The Brooklyn Nets were able to earn a spot in the playoffs last season, but where do they stand now after their offseason moves?
Main Losses: Kevin Garnett (midseason), Mason Plumlee, Mirza Teletovic, Deron Williams
Main Additions: Thaddeus Young (midseason), Shane Larkin, Andrea Bargnani
Projected Starting Lineup:
PG: Jarrett Jack
SG: Wayne Ellington
SF: Joe Johnson
PF: Thaddeus Young
C: Brook Lopez
It should come as no surprise that Jack, Johnson, and Lopez are starters. Jack replaces the departed Deron Williams in the starting lineup, which makes the most sense out of the Nets’ few options. Larkin is another option as he has shown some potential in the preseason. Based on experience, Jack is most qualified for the starting role, but should Jack be unavailable, Larkin would be the best candidate to fill in. Both Bogdanovic and Wayne Ellington are options to start at SG, but Ellington may have the edge since Bogdanovic shot poorly over four preseason games – 33.3% from the field and 23.5% from three-point range.
This season marks the first season of the post-Deron Williams era. Although Williams was clearly no longer in his prime while in Brooklyn, he still averaged 7.6 assists in the 2014-2015 season. With Jack running the show in Brooklyn, it just won’t be the same. Johnson, Young, and Lopez are intriguing players, but the Nets are clearly lacking in the PG role. By starting Jack, the Nets’ offense will consist mostly of pull-up jumpers, which will not help them at all in the Eastern Conference.
The Nets’ offseason moves also featured the departures of Plumlee, Teletovic and the additions of Larkin, and Bargnani. Plumlee showed a promising two seasons in Brooklyn, averaging 8.1 PPG and 5.4 RPG while shooting at 60.6%, but Plumlee struggled to play well with Lopez on the floor. Teletovic added to the Nets’ offense through his spot-up three-point shooting. Larkin and Bargnani are looking for bounce-back seasons after showing a lack of production in their brief stints on the New York Knicks.
Last season’s midseason Kevin Garnett trade that brought Young to the Nets was probably one of the best things that happened to the Nets. If the trade never happened, the Nets probably would not have finished the season 13-6 and made the playoffs. It was only logical for the Nets to bring Young back since their roster struggled to win 38 games last season and Young was one of the few guys who actually helped the Nets to the little success they had. Young is one of those quiet but good players and he’s expected to do well this season.
Overall, the season doesn’t look that bright for the Nets, as they have been rebuilding for the past decade since the Jason Kidd era. But exactly how bad is it here? The Nets have some decent wing players, but it is very unlikely that they will find a way to squeeze into the playoffs again this season. As Joe Johnson said after Deron Williams’ departure, “it’s not that bad here,” but the Nets are once again not expected to have much success.