NBA Free Agency: Brooklyn Nets Preview
What Happened Last Season:
Still recovering from the ripple effects of their infamous 2013 trade with the Boston Celtics, the Brooklyn Nets expected nothing less than to be one of the worst teams in the NBA for the 2016-2017 season. Rightfully so, the Nets finished this season with a record of 20-62, one of the worst records in franchise history and the worst record of any team in the regular season. Finishing with one of the league’s lowest offensive and defensive efficiencies, the Nets’ list of needed improvements can go on and on. However, believe it or not, there were a few bright spots to the Nets seemingly uneventful season.
First, acquiring Jeremy Lin last summer proved to be a positive signing for the future. Despite being limited to only 36 games due to hamstring injuries, Jeremy Lin helped the Nets become a far superior team when he was on the floor. During the first games of the season when Lin was healthy, the Nets were a respectable 2-3. And finally, after missing the vast majority of games between the months of December and February, Lin returned after the All-Star break leading the Nets to a 11-14 record even while carrying a minutes restriction.
Another star player that emerged as an offensive threat is Brook Lopez. Coming into the season, everyone knew that he could score as he consistently averaged nearly 20 points per game in seven of his last eight seasons. Additionally, Lopez added the three point shot to his offensive arsenal and shot a respectable 35% behind the arc.
Finally, the development of young, promising players on the roster shows a slight glimmer of hope that perhaps the future is not all that bad. Among those rookies and sophomores that improved throughout the season are Caris Levert, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Isaiah Whitehead.
*The Nets completed a trade with the Los Angeles Lakers this past week, exchanging Brook Lopez and the 27th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft for Timothy Mozgov and D’Angelo Russell.
Upcoming Free Agents:
Unrestricted: Randy Foye
Restricted: K.J. McDaniels
Non-Guaranteed Contracts: Quincy Acy, Spencer Dinwiddie, Joe Harris, Sean Kilpatrick
Potential Cap Space: $35,978,392
During the offseason, the Nets should look to add a bit more experience into their roster. As of now, the team sheet is riddled with rookies, sophomores, and unproven players. Trading for Timofey Mozgov was a decent move on the Nets’ part as they now have added an experienced big man who has already won a championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers and can potentially mentor some of the younger players on the roster. The Nets should also look to pursue an experienced or proven power forward, a position that the Nets seemed to have been missing during the season.
The medical staff should also look to prioritize the health of Jeremy Lin. There is no doubt that the Nets are better when he is playing as he adds a bit of flare and playmaking ability to a relatively dull roster. However, his minutes restrictions and injuries last year proved to be costly for the team losing the majority of games when Lin wasn’t on the floor.
Otto Porter: Entering his fifth year in the league, Porter has emerged as an integral player for the Washington Wizards. Not only is an offensive threat shooting 43% from behind the arc, but he also is solid defensively, something that the Nets have been struggling with their players recently. Adding Porter to the roster would bode well with the Nets as a starting lineup of Lin, Russell, Porter, Hollis-Jefferson, and Mozgov would be an improvement from last year.
Nikola Mirotic: In his rookie season in Chicago, Mirotic played considerably well, averaging 10 points per game and nearly 5 rebounds in 20 minutes playing in the power forward position. However, since then, he has failed to improve as a player because of his inconsistency and unreliability as a player. So why should Mirotic be a target for the Nets? Well, as many analysts say, he needs a change of scenery. To progress his so-far stagnant career, it would be of Mirotic’s best interest to look for a move out of Chicago and the Nets, who are in desperate need of a power forward, can be a great fit for him.
Jonathan Simmons: Before the 2016-2017 season began, no one ever heard of Jonathan Simmons. Fast-forwarding to now, Simmons is a free agent target for many teams. There is no question that Simmons was a valuable member for the Spurs last year; not only has he proven to be an offensive threat as he averaged 10.5 points per game in just 20 minutes during the postseason, but he also has been a valuable defensive player. The Nets, a team who finished with one of the worst defensive records in the league, should definitely look into signing Simmons who seems to be a promising player for years to come.