5 Questions Left Unanswered After Brooklyn Nets Preseason
The Brooklyn Nets wrapped up their preseason last week with a 3-3 record, and there were several issues resolved that were otherwise in question entering the season.
That being said, there are still some questions that were left unanswered after the final buzzer sounded.
Brooklyn appears to be one of the most improved teams in the NBA this season—if not the most improved—but there are still a few position battles that need to be ironed out.
With the regular season set to begin this week, those issues will have to be resolved during the season. While that's not an ideal situation, the Nets should be happy that the issues they have aren't more pressing.
The questions may need answers right now, but each should be resolved after the first month of the season.
Who Is the Backup Small Forward?
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There's no shortage of depth at the small forward position for the Nets.
Gerald Wallace is the clear-cut starter, but Josh Childress, Jerry Stackhouse and Tornike Shengelia will be battling it out early on this season for reserve minutes.
Childress was probably the best performer this preseason, averaging 3.2 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. His lack of consistency over the course of his career is the only thing holding him back at this point.
Stackhouse is likely just roster-filler at this point in his career, but he'll see time in blowout situations.
The dark horse here is Shengelia.
He averaged 4.7 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game in the preseason. He's never been battle-tested in a regular season NBA game, though, so it may take some time before Avery Johnson trusts him in important situations.
It may turn into a revolving door situation for the entirety of the season.
Will Tornike Shengelia or Mirza Teletovic Have the Bigger Impact?
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The Nets brought in a duo of international stars this offseason, and both players figure to have an impact on the team at some point in the near future.
The only question is, which player will have the biggest impact?
Mirza Teletovic will primarily see time at power forward. Both Kris Humphries and Reggie Evans are ahead of him on the depth chart, so it may be some time before he sees significant minutes.
Evans if primarily a rebounder, though, so Teletovic could be used in situations where the Nets are looking for a three-pointer or an outside shot.
Shengelia, as I outlined in the previous slide, will be fighting all season long for minutes. He's got the talent to move his way up the depth chart, but his lack of NBA experience will really hold him back.
In the end, I see Teletovic making the bigger impact. We'll have to just wait and see, though.
Is There a New Rivalry in the Works?
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The New York Knicks aren't the only NBA team in New York anymore, and there's a very strong chance (a near guarantee, actually) that the Knicks and Nets rivalry will reach new heights this season.
The Knicks edged out the Nets 97-95 in their first meeting as crosstown rivals, but that game represents only the first chapter in what's sure to become one of the most exciting rivalries in the NBA.
It's tough to judge a new rivalry early on, especially when the only game between the two happened during the preseason.
Even still, it's clear that both teams fought hard in their first meeting to establish the early edge. The Nets fell short in the first meeting, but there's still plenty of time to take command in the rivalry.
It'll be interesting to see how much more the rivalry grows after the teams play each other on November 1.
Has Brook Lopez Fixed His Rebounding Problems?
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Brook Lopez has never had problems putting the ball in the basket. He has had problems with grabbing rebounds, though.
He's averaged a respectable 7.5 rebounds per game over the course of his career, but he's averaged just 6.0 and 3.6 over the past two seasons, respectively. It goes without saying that the Nets expect more production in the rebounding column from their starting center.
He rebounded well in the preseason, pulling down 7.4 per game. That's pretty much his career average, so that's obviously a good first step. The Nets would still love for Lopez to get that number closer to double digits. If he can do that during the regular season, he'll likely establish himself as one of the premier centers in the game.
Lopez looks good early on, but it's still too early to tell which rebounder we'll get this season.
What Kind of Playing Time Will Tyshawn Taylor Get?
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Rookie Tyshawn Taylor impressed in the preseason, scoring 8.0 points per game in limited action.
He's a very talented combo-guard with the skills necessary to play well at either position. The only problem is that he's buried on the depth chart at both positions.
At point guard, Deron Williams and C.J. Watson will see a majority of the minutes. At shooting guard, Joe Johnson and MarShon Brooks will be the main contributors.
With superstars and quality reserves entrenched at either position, minutes will be hard to come by for Taylor. There's no denying his talents, though, so Avery Johnson will likely utilize him to the best of his ability.
There's just no telling how much that'll be at this point.