2016/17 Record: 20-62
|G D’Angelo Russel||C Brook Lopez|
|C Timofey Mozgov||2017 first-round pick, 27 overall|
Trail Blazers Receive
|G Allen Crabbe||PF Andrew Nicholson|
|F DeMarre Carroll||C Justin Hamilton|
|2018 first-round pick (lottery protected)|
|2018 second-round pick|
I love what the Nets have done this off-season to acquire young assets and picks in exchange for questionable contracts. The main story has to be the Lopez/Russel swap with the Lakers. In exchange for Lopez’s expiring contract and the 27th pick, the Nets landed one of the most promising young PG’s in the league in Russel. Already a solid scorer from multiple spots on the court, Russel has high potential as a playmaker and leader for the team moving forward. Can he develop into a true superstar?
It is impossible to ignore the Mozgov deal the Nets are taking on. The contract is like a 30-something living in your basement that you can’t wait to kick out. Someone has to care for the Lakers’ mistake and the Nets are the perfect team to shelter Mozgov’s horrendous deal while they figure out how to contend again in the East and grow their young talent.
The Allen Crabbe trade fits the same theme – take on salary for young talent. Shipping out Nicholson’s contract for Crabbe’s inflated deal was a smart use of available cap space. Crabbe was a target for the Nets last summer in free agency and they finally got their man after he failed to play major minutes in Portland. Crabbe shot extremely well from 3-point land last year at 44% on about 300 attempts. He joins Lin and Russel in a backcourt that all of a sudden presents a real outside threat in a high-volume three-point system.
Trading for DeMarre Carroll is – yet again- a way to absorb salary for assets. Trading away (arguably) the Nets worst player in Hamilton for Carroll would itself be considered a win if DeMarre ends up as a league-average starter. The extra picks the Nets got out of Toronto just goes to show how valuable it can be to take on contracts other teams want out of. If the Nets can make good use of the picks, this will be another great deal for them.
|C Jarrett Allen||Texas||#22 pick overall|
|F Aleksandar Vezenkov||FC Barcelona Lassa||#57 pick overall|
At 19, Jarret Allen is a young, raw, athletic big man with strong potential. He possesses size and length similar to JaVale McGee and will look to have an impact with his energy and quickness. If the Nets can add strength and polish to his game, he will make them look really smart/lucky to have snagged him at 22. It is unlikely for him to play major minutes this year, but anything is possible with a team that is not likely to stay competitive all season. The loss of Brook Lopez and the likely intermediate nature of Mozgov’s presence will eventually leave plenty of room for Allen to fit in.
As a late, international draft choice, Vezenkov is another unlikely contributor this year. He has a valuable skill set in quick-release high percentage three-point shooting but has ways to go physically and defensively. There are plenty examples of successful players with a similar game in the NBA, especially from a rotational player position. This could be another solid payoff for the Nets at a low cost of pick 57. As with most rookies, only time will tell with Vezenkov’s development and transition. Expect the Nets to stash him overseas this year.
No new signings
Unsigned from 2016-2017 Roster
- G Randy Foye
- F Luis Scola
- G Marcus Thornton
G Archie Goodwin
G KJ McDaniels to Raptors
Compared to the trade block, the Nets have been passive in Free Agency. The most interesting tidbit could be the potential signing of Russel’s fellow Ohio State alumnus – Jared Sullinger.
The most winning scenario for the Nets would look something like this:
- Jarrett Allen bulks up and polishes his game in G-League minutes before bringing high-effort and rim protection in limited NBA minutes in the second half of the season
- D’Angelo Russel gels with Lin and Crabbe to form a consistent outside threat with playmaking abilities
- DeMarre Carroll full heals up and contributes as a versatile veteran presence
- Mozgov is a positive defensive force and stays healthy while rebounding effectively
- The Nets make the playoffs and win a game against a top 3 eastern conference team to gain playoff experience
Important questions heading into the season:
- Is D’Angelo Russel a budding superstar or just an above average scorer?
- Can Allen Crabbe continue his incredible three-point shooting over extended minutes?
- How healthy will DeMarre Carroll be this year? Can he contribute at both ends?
- Will Jarrett Allen be ready for NBA minutes before the season wraps up?