BROOKLYN NETS SEASON PREVIEW
Last Year’s Record: 22-44
Key Losses: Anthony Morrow, Gerald Green, DeShawn Stevenson
Key Additions: Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, C.J. Watson
1. What Significant Moves were made during the off-season?
Indefinitely, resigning Deron Williams was essential in the Nets transition from New Jersey to Brooklyn. Williams was the piece of the Jenga puzzle that kept the Nets from completely collapsing. Even in an injury-prone season, Williams put up 21.0 points and 8.7 assists per contest. Even more impressive than his numbers, Williams appears to be extremely focused and confident that this team will succeed. Despite his visit to Dallas, he still chose the Nets over any other contenders. That drive along with the other signings, and lets not forget about the move to Jay-Z’s palace, should provide the Nets with a potential playoff spot.
Adding an all-star to your roster is always a plus, no matter what he’s been through. The case remains the same when Billy King got a hold of Joe Johnson, which was potentially the bait that lured in Deron Williams. This is a double-edged sword as all Atlanta Hawks fans will tell you. Deron Williams is used to having the ball for the majority of the game, which is expected given he plays the point. However, Johnson will have to learn to play off the ball. Playing alongside an all-star point guard is just as much work, if not more, for Johnson as it was being the man in Atlanta. He needs to execute on screen-and-pops, and likewise needs to create space for himself. He may not make the all-star team this year but at least he’ll be able to work with Deron Williams and Brook Lopez, collectively they’ll be able to create havoc for opposition.
There’s a certain rumbling in Brooklyn about Mirza Teletovic and his European game. He was a scoring leader in the EuroLeague, and apparently it’s being said that his game would fit the NBA better than it would in Europe. His 6-9 versatile frame will do the Nets a world of good as a sixth-man type of player. The only downside about Teletovic is he’s just another player on the list that is new to the Nets team.
2. What are the Nets biggest strengths?
The Nets offense is stacked. Deron Williams has had to carry the scoring load since coming from Utah, and adding a healthy Brook Lopez will keep the pick-and-roll steady. MarShon Brooks contributed a great deal of scoring in his rookie season and there’s no reason to think he won’t continue to and get better in the process. Hopefully Joe Johnson will learn to play off the ball, but scoring is clearly his forte. The bench has also seen a drastic overhaul with C.J. Watson, Mirza Teletovic, and Andray Blatche on board now.
3. What are the Nets biggest weaknesses?
Defense. Coach Avery Johnson was known for his defense in Dallas, and he’ll need to dust off the dust from his notes for the Nets to have any success. The Nets were notorious for securing leads until the fourth quarter, then completely exploding due to their lack of defense. Unfortunately, Brook Lopez is a weak 7-foot defender. It’ll be a collaborative effort on the part of the coaching staff and the players to lock in. Their offense is already set, if they can play decent defense the Nets will land in the playoffs, like many project them to.
4. What are the goals for the Nets?
Creating chemistry has to be the Nets first goal. There are way too many pieces to their puzzle for them to neglect a team atmosphere and diverting to put up individual numbers. They have the foundation in place to create something special in Brooklyn. It won’t happen overnight, to the displeasure of all Brooklynites, but if everybody can put their ego’s aside the Nets are a playoff team. Making it to the post season should be the Nets ultimate goal, something that hasn’t happen since the 2006-07 season. A little hustle on defense and they should make it back.
5. Will the Nets bench finally prove to be relevant?
For the amount of money the Nets spent on roster fillers, Billy King and the rest of management better hope they produce. In recent years, the bench has been more or less for cheering purposes. Billy King did a phenomenal job convincing Deron Williams to stay by grabbing players that should contribute statistically. But as soon as that Nets jersey gets put on the theory seems to fade into a black hole. I’m not breaking news by saying the Nets aren’t a championship team but if they expect to play in the postseason all MarShon Brooks, C.J. Watson, Andray Blatche and Gerald Wallace specifically need to contribute, even if that means defensively. But in short, yes, the bench will be sufficient enough to reach the playoffs.
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