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NBA 2015-16 Team Previews: Brooklyn Nets – Russian Roulette With 6 Bullets

By Tamberlyn Richardson
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Brooklyn Nets

Our NBA 2015-16 Team Previews continue with the Atlantic Division. Next up it’s time to break down the Brooklyn Nets:

Record:  38-44, 8th in the Eastern Conference, 3rd in Atlantic Division, Failed to make playoffs

Rank: Offense: 101.9 (18)  Defense: 105.0 (24) Differential/Net: minus -3.1 (22) Pace: 95.0 (24)

2014-15

Key Stats:

  • Brook Lopez scored 17.2 points on 51.3% field goal percentage and grabbed 7.4 rebounds last year, improving each month of the season
  • Jarrett Jack posted the worst differential of all playoff players and he’ll replace Deron Williams
  • Joe Johnson is set to collect just under $25 million dollars this season. Considering he scored the least points in his last 12 seasons (14.4 ppg) it’s a rather hefty price to be paying.
  • Boston owns Brooklyn’s draft pick this season and it’s unprotected!  They also get the choice to swap their pick with the Nets in 2017 and own their unprotected 2018 pick.

Off Season Moves

Key Areas Needing Addressing:

  • Add talent
  • Find scoring
  • Have GM  Billy King read “How To Win Friends and Influence People” so he learns how to get something out of nothing given the GM gave up the franchise’s future for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce
  • As per above erase Danny Ainge’s number from all phones

Draft:

  • Juan Vaulet  selected with the 39th pick of second round by Charlotte for 2 future second round picks
  • Rondae Hollis-Jefferson selected by Portland with 23rd pick of first round and traded to Nets for Mason Plumlee

Player Additions/Players Re-Signed:

Players Exiting:

2015-16

Core Players: Jarrett Jack, Wayne Ellington, Joe Johnson Thaddeus Young, Brook Lopez

Key Reserves:  Shane Larkin, Bojan Bogdanovic, Thomas Robinson

Outlook

Rising Star:  Thaddeus Young at 27 seems a bit old to be pinpointing in this area but rookie Chris McCullough who’ll be out injured or Rondae Hollis Jefferson who still needs to develop an offensive game.

 On The Bubble:    Remember the kid’s game pin the tail on the donkey? Well let’s play the Brooklyn Nets version:

  • Take the Nets press day picture including coaches and management.
  • Cut out Thaddeus Young, Brooke Lopez, Shane Larkin and the Nets rookies
  • Blind fold your friend, spin them around and whoever they stick with the pin fire or trade!

X-Factor:  Shane Larkin was one of the few bright spots in New York last season. His numbers weren’t massive, but he brought energy to the court and competed defensively for the Knicks which speaks to his motor and professionalism. He offers a little bit of everything across the stat sheet and is just in his third season. Given that focus perhaps a development coach can work with him to develop other aspects of his game and turn him into a solid bench contributor.

Best Case:  The best the Nets can hope for is someone pulls a Billy King desperate for veteran scorer and take Joe Johnson off the Nets hands sending back some youthful talent and picks.

Worst Case:

  • Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young get injured
  • The Nets finish 30th and then have to watch the Celtics use the pick they traded to them end up getting the top pick
  • Kevin Garnett leads the Minnesota Timberwolves to the playoffs
  • Paul Pierce helps the Clippers get deep in the playoffs
  • The man they reportedly paid $27.3 million in a buyout (Deron Williams) has his best season since he played for Utah

Prediction:

The only thing worse than being a terrible team is knowing you have no leverage and worse no draft picks to improve your squad. Sure they’ll be plenty of cap space coming down the pipe (for all teams), but the Nets have dug themselves a very deep hole. If you look at the team as a whole and consider their center piece is Lopez and Hollins’ their coach it’s easy to feel like you’ve fallen into a time warp.  The Nets are a retro team without versatility, without three point shooting, without prowess on either end of the floor have no talent to leverage, no picks to rebuild and are the prime reason teams will no longer offer long term albatross salaries to multiple players again.

The league has literally changed the way it plays and left the Nets behind. Sure there will be super stars like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, James Harden and Steph Curry who’ll garner 5 year deals that set new standards, but those long term offerings won’t go to players outside that circle. Deron Williams and Joe Johnson were both All-Stars but not a franchise player so thankfully the precedent the Nets could have set dissipated with the lack of results and got buried after King followed it up with the Boston trade fiasco.

Now players who are at All-Star caliber may get 4 year deals, but teams will be sure to include opt-outs, to ensure they never fall prey to the same fate of the Nets. Russian billionaire gambled that money could buy him a championship and learned the hard way elements like fate, chemistry and other intangibles play just as big of a role in winning.

It’s hard to feel sorry for the Russian, though Nets fans (New Jersey and Brooklyn) who spend their hard earned money to buy tickets  didn’t deserve this fate. To them I say pray for a team who recognizes before the trade deadline all they need is an experienced small forward to win and maybe, just maybe the Nets can start over.

Games versus the Houston Rockets

  • November 11th at Toyota Center in Houston
  • December 8th at Barclays Center in Brooklyn NY

Fansided Affiliate Site:  Nothin But Nets

Make sure you catch up on our entire Team Preview Series, our Houston Rockets Player Profile Series as well as our SCS Round Table Sessions to help you get through the early season. Start your morning with SCS Rocket Science Daily and visit us throughout the day to keep abreast of all your Houston Rockets news and updates.

Next: Rockets Preview

Next: Knicks Preview

Next: SCS Complete Round Table Sessions

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