With the exception of Gerald Wallace, not one other player in the Brooklyn Nets' rotation last season could be recognized as a player whose game relies somewhat on athleticism. Even saying that Wallace's game relies on athleticism is stretching it due to the down year he had.
The Nets have no players who play above the rim, no players who can truly get out on a fast break with regularity and no high-fliers who can electrify the Barclays Center with an eye-popping throwdown or a cringeworthy rejection.
Last season, the Nets ranked next to dead last in the league in fast break points and only had one player, Brook Lopez, average more than a block per game. They, however, fared well in rebounding, ranking 10th in the league in spite of their lack of athleticism, thanks to the craftiness and battle-for-every-rebound mentality of the undersized Reggie Evans.
Watching Brooklyn play made me forget what an alley-oop even looked like. This team not only made me long for the days of Jason Kidd, Kenyon Martin and Kerry Kittles, but even had me feeling nostalgic of the too brief Nets' career of Gerald Green.
I would have been more than fine settling for Green last season. When those teams' energy lapses, and there seemed to be a lot of them, Green or a player like him could have solved the problem with one crowd electrifying dunk or swat.
Not heavily relying on athleticism can be a good thing, especially with an aging roster. For example, Joe Johnson and Deron Williams should be able to be effective for a longer period of time since they can shoot better, have great ball-handling skills and a higher basketball IQ than players whose games solely relies on athleticism. General Manager Billy King needs to find the proper mix that can incorporate both types of players.
Athletic defensive players are needed more than ever in the league today in order to try to contain the likes of Russell Westbrook, Derrick Rose, LeBron James or the ''almost seven footers'' with the skills to play small forward, like Kevin Durant or even Paul George.
Here are a few ways Billy King and the Nets can fix their athleticism problem.