Man, this Nets fan has been through it all since July 1st.
Billy King and I have been at odds since his mid-season deal for Gerald Wallace. However Brooklyn’s GM did right by me yesterday by locking down Deron Williams in a 5 year $98 million contract. It’s a huge signing for a franchise going full steam ahead into a new building, city and budding fan base. My quick thoughts on missing out on Dwight? Whatever, having the best center in the league would’ve been great but I’ll get to why I wasn’t behind the move 100% later on.
There’s still work ahead for the front office to address team needs and cohesiveness while filling out the roster. So let’s take a look at what they have and how they can improve post “Dwightmare.”
Joe Johnson, His Contract, and Playing With Deron
I’m still not pleased with the decision to bring on Joe but my anger over it has pretty much subsided. I question his ability to be consistent and efficient in a sports city liable to flip out at every hiccup. At the same time he hasn’t played with a great point guard since his days in Phoenix. Deron and Joe should make for a formidable back court once they click. ISO-Joe is bound to show off in BK but perhaps we’ll see some more catch and shoot opportunities for Johnson. He’s still one of the best league-wide scorers in those situations so I’d like to see Avery exploit this positive as much as possible.
Dwight’s Not Here & I’m More Than Okay With That
Honestly, prepping up my defense for a player whose character isn’t worth it proved tiring. His back draws red flags and his petulant attitude would’ve found him in Avery Johnson’s doghouse pronto. Dwight’s also obviously better than Brook Lopez. Brook nonetheless knows his bounds, is respectful and will give you a big game on a whim. Rebounding, defending and mobility will always be issues for Big Disney but he gets it done on the low block and on pick and fades. He usually doesn’t take the prettiest road to 2 points but he’ll produce in his first full season with Deron.
Plus, if the Nets can keep Marshon Brooks and Gerald Green, they’ll have one of the deepest 2-3 rotations in the league. Fans slept on those two and, with the Nets being 22-44 last year, I don’t blame them. Marshon’s hot start and rookie wall makes him better prepared for the rigors of a season and being a sixth man is an ideal role for him. Keeping Green around will be difficult but his athleticism and much improved feel for the game should keep production up when Gerald takes a rest. You know what you’ll get with this combo and it sounds better than a couple of mercenaries filling in the gaps. The Nets should do whatever they can to keep them on the roster.
Do The Nets Go For Size Or Versatility At The 4?
I really wanted the Nets to trade for Josh Smith this off season in hopes Atlanta would finally let Horford play the 4: you know, his actual position. Apparently Ferry didn’t budge and gave us their second best player for expiring contracts. The Nets get demolished in the paint and on the boards last year and, going by Josh’s game, he could take care of those deficiencies alongside playing with a top point guard who could unlock his potential.
Reality usually dictates I can’t get my way and it won again. Billy signed Reggie Evans, a hard-nosed, annoying back up big, may re-sign “Bonk” Humphries to either a longer deal or as a sign and trade for Ersan Ilyasova and looks to spend the MLE on Turkey’s golden boy Mirza Teletovic: unknown to anyone outside of the Nets’ faithful until a few days ago. Anyone who doesn’t root for the Miami Heat will tell you YouTube highlight reels can be the biggest liar next to the devil. Case in point, this flick makes Mirza look like Prince from 3 point land with the athleticism of a rhino. I’m not sold on his ability to rebound and defend the pick and roll in the NBA which are essential for any big to be successful. Either way there’s a small glimpse of hope the Nets’ front office know something about the kid I don’t.
Nothing’s set in stone yet but I’d really like for them to reconsider their PF outlook while the iron’s hot. Maybe a S&T for J.J. Hickson or Jason Thompson could work in a NBA 2K kind of way but Brooklyn’s moving in the total opposite direction.
Can Avery Piece This All Together?
Team chemistry starts with Avery and his staff now. He’s built a good rapport with Deron which is surprising considering how past point guards under Johnson had their difficulties. However how will Joe Johnson react to his disciplinarian coaching style? The Little General has no problem punking grown men out as if he’s born to do it. Joe doesn’t strike me as someone receptive to this approach so am I wrong for anticipating more ambivalence from the guy? Please tell me I’m wrong Hawks fans.
If anything I’m looking forward to less plays designed for Humphries down the stretch if he stays. You’d think Johnson rendered Kris “The Tom Chambers of Newark” via all the unwarranted touches he got.
I’m Finally Anticipating A Winning Team…If Everything Goes To Plan
The post-Kidd era Nets yielded five years of miserable basketball. All I want for now is a team that’ll be healthy, competitive and get a playoff berth. Jerks will chime in with the usual, “Well you won’t beat Miami/you’re first to second round fodder at best” comments and the like. Well thanks for the great analysis guys. I hear ESPN is hiring.
The East, at least as I write this, is pretty weak so I like Brooklyn’s chances to shake things up. Three out of the five potential starters are among the best at their respective positions, Wallace can move back in that conversation and the team finally enjoys some depth for once. Mixing realistic expectations with a dash of optimism towards the Nets feels unusual but I can dig it. It’s about damn time anyway.