We all know the Nets made moves this summer â€” both literally and figuratively. Even those who paid just minimal attention are aware of the Joe Johnson acquisition, the re-signings of Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Gerald Wallace, and the big move to Brooklyn. What those who paid just minimal attention may not have noticed, however, is what the Nets were able to do between July 11th and September 11th.
Here’s the quick rundown:
*Completed a sign-and-trade for Reggie Evans.
*Re-signed Keith Bogans for the minimum.
*Re-signed Kris Humphries for two years, $24 million.
*Signed Tornike Shengelia (don’t worry, I’m not sure who he is either).
*Signed Jerry Stackhouse for the minimum.
*Signed Mirza Teletovic (this may have happened prior to July 11th, but whatever).
*Signed C.J. Watson for the minimum.
*Signed Josh Childress for the minimum.
*I thought they signed Andray Blatche, but it appears that the transaction is still in the works.
So basically, in a span of just two months the Nets assembled an entire bench (and brought back Kris Humphries). That’s not to mention that the bench they assembled appears to be more than viable. As a matter of fact, considering the caliber of their starting lineup, it’s downright impressive.
I think one of the Nets’ biggest improvements could come at backup point guard. While last season’s reserve unit was led by a committee of D-Leaguers, this year’s group will be commandeered by a capable scorer in C.J. Watson. While Watson may not be the most consistent or efficient player in the league, he has proven capable of providing offense in bunches. While ’11-12 wasn’t his best season to date, Watson did post a 33-point game and displayed 39 percent accuracy from long range.
At shooting guard (forget about MarShon Brooks for just a moment)… well, I’m not about to act like Jerry Stackhouse and Keith Bogans will often be better than the player standing across from them, mostly because they’re a combined 69 years old… but I’m not about to act like DeShawn Stevenson did anything that Keith Bogans can’t do, either. Stevenson is my dude, but he contributed absolutely nothing (2.9 points, 28 percent from three) to the Nets’ final season in New Jersey. I’m quite confident that Bogans, provided he maintains some semblance of health, can do better than that. Stack… I dunno about Stack, but he’ll rarely see the floor anyway.
At small forward, the Nets lost Gerald Green, which struggles on a couple different levels. Green really blossomed under the guidance of Avery Johnson, and actually became one of the better players on the team. He provided efficient offense off the bench and ultimately became a League Pass sensation thanks to dunks like this one. Unfortunately, while I’m sure the Nets would much rather have kept Green than replace him with Josh Childress, they simply couldn’t afford to offer him the $3.5 million deal that Indiana was able to put on the table. That being said, considering the money they had to work with, I think the Nets did a pretty good job of filling the void. Childress has drifted way off the map since his journey to Europe, but he’s still just 29 years old. At 6-8, he should be able to contribute something in the defensive department.
As for the four spot… assuming they end up completing the reported (and non-guaranteed!) deal with Andray Blatche, the Nets will give themselves an opportunity to retain one of the most talented players off of any bench, period. While it remains to be seen whether Blatche will be able to round himself into form, this scenario is classic low-risk/high-reward. And, if Blatche doesn’t pan out, they’ve signed a 6-9 Bosnian fella’ by the name of Mirza Teletovic. Teletovic has been kinda beasty overseas, winning the Spanish League’s “Rising Star” Award in ’08 and posting Euroleague averages of 22 points and six rebounds just last season.
Finally, at the five, you have Reggie Evans coming in to replace Shelden Williams. Being that Reggie Evans is basically a way better version of Shelden Williams, this is an obvious upgrade.
Now, before you try and get at me like these moves aren’t that impressive, consider this: all six players I just talked about will combine to make less than $7 million this season. If Blatche signs, it’ll be seven players for $8 million. Throw in MarShon Brooks at a million bucks and you have an eight-man bench rotation that looks like this:
C.J. Watson/MarShon Brooks
Brooks/Keith Bogans/Life Insurance Jerry Stackhouse
Andray Blatche/Mirza Teletovic
…for $9 million. And now, folks, I pose the following question: what in the hell does $9 million buy you in professional basketball players these days? Think about that, and realize the answer is next to nothing, especially when you’re spreading a relative dearth of wealth between eight different paychecks.
To help put it all in perspective, take Detroit’s current situation. Depending on whether or not Corey Maggette starts, the Pistons may have two bench players making better than $8 million a piece. That’s Corey Maggette and Charlie Villanueva EACH being paid as much as this entire Nets bench. Yeah.
In summation, I think Billy King did an excellent job constructing his reserve corps on a very limited budget. Being that the Nets also have excellent starters, they’re beginning to look like a fantastic team.
What was the most impressive move from Brooklyn this summer?
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