With two games remaining in the season, questions are being asked about the New Jersey Nets' offseason. It will be their second straight trip to the lottery, and if the current standings stay the way they are, the Nets are projected to pick 10th.
All they did with the 10th pick last year was have future All-Star center Brook Lopez fall into their laps.
Everything seemed to go right for the Nets last draft. They were able to get the aforementioned Lopez, who will be a major part of the their future, Ryan Anderson, an all-around scrapper, and Chris Douglas-Roberts, who showed flashes of his strong yet unorthodox offensive style of play.
All three look to at least be contributors. Not many teams can claim three successful picks in the same draft.
This year the Nets will only have one pick and they need to make it work. They need rebounding and defensive presence. What they really need is Blake Griffin—he would fit in perfectly.
There is a problem, though. Griffin is undoubtedly going No. 1 overall, no matter which team drafts first. But hey, New Jersey may actually get really lucky and win the lottery just like the Chicago Bulls did last year. One can dream, right?
The more likely scenario will have the Nets trying desperately to move up, offering packages of young players, coupled with expiring contracts, and their pick.
This move could work with a team that does not need Griffin’s services because they are already loaded at the forward position.
If the Nets are able to get the prized power forward and couple him with Brook, they would be set in the frontcourt for years to come.
Combine them with Devin Harris, Douglas-Roberts, and Vince Carter, and we may be looking at a dangerous team.
Looking past the draft, Nets beat writer Al Iannazzone pointed out that team owner Bruce Ratner and his investors lost $27.8 million for the fiscal year ending Jan. 31. That figure includes the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn.
Knowing this, New Jersey is probably not going to look to add high-priced players, especially after missing out on that playoff money.
New Jersey’s financial losses give them only one shot at getting the rebounding/defensive presence they need, if not through the draft, and that is through a trade.
The Nets do have younger talent and expiring contracts to probably get someone to meet their needs, but will this be the way to go?
Would the Nets be better off continuing trying to develop Sean Williams, Josh Boone, Yi Jianlian, or Anderson? I’m not so sure. Each of these players have shown flashes, but each have also been inconsistent.
Do these players just need more time? I don’t know the answer. But if any of these players are used in a trade, it will be a clear sign that the organization has given up on them and an admittance that they made a mistake.
It is all up to the brain trust of Rod Thorn and Kiki Vandeweghe. They have a lot to do and only a little to do it with. They succeeded last offseason, but can they do it again?
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