5 Players That Could Help the Brooklyn Nets Recover from Last Season
While we could reminisce on the shaky days in which trade uncertainty and injury to key players were the most significant stories of the season, I'd rather take the route of Mike Tyson: put the future under bright lights and hope for the best. After all, what else is there to do when the only way to go is up?
To turn things around, the Nets will need to be active this offseason. Their draft position is incredibly weak and the story of the summer might be losing out on Deron Williams, who himself is a free agent.
So who will come and who will help? While that can't be predicted, the players who could achieve the latter can be.
Here's a list of five who could effect the Nets' franchise in a major way.
5. Eric Gordon, RFA
I'm not quite as high on Eric Gordon as others around the league, but I do see his value. His name alone generates attention and the hype itself could benefit the Nets, bringing in a new brand of fans and marketability. Whether you like it or not, that does count for something.
As for the on-court benefit, Gordon could help develop a lethal 1-2 punch at shooting guard with he and MarShon Brooks. Both are elite scoring prospects with unbelievable versatility, with Brooks at an age in which playing the role of sixth man may actually help breed greater production.
While Gordon's history of injuries is concerning, especially when you consider those of Nets center Brook Lopez, his upside is undeniable. Bringing in the former World Basketball Championship star is something that could bring an energy to the Nets that they've previously lacked.
An energy that should translate to victories.
4. Roy Hibbert, RFA
In this day and age, the greatest weapon of any NBA team is that of an interior defender. With premier players such as Derrick Rose and LeBron James relying heavily upon their ability to attack the basket , the presence of a shot-alterer becomes that much clearer.
Roy Hibbert just so happens to be one of the best around.
Hibbert is an elite shot-blocker, but makes his name as far more than just that. Hibbert is an intelligent defender who knows how to use his body in attempts to change the path of a slasher. He's also as tall as any player in the NBA at 7'2", making his mere presence alone a game-changer.
Although Hibbert may not be a star, per say, he is one of the most well-rounded 5's in the game. Place him in the middle and the overall quality of your team defense will instantly improve.
So much so that it could lead to a drastic enough improvement that the Nets could find themselves in the postseason as a result of his potential acquisition.
3. Steve Nash, UFA
If Deron Williams walks, the Brooklyn faithful will be looking for a young point guard to replace the trade failure. As appealing as that may seem, there is nothing more important for the Nets than to bring in a veteran point guard who can bring their young players along.
MarShon Brooks, meet your new best friend: Steve Nash.
What Nash did in Phoenix this season is truly understated, as he took a team filled with underachievers and young talent within a road loss to Utah of making the NBA playoffs. In the process, Nash posted averages of 12.5 points, 10.7 assists and 3.0 rebounds on 53.2 percent shooting from the field.
Should Nash repeat the feat and lead the Nets to the postseason in 2012, which would be a likely outcome should he sign with Jay-Z's team, a third MVP award may not be out of the question.
2. Kevin Garnett, UFA
Over Kevin Garnett's illustrious 14-year career, the Big Ticket has put together a resume that includes: NBA Champion, NBA MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, 14-time All-Star, nine-time All-Defensive First-Team and four-time league rebounding champion.
He also happened to be the most consistent performer the entire 2012 NBA postseason. So you tell me, who's to say he's lost enough steps that he can't alter a franchise?
Should KG opt to remain an NBA player, the Nets cannot afford to miss out on the possibility of signing him. What's been constant throughout Garnett's career is that his desire to win is infectious. He's as a great of a vocal leader as the league has ever seen and his on-court contributions back up the words in every way. From taking the Nets defense to another level all the way down to adding a consistent mid-range shooting big man, KG can do it all.
He can even turn the Nets around
1. Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
Say what you will about Dwight Howard the businessman, the guy can flat out dominate the game of basketball on both ends of the floor. To put it plain, he scores better than Brook Lopez, rebounds better than Kris Humphries and blocks shots like no one the Nets have seen since Dikembe Mutombo in 2003.
If Howard can take the Orlando Magic to the playoffs, make Ryan Anderson look like anything but the scrub he is and work with a roster in which Jason Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu are his next best options, imagine what he'd do in Brooklyn where there's actually money available to build.
Call them rumors, speculation or nonsense, just don't ignore the Dwight Howard trade talks. They're the best hope the Nets have at winning more than 35 games.