Season Preview: New Jersey Nets

» October 2, 2009 11:13 AM | By xphoenix87

New Jersey Nets

Coach: Lawrence Frank
2007-08 Record: 34-48
Pythagorean Record for 07-08: 34-48
Offensive Rating: 108.3 (16th in the league)
Defensive Rating: 111.0(24th)
Possessions per 48: 89.9 (22nd)
Four Factors:

eFG%

TOV%

RB%

FT/FGA

Offensive 49.7 (17th) .127 (10th) .252 (22nd) .236 (14th)
Defensive 50.9 (21st) .130 (19th) .735 (15th) .272 (29th)

Roster (Red indicates new acquisition, Blue indicates rookie) Click to enlarge

I have to admit, I was wrong about Brook Lopez. I didn’t think he was mobile enough to be this good. His great rookie season got overlooked a bit, but you can make an argument that he actually had the best season of any rookie last year. He was an effective rebounder and shot blocker, scored efficiently around the rim, and even shot nearly 80% from the free throw line. The next step for him is taking on a bigger role, becoming a focal point offensively. If he can do that without taking a step back in his efficiency, he’s got a real chance to be one of the league’s top centers.

Did you know that no guard in the league drew fouls at a higher rate than Devin Harris last year? 20% of his field goal attempts resulted in a foul, which was 5th in the league. The next closest point guard? Louis Williams in Philadelphia, who was 23rd, and he played shooting guard half the year. It’s what makes Harris such an effective scorer, despite not being much of a shooter. He’s got outstanding quickness and end-to-end speed, and plus size for a point guard. All of that makes him almost impossible to stay in front of, and he’s a strong defender when he wants to be. The rest of the team may not be much, but Harris and Lopez make a strong core to build around.

I think it’s about time to close the book on the Yi Jianlian experiment. He’s had two years where he gotten plenty of minutes, plenty of chances, and he’s been absolutely abysmal. Normally, I’d give a lottery pick three seasons to prove himself, but then again, normally a lottery pick would give some indication that he was a worthwhile basketball player. I’d be shocked if Yi ever develops into a good rotation player, much less a starter.

I didn’t particularly like the Terrence Williams pick for the Nets. Actually, that’s kind of an understatement. In my draft analysis for New Jersey, I said “I hate, hate, hate this pick.” He’s one of those “jack of all trades, master of none” kind of players, and that rarely works out if you’re not really, really good. Williams is not really, really good. Also, when building around your star PG/C combination, getting a guy who can shoot the ball would seem like a good idea to me.

If Josh Boone could hit a free throw, he’d be a valuable asset. He’s one of the few players on the roster who can actually rebound, and he finishes well around the rim. He’s got a bit of a lazy streak, and he’s certainly limited in a lot of ways, but he’s one of the few young guys on this roster who can actually be a solid rotation player.

X-Factor: Chris Douglas-Roberts – I’m interested to see who gets the bulk of the playing time at shooting guard, CDR or Courtney Lee. I hope that it’s Douglas-Roberts, since he’s got a much higher ceiling than Lee. Lee is a role player, but CDR has the chance to be a special player. His game isn’t always pretty, but he’s just a natural scorer. Someone is going to have to replace Vince Carter’s scoring, and CDR can help fill that void. I don’t know if he’s going to become a star, but if I were the Nets, I’d certainly give him the chance.

Overview

You know, as bad as this team is (and this team is very bad), there’s a definite future here, and that’s more than a lot of bad teams can say. The front office has done a good job over the last few years of shedding bad contracts and picking up young prospects, and it’s going to start paying off starting next summer. If they decide not to pick up the contracts of Yi, Josh Boone and Sean Williams, they’ll have only $22.4 mil in salaries on their cap, which could allow them to sign multiple big free agents. Even if they can’t bring in LeBron (and they probably can’t), if they can pick up one big asset, then they’re in business. They can build around Harris, Lopez, maybe CDR, T. Williams or Lee, and whoever they draft next year. If they add one big acquisition to that core, there’s some serious potential. As for this year? Well, they have two good players (Harris and Lopez), a few young guys with potential (Lee, CDR, T. Williams), and a bunch of really awful veterans. They may be better than 14th, Harris and Lopez may be able to pull them up higher than that, but this team is going to be bad next year. It’s all about 2010 and beyond for this franchise, so they’ll take a bad season and a high pick in order to set themselves up for future success.

14th in the East – Summer 2010, Here We Come!

BallerBlogger contributing writer ‘xphoenix87′ is a college student who dreams of one day writing about sports for a living. Since that’s not gonna happen, he’ll do this instead.


One Response to “Season Preview: New Jersey Nets”

  1. Erick Says:

    The Nets have very good veteran backups so at least injuries shouldn’t wreck them, and the Nets have always been better with limited expectations. Still they look like a sub-25 win team this year.

    All that being said, they weren’t going to contend this year anyway. The massive amount of cap space Rod Thorn has generated is quietly one of the best GM jobs of the summer.

    Brook Lopez, Devin Harris, Max Player A, Excellent Player B, and maybe Courtney Lee at shooting guard looks like a really good team in 2010. Then throw in backups like Boone, Hayes, Dooling, and maybe one of their young players develops—2010 and beyond looks very promising for the Nets.

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