Ranking the Brooklyn Nets Amongst the NBA's Top 10 Deepest Teams
The Brooklyn Nets entered the season with one of the most improved benches after general manager Billy King signed some of the NBA's better bench players during the offseason, and their strong showing thus far has reconfirmed everyone's assumptions that they would rank as a top-10 team in terms of depth.
There are a few teams that have more depth than the Nets, many of which will be the teams that Brooklyn must get through in the competitive Eastern Conference.
With 82 games in an NBA season, strong benches are critical.
It's impossible to rely on starters to play in all 82 games—let alone be effective in all of them—so having role players ready to step up and take over a game is paramount.
Depth is a necessity in the NBA, and the Nets certainly have enough to rank within the top-10 this season.
10. Utah Jazz
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The Utah Jazz have great depth throughout their roster.
Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter are strong players off the bench in the frontcourt.
Favors has been the more impressive of the two, dropping 9.3 points and grabbing 7.5 boards in just over 22 minutes per game.
His defense has also been very impressive, as he's blocked 1.9 shots per game.
What makes the depth of the Jazz so great is that they possess several quality guards coming off the bench.
Jamaal Tinsley, Earl Watson, Randy Foye and Raja Bell are all capable of providing quality minutes in order to rest starters Mo Williams and Gordon Hayward.
Utah is 12-10 so far this season. They possess the fifth-best record in the Western Conference, and their depth will be the reason why they stay in the playoff picture.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves
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While Ricky Rubio is still recovering from the horrifying knee injury that ended his 2011-12 season, his presence on the Minnesota Timberwolves still contributes to their overall depth.
He and Kevin Love provide a strong young core that will likely propel the Timberwolves to the playoffs for the next several seasons.
Behind the two, Minnesota possesses strong play off the bench.
Luke Ridnour (the current starting point guard in place of Rubio), J.J. Barea, Alexey Shved, Chase Budinger and Derrick Williams have all played important roles for Minnesota this season.
Their bench has scored 34.7 points per game in 2012-13, good enough for 11th in the NBA.
Shved has been a pleasant surprise, scoring 10.6 points in nearly 25 minutes per game.
If Minnesota can keep getting production from guys like Shved and the aforementioned players, they'll be well on their way to a playoff berth in the competitive Western Conference.
8. Los Angeles Clippers
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The Los Angeles Clippers have two former Sixth Men of the Year on their bench in Lamar Odom (2010-11) and Jamal Crawford (2009-10). That alone makes them a very deep team.
Throw in the veteran presence of Grant Hill, Ronny Turiaf and Matt Barnes, and you've got an even deeper team.
Consider the fact that Eric Bledsoe is having a breakout campaign (9.8 points and 2.8 assists per game) backing up Chris Paul, and the team is deeper still.
Oh yeah, and Chauncey Billups should be ready to play again pretty soon.
Blake Griffin's Clippers are on their way to establishing themselves as one of the top teams in the Western Conference—if they haven't done so already—and much of that lies on the shoulders of their fantastic depth.
With the early struggles of the Los Angeles Lakers, the Clippers may have finally grabbed the L.A. spotlight from their attention-grabbing neighbors.
7. Brooklyn Nets
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With Jerry Stackhouse's emergence off the bench, the Brooklyn Nets now have legitimate depth at every position.
On the season, Stackhouse is shooting a ridiculous 43 percent from deep. He's also scoring 7.2 points in just under 18 minutes per game.
Reggie Evans has been a strong rebounder off the bench for the Nets. He has grabbed 8.1 rebounds per game, more than starting center Brook Lopez and the same as Kris Humphries, the guy who starts ahead of him at power forward.
One of the biggest surprises for the Nets this season has been Andray Blatche.
After being amnestied by the Washington Wizards, general manager Billy King picked him up for very cheap in hopes that he could at least play like a shell of the player that once averaged 16.8 points per game.
He has done nothing but impress.
In about 20 minutes per contest, he is scoring 11.2 points while shooting 48 percent from the floor. He's even grabbed 6.6 rebounds per game.
The Nets are in good position in the East if their bench continues to play well.
6. New York Knicks
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The New York Knicks are ninth in the league in bench scoring with 36.5 points per game, and that plays a huge reason into why they are ranked amongst the deepest teams in the NBA.
J.R. Smith is having a fantastic season coming off the bench. He's playing starter's minutes (32.7 per game) and dropping 13.6 points per game while also grabbing a career-high 4.8 rebounds per game.
Steve Novak is having another strong season off the bench, shooting 43 percent from deep and playing a big role in late-game situations.
Despite having three of the NBA's five oldest players—Jason Kidd, Kurt Thomas and Marcus Camby—and being the oldest team in NBA history, the Knicks have the best record in the East at 15-5.
This has been done without star Amar'e Stoudemire, who has been out with a knee injury. He's already stated that he'd be willing to come off the bench, and that would make the Knicks' incredible depth even better.
Look for the Knicks to make a run in the postseason with their well-built roster.
5. Boston Celtics
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The Boston Celtics are without Avery Bradley, one of their best bench pieces from last season, and their team still ranks in the top-five when it comes to depth.
Courtney Lee, while he hasn't played particularly well early on, is a guy that head coach Doc Rivers is relying on to be a big part of the team's attack off the bench.
Rookie Jared Sullinger has provided strong rebounding off the bench (5.0 per contest), and Leandro Barbosa has provided solid shooting backing up superstar point guard Rajon Rondo.
Jeff Green has been the best bench weapon for Rivers so far, and he's being given plenty of opportunities on offense.
In 22.1 minutes per game, Green is scoring 9.8 points, while shooting 45 percent from the floor and 38 percent from deep.
Green started nearly every game he played as a member of the Seattle SuperSonics/Oklahoma City Thunder, and he has adjusted well to a reserve role in Boston.
When Bradley returns from injury, the Celtics even stand to climb up a spot or two on this list.
4. Miami Heat
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The defending NBA champions got even deeper this offseason when they signed guard Ray Allen, and he's playing huge dividends early on in 2012-13.
Allen is shooting an outrageous 49 percent from three, 51 percent from the floor and has scored 12.8 points per game in the first season coming off the bench in his career.
Shane Battier, Mario Chalmers and Mike Miller are also still valuable pieces of the team. Miami would not have won the NBA Finals without their play, and they figure to have prevalent roles with the club for the remainder of the season.
Veteran Udonis Haslem has seen the fewest minutes of his career this season, but he is still a quality guy to have on the bench.
3. Denver Nuggets
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While the Denver Nuggets have started poorly with a 10-11 record, an argument can be made that they have the deepest roster in the entire NBA.
They are two-deep at each position, making head coach George Karl's job very easy when it comes to matching up against opposing teams.
JaVale McGee, primarily a starter in his final two seasons with the Washington Wizards, has embraced his role off the bench in Denver.
He currently leads the Denver bench with 11.3 points per game, while also playing solid defense and blocking 1.8 shots per game.
Andre Miller has also embraced a bench role in Denver, and he has been a superb backup to Ty Lawson.
He has dished out 5.4 assists per game and has shot a career high 86 percent from the free throw line.
When Wilson Chandler gets back to full strength, the Nuggets will be one of the most formidable teams in the league. Don't let their slow start instill any qualms in your mind.
2. San Antonio Spurs
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The San Antonio Spurs are once again one of the best teams in the NBA, and that has much to do with Gregg Popovich's great coaching.
His ability to fill out his starting five with the hot hand or guys that match up well against the opposing team is a huge reason why they are back again near the top of the Western Conference.
Tiago Splitter, Boris Diaw, Gary Neal and Stephen Jackson have all seen time as starters and reserves this season. All of them have embraced their roles and played well in whatever capacity they can.
This is what makes the Spurs great.
Oh, and they have arguably one of the top sixth men in the league in Manu Ginobili. He is having yet another fine season off the bench, scoring 11.6 points per game and dishing out 4.4 assists.
He'd like his shooting percentage to improve just a bit (he's currently hovering around 40 percent from the floor), but Popovich can't argue with his play.
Ginobili and the Spurs may have yet another title run in them this season.
1. Golden State Warriors
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The Golden State Warriors are 13-7 and have the third-best record in the Western Conference. Not many expected that out of this club.
It's their depth that's been the key to their surprising start.
Offseason acquisitions Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry, both former starters, have embraced their roles as reserves with Golden State.
Jack is providing the team with 9.9 points and 4.6 assists per game, while Landry has dropped 13.2 points and grabbed 7.0 rebounds per game.
This has all been done without Andrew Bogut, the player the Warriors acquired during the offseason to be their starting center. He has played in just four games this season.
In his absence, the would-be reserve Festus Ezeli has played very well. While not providing much in the way of offense, he leads the team in blocks with 1.0 per game.
The Warriors are a team on the rise, and their incredible depth will be the reason why they continue to surprise in 2012-13.