December 16, 2012 at 4:42 am

      does it really mttear. (When the Brooklyn Dodgers moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, might give you a clue as to how a Team name evolves) Was this answer helpful?

  6. How come? on September 23, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    Why can’t we battle for first in the division? Every team has flaws. The Knicks are gonna have a sorry back court with Felton and JR Smith, and Amar’e is sinking into decline. The Sixers lost two defensive anchors and their top scorer and replaced it with a talented but petulant offensive player who is very prone to injury. The Sixers are banking on a lot of people taking a step forward and being better than they have been.

    • Martin Knezevic on September 23, 2012 at 10:06 pm

      Nice stuff, you make a lot of great points. I’m a BIG believer in the 76ers now that they’ve added Andrew Bynum…whose injury problems have proven to be in the past. Drew has grown into his body and is the best center in the East (sorry Roy). That team had reached their max last yr, as Iguodala was just another version of what they already had…length and athleticism on the wing. Now, they’re the same versatile group but with a true bigman. As for the Knicks, the Nets could easily finish ahead of them…but I’m confident Woodson knows better than to start JR Smith. I’m banking on Iman Shumpert being healthy and back in the lineup soon at the SG. He’s the key defensively and in the toughness department. I also like Camby backing up Chandler (2 shot blockers). Brooklyn definitely has as much talent as anyone in the Atlantic…I just think it’ll take time for William n Johnson to mesh and am seriously NOT sold on Brook Lopez. You can’t tell me he’s worth the MAX and Humphries is worth $12M per can you? Thanks for reading…
      -Knez

  7. Diederich on October 29, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    bkn, the softest front line in league history.

  8. John Worthington on November 29, 2012 at 7:43 am

    Nice blog, I found lots of information on your site. I’m going to add your blog to my favorite sites.

  9. Francielle on December 16, 2012 at 12:57 am

    Deron Williams, Brooks, Humpries, bfWallace? y Howard seria brutal pero no creo que Wallace se quede y hay que ver como se mvueen en el mercado porque tienen muchos paquetes como Petro que no se entiende que este en la NBA

  10. Carey Ordner on July 1, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    This is a excellent web site

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