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NBA 2016-17 Team Preview – Brooklyn Nets: ‘Mark’ing an Identity

By Tamberlyn Richardson
Sep 26, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Jeremy Lin (7) during media day at HSS Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 26, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Jeremy Lin (7) during media day at HSS Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports
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Sep 26, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Jeremy Lin (7) during media day at HSS Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 26, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Jeremy Lin (7) during media day at HSS Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 26, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Jeremy Lin (7) during media day at HSS Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

NBA 2016-17 Team Preview –

To prepare our readers for the regular season SCS  offers a series entitled NBA 2016-17 Team Preview for each of the Houston Rockets’ 29 opponents. Who will return to the playoffs? Which team will fall from grace and who will be the Cinderella team?

Included in each profile:

  • Where the team finished 2015-16
  • Key 2015-16 stats
  • Future draft pick status
  • Current and future salary rank
  • Off Season Moves
  • 2017 Free Agents
  • Schedule, NBA League Pass and Win Projection Ranking
  • Team Overview entering season (Starting 5, reserves and notable injuries)
  • When each team will play the Houston Rockets
  • Strengths, Weaknesses and Prediction

NBA 2016-17 Team Preview now looks at the Atlantic Division Brooklyn Nets who most pundits have ranked as the worst team in the NBA.  But with the addition of Jeremy Lin, Trevor Booker and new head coach Kenny Atkinson could the Nets perform above expectations?  SCS breaks down the Nets in the NBA 2016-17 Team Preview:

NBA 2016-17 Team Preview: Brooklyn Nets:

2015-16 Record: 21-61

Playoffs:

Missed the playoffs,  finishing 14th in Eastern Conference

Coaching Change:

Lionel Hollins was fired with a record

Offensive Rank: 103.2 (27th)

Defensive Rank:  110.9 (29th)

Points Per Game: 98.6 (26th )

Opponent Points Per Game:  106.0 (24th)

Pace: 95.2 (19th)

Three Point Rank:  35.2% (13th)

Rebounds: 42.4  (23rd)

Assists: 22.3 (15th)

Steals: 7.6 ( 19th)

Blocks: 4.0 (25th)

Turnovers: 14.8 (19th)

Next: Future postioning - draft, free agents

Nov 4, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Bojan Bogdanovic (44) looks to pass against Charlotte Hornets center Cody Zeller (40) in the fourth quarter at Barclays Center. Hornets win 99-95. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

2017 Free Agents

 

Restricted: Bojan Bogdanovic

Unrestricted: 

  • Luis Scola
  • Greivis Vasquez
  • Randy Foye

All free agent updates confirmed via Basketball Reference and Sportrak

Future Draft Picks

See Real GM for full details:

Incoming:

  • 2017 second round draft pick from Boston If Boston exercises its right to swap its 2017 1st round pick for Brooklyn’s 2017 1st round pick, then Boston will convey its 2017 2nd round pick to Brooklyn protected for selections 31-45 (if this pick falls within its protected range and is therefore not conveyed, then Boston’s obligation to Brooklyn will be extinguished) [Boston-Brooklyn, 7/12/2013]; this potential pick conveyance is the same as the one described in “2017 first round draft pick from Brooklyn” on Boston Incoming
  • 2017 second round draft pick from Indiana Indiana’s 2nd round pick to Brooklyn protected for selections 45-60 in 2017, 45-60 in 2018, 45-60 in 2019, 45-60 in 2020, 45-60 in 2021 and 45-60 in 2022 and unprotected in 2023 [Brooklyn-Indiana, 7/7/2016]

Outgoing:

  • 2017 first round draft pick to Boston (swap, Boston incoming) Boston has the right to swap its 2017 1st round pick for Brooklyn’s 2017 1st round pick; if Boston exercises this swap right, then Boston will convey its 2017 2nd round pick to Brooklyn protected for selections 31-45 (if this pick falls within its protected range and is therefore not conveyed, then Boston’s obligation to Brooklyn will be extinguished) [Boston-Brooklyn, 7/12/2013]; this potential pick conveyance is the same as the one described in “2017 second round draft pick from Boston” on Brooklyn Incoming
  • 2017 second round draft pick to Atlanta Brooklyn’s 2017 2nd round pick to Atlanta [Atlanta-Brooklyn, 7/11/2012]
  • 2018 first round draft pick to Boston
  • 2018 second round draft pick to Philadelphia or Charlotte
  • 2019 second round draft pick to Memphis
  • 2020 second round draft pick to Philadelphia

Average Age of Team: 25.8 years (as per Real GM)

Next: Off Season Moves

Sep 26, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Isaiah Whitehead (15) poses for a portrait during media day at HSS Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

Coach(s):

Lionel Hollins (10-27), Tony Brown (11-34)

Draft Picks

Round 1: Caris LeVert (20)

Round 2: Isaiah Whitehead (42)

Nets traded forward Thaddeus Young to Indiana for the rights to guard Caris LeVert of Michigan, the 20th pick, and a future second-round draft pick.

2016 Free Agents

Unrestricted: Andrea Bargnani, Wayne Ellington, Sergey Karasev, Shane Larkin, Thomas Robinson, Donald Sloan

Restricted: Willie Reed, Markel Brown

Free Agency:

Incoming:

Exiting:

  • Sergey Karasev signed in Russia
  • Thaddeus Young (traded to Pacers)
  • Wayne Ellington to 2-years, $12M exits to Heat
  • Willie Reed to 2-year deal exits to Heat
  • Joe Johnson signs 2 year $22M deal with Jazz
  • Shane Larkin signed overseas
  • Donald Sloan signed overseas
  • Andrea Bargnani signed overseas
  • Thomas Robinson signs with Lakers
  • Markel Brown signs with Cavs after Nets rescinded his qualifying offer
  • Henry Sims to Jazz

 

Released: Jarrett Jack who signed with Hawks

Next: Schedule, League Pass, Win Projection Rankings

Nov 8, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Members of the Brooklyn Nets including Brooklyn Nets point guard Jeremy Lin (second from right) react during the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Vegas over-under for wins: 20.5

Schedule strength:

As ranked by ESPN: 1st  with 5.32 extra losses

The Nets are early in their rebuild and the schedule does them no favors. They are tied for the fewest games with two or three days of rest (13) and while they play just 14 back-to-backs, only four of those have the back end at the Barclays Center.

Games versus Rockets:

  • Monday December 12 at Toyota Center, in Houston, TX at 7PM CT/8PM ET
  • Sun January 15 at Barclays Center, in Brooklyn, NY at 5PM CT/6PM ET

Zach Lowe NBA League Pass Rank: 30th

Ironically, Linsanity II: The Gentrification might produce appealing hoops — even to those beyond Boston fans rooting against the Nets. Kenny Atkinson, the team’s new head coach, worked with Lin in New York before spending four years in Atlanta under Budenholzer. Plop Lin back into a Mike D’Antoni-style pick-and-roll attack, mix in some Hawksy side-to-side action, and you might brew up something fun.

Next: Team Overview

Nov 4, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker (15) in the fourth quarter against Brooklyn Nets guard Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (24) and forward Trevor Booker (35) at Barclays Center. Hornets win 99-95. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

Committed Salary

2016: $75,391,799 – 30th ranked

2017: $58,746,670 – 29th ranked

Team Salary Ranking as per Hoops Hype, and team salary overview also via Hoops Hype

Starting 5:

Point Guard:  Jeremy Lin – 11.7 points,  3 assists, 2.7 rebounds

Shooting Guard:   Bojan Bogdanovic – 11.2 points, 1.3 assists, 3.2 rebounds

Small Forward:  Rondae Hollis-Jefferson – 5.8 points, 1.5 assists, 5.3  rebounds

Power Forward:  Trevor Booker – 5.9 points, 1.1 assists, 3.6 rebounds

Center: Brook Lopez – 20.6 points,  2 assists, 7.8 rebounds

Reserves:

Guards: Randy Foye, Greivis Vasquez, Caris LeVert

Wings: Isaiah Whitehead, Joe Harris, Sean Kilpatrick

Bigs: Luis Scola, Anthony Bennett, Justin Hamilton, Chris McCullough

Injury News:

  • Caris LeVert – foot, out indefinitely
  • Jeremy Lin – hamstring, to be re-evaluated in 2 weeks (Nov. 2)
  • Greivis Vasquez – ankle, day to day (Oct 29)
  • Randy Foye – hamstring, day to day (Oct 25))

All injury news as per rotoworld

Next: Strengths, Weaknesses, Prediction

Nov 4, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Trevor Booker (35) reacts with Brooklyn Nets guard Sean Kilpatrick (6) after making a shot in the second quarter against Charlotte Hornets at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

Strengths:

Additions of Lin and Booker: Marks made savvy moves via his trade to land what could turn out to be a strong asset in LeVert. Furthermore his free agent signing of Lin added talent but also excitement by bringing him back to New York where the infancy of Linsanity began. Furthermore the addition of Trevor Booker adds a player who offers grit and professionalism. On a team who is re-build mode Booker is an excellent choice to help teach the youngsters what is required on and off the court.

Sean Marks/Kenny Atkinson: Though their efforts might not be felt immediately, make no mistake the GM and Head Coach offer stability and a smart decision by the franchise. Clearly the team will look to utilize ball movement and function as a part of the whole rather than trying to just showcase Lin and Lopez.  That’s the smart move by the Nets who might catch a few teams napping on them.

No expectations: Watch any team play (especially young teams) and you’ll find the pressure of closing games or measuring up to expectations plays havoc with their production. Teams need to learn how to overcome those pressures. Conversely the Nets enter the season with zero expectations. In fact, most pundits placed them dead last in their preseason rankings which might be a stretch. No they won’t be a playoff squad, but if they listen to Atkinson and continue to utilize ball movement and capitalize on several strong perimeter shooters they’ll more likely find themselves somewhere between the bottom and just outside the playoffs.

Weaknesses:

Depth: Obviously in a rebuilding phase the Nets have issues at depth and will require a few more seasons to ascertain those pieces. Still, Marks has done a more than reasonable job of quickly adding pieces to a squad who easily could have entered the season with just Brook Lopez and Rondae Hollis Jefferson.

As per John Schuhmann of NBA TV: Opponents of the Nets registered the highest (53.4%)  field goal percentage last season. This was the second highest opponent field goal percent in the last 19 years.

Brooklyn led the league in keeping opponents off the free throw line but failed miserably at stopping shooters. To wit, the Nets allowed teams the second highest paint scores and allowed the highest effective field goal percentage outside the paint in the NBA.

No true budding star: RHJ will grow into a solid defender, but expecting him to take over as the teams main star is unreasonable. Adding Jeremy Lin to the ever solid Brook Lopez was smart but the reality is this squad needs to find assets to build the core.  That will be Marks greatest challenge as he’ll need to do it without the assistance of a first round draft pick for 2 more seasons.

Maintaining optimism: Nobody likes to lose or do so repeatedly. It can take a toll on the team  even if they know the ends justifies the means. Just ask Philly fans if you don’t believe this fact. What Atkinson’s biggest challenge will be this season is maintaining the teams’ focus on competing with squads who feature deeper rosters and better records. Ultimately building an identity and good habits has to take precedence and keeping the roster focused on that goal.

More from Space City Scoop

Prediction:

I keep wondering if Sean Marks will bite the bullet and trade Brook Lopez who still offers valuable front court scoring and can take over games. His assets will be more desirable in the post season when teams tend to slow to half court play.  Odds are if Lopez does get traded it would come closer to the trade deadline. Still, I doubt Marks would do a trade unless he garners several pieces in return or can involve a third team to acquire draft picks who could result in lottery picks.

Truly the main goal for Brooklyn has to be to establish an identity and develop their assets. With Marks and Atkinson at the helm the Nets have already taken a step in the right direction.

FanSided Affiliate Site:  Nothin But Nets

Next: Toronto Raptors 2016-17 Team Preview

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