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A Closer Look: Brooklyn Nets

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The Nets dismal season last year was hardly memorable, minus the fact it was the team’s last in New Jersey. A fresh start in Brooklyn is exciting, but General Manager Billy King and his staff had to revamp the roster if they wanted to start their first season in Brooklyn with a bang. Owner Mikhail Prokhorov was willing to dish out the cash and King took full advantage of his owner’s pledge.

The Nets made the biggest splash early in the offseason by trading for six time all-star Joe Johnson. The move sent a clear message to the team’s free agent superstar Deron Williams, the Nets are trying to win now. With Gerald Wallace already back on board, Williams would soon follow, resigning with the team for a max contract.

While King steadily pieced together the new and improved roster, Dwight Howard kept calling for a trade to Brooklyn. The Nets would not allow the superstar center to dictate its offseason.  They resigned center Brook Lopez and then resigned his frontcourt mate Kris Humphries to a two year deal, all but ending the Howard to Brooklyn speculation. Howard’s trade to the Lakers slammed the door shut, at least for now.

The Nets starting lineup is arguably the most complete in the league, but King made sure to bolster the bench as well. MarShon Brooks, who had a stellar rookie season in a starting role, will be the first man off the bench. His offensive firepower will be key in leading the Nets second unit. Don’t be surprised to see Brooks in contention for Sixth Man of the Year.  The Nets also signed 26-year old power forward Mirza Teletovic. Although a rookie, Teletovic has been a mainstay in Europe and will contribute right away. Coach Avery Johnson described him as a stretch four who can play inside and score from the perimeter. King made sure to bring in veterans to blend with the youth off the bench. The team traded for Reggie Evans, signed Jerry Stackhouse, Keith Bogans and C.J. Watson.

Avery Johnson, who had tremendous success in Dallas and won a championship with the Spurs in his playing days, is the right man to lead this group. I think the Nets, who didn’t make the playoffs last year, will squeak by the Celtics and win the Atlantic Division. They could make a deep playoff run and I would not be surprised if they reach the Eastern Conference Finals.

Projected Starting Lineup: Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, Brook Lopez.

Key Bench: C.J. Watson, MarShon Brooks, Mirza Teletovic, Reggie Evans

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About Dan Lovi

Sports Journalist. Hofstra University Grad.

2 responses »

  1. Very good arguments, however I can’t see the Nets Improving much next season. I do agree that they improved significantly, trading for Joe Johnson and getting Deron back, as well as a healthy Lopez and Humphries. Gerald Wallace is a great all around player in this league as well, however works best with the ball in his hands. On this team, he will be no higher than a 4th option. Brooks is nice, but I am worried about the usual “Sophomore Slump” many NBA players face. Aside from him, Brooklyn’s bench is old and depleted. My final question; how good of a coach is Avery Johnson? Sure, he’s had some great teams, like the teams in Dallas that were favored to win it all two times under his tenure, but can he be the difference in the league?

    I see the Nets as a 40 win team the first year as the Brooklyn Nets. Nothing amazing, but enough, however, to make it as a top 8 seed, perhaps good enough for a 6 spot.

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  2. I think Wallace works better without the ball in his hands. He is a great slasher, great cutter and he crashes the offensive glass. Deron Williams will find him around the rim for easy baskets.

    No one was happier than MarShon Brooks when the Joe Johnson trade went down. You’d think a player who just lost their starting job would be upset, but Brooks was happy to have JJ join him Brooklyn. Brooks will bring instant offense off the bench and could see significant time in the fourth quarter. He is that capable a scorer. I think he will contend for Sixth Man of the Year.

    Reply

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