Playing 'Boom or Bust' with Each Brooklyn Nets Bench Player
The Brooklyn Nets underwent a complete roster makeover this offseason, bringing in eight new guys to compete for spots on the bench. While some will rise to the challenge of playing important minutes, others will falter and be relegated to garbage-time roles.
Aside from an overall lack of talent, depth was a real killer for the Nets last season. In response, general manager Billy King made it a point to go out and get high-quality bench players to improve the team.
Some guys are near guarantees to perform at a high level off of the bench, while others are question marks heading into the new season.
Even though some guys will "boom" and some guys will "bust," I think it's safe to say that the Nets will be a much deeper team in 2013.
C.J. Watson was arguably one of Billy King's best acquisitions this offseason.
While Jordan Farmar was not a horrible backup to Deron Williams, there's no questioning the fact that Watson is a better option.
His ability to run an offense and score when opportunities present themselves make him a valuable guy coming off of Avery Johnson's bench.
He'll have a very good season in 2013.
After being drafted in the second round of this year's draft, Tyshawn Taylor figures to play a relatively small role for the Nets this season.
He is overshadowed at point guard by both Williams and Watson, and also at shooting guard by Joe Johnson and MarShon Brooks.
I fully expect Taylor to take advantage of the minimal number of opportunities given to him.
With the Kansas Jayhawks last season, Taylor was a key contributor to a team that lost in the NCAA Championship game to the Kentucky Wildcats.
He has the potential to be a solid scoring option and decent defender in the NBA—he just needs opportunities.
Even though he'll play a small role, I expect good things.
MarShon Brooks played very well in 29.4 minutes per game as a rookie last season, but he may find playing time a little harder to come by in 2013.
The acquisition of Joe Johnson gives the Nets a solid starter in place, meaning that Brooks may see a serious decrease in minutes.
Johnson's minutes should hover around the 35 to 38 mark, so Brooks will likely see 13 minutes per game at the max.
He is a great scorer when it's all going right. That being said, he was streaky at times last season. He's still young, so there's plenty of time for him to improve.
The lack of minutes and the thought of the dreaded "sophomore slump" will keep that from happening, however.
Look for him to digress in 2013.
As far as depth goes, it must be a comfortable feeling for Avery Johnson to know that Keith Bogans is one of the last guys off the bench.
That's not because Bogans is an incapable sub. Quite the contrary, actually. Bogans being one of the lesser options speaks to the team's overall bench depth.
Bogans is a defensive specialist, and he probably won't see many minutes in situations where the Nets need a quick basket or two.
With the game on the line in the final seconds, Johnson may put Bogans in the game to guard the opposing team's best scorer to maintain a lead.
In that sense, Bogans will be invaluable to Brooklyn in 2013. Just don't expect much scoring.
A once highly-touted first-round pick, Josh Childress has become nothing more than bench depth at this point in his career.
He is no longer the promising prospect that he once was, as a few injuries and a trip overseas to play in Greece have derailed his career.
He played with the Phoenix Suns for the past two seasons, averaging about 15 minutes per game and 4.0 points per game during that time period.
The Nets have several options off the bench at small forward, so there's a chance that Childress sees around 15 minutes a game at the start of the season.
If he falters, which I think he will, his minutes will begin to decrease.
Childress is no longer the player he once was thought to be, and it may not be long before he wears out his welcome in Brooklyn.
Jerry Stackhouse is a 17-year NBA veteran hoping to provide a veteran presence to the Nets this season.
He likely won't see all that much playing time. The players ahead of him on the depth chart—Gerald Wallce, Josh Childress and Tornike Shengelia—all have more upside than him at this point in their respective careers.
Stackhouse will take on more of a mentor role in 2013 and, in that aspect, he'll be a "boom."
For on-court production, though, I don't see Stackhouse panning out all too well in Brooklyn.
Tornike Shengelia should be a nice addition to Brooklyn's rotation.
At 6' 9", he possesses the size to match up well with other small forwards. He also has the makings of a strong offensive game. He has solid footwork, good post moves, a solid passing game and is strong at creating for himself off the dribble.
His jump shot needs some work, but reps during games will be the most effective practice for that.
The Nets took a chance on Shengelia as an international prospect, but his skill set suggests that he'll be a solid contributor in the NBA.
By the midseason mark, he will jump both Childress and Stackhouse on the depth chart.
Rebounding was an issue for the Nets big men last season. Brook Lopez pulled down just 3.6 rebounds in five games. During his last full season (2010-11), he grabbed just 6.0 per game.
Enter Reggie Evans.
Evans is a rebounding specialist who will provide the Nets with somebody capable of boxing out and grabbing a rebound over nearly anybody in the NBA.
He is a monster on the glass—evident by his 4.8 rebounds per game in just 13.8 minutes per game last season—and will become the best acquisition of the offseason by Billy King.
His skills will be well-utilized off the bench by Avery Johnson.
Prediction: Boom, Boom, Boom
Pure shooting was something the Nets lacked at times last season, and Bosnian Mirza Teletovic will make his best attempt at being the remedy for that problem in 2012-13.
He is a catch-and-shoot type of guy, and has already caught the attention of fellow sharp-shooter Joe Johnson (via Roderick Boone of Newsday).
Kris Humphries is the clear starter for the Nets, so Teletovic will likely be fighting Reggie Evans for minutes. Because each player specializes in different areas of the game, though, Avery Johnson should be able to give each player a fair amount of time.
It may be a few weeks before Teletovic adjusts to the NBA style of things, but his shot should translate to any type of game.
Even though Andray Blatche has been arguably the best performer this preseason for the Nets (via Tim Bontemps of the New York Post), something inside me is leaning toward calling him a bust for this season.
He has had success in the past, but he's not exactly your typical NBA center.
Blatche prefers his jump shot over any other aspect of his offensive game. That would be great if he hit it with any sort of consistency, but his field-goal percentage of 38 percent from last season is atrocious.
His 5.8 rebounds per game was also a poor number—hence the importance of Reggie Evans.
I wouldn't be surprised to see a drastic change in the rotation by midseason because of a lack of productivity from Blatche.
Such a change would consist of Evans seeing most of the minutes off the bench at center with Mirza Teletovic being the first power forward off the bench.