The New Jersey Nets Season in Review: Final Grades
With the worst season in Nets history finally over, it is a good time to reflect back and evaluate the motley crew of players who combined to make this disaster.
Tony Battie was supposed to be a veteran backup to Brook Lopez. Instead he was mostly hurt and when he did play, he stunk. He will not be back. Final grade: F
Bobby Simmons was supposed to be the starting small forward and provide defense and spot-up shooting. Instead, he could not defend or shoot and was rightfully benched. When he did play, it looked as if he just did not care. He will not be back. Final grade: F
Rafer Alston was acquired to be the steady, heady, veteran backup to Devin Harris. He had played a key role in getting the Magic to the Finals. Instead, he had the worst season of his career while with the Nets. He was probably the biggest reason the Nets started 0-18. The Nets could not get rid of him fast enough. Final grade: F , but if it could be any lower he would deserve it.
Chris Quinn was a mid-season acquisition and replaced the total disaster that was Rafer Alston. He was a bench warmer and at least he competed when he did play. However, he just does not have the talent to play quality minutes in the NBA. He will not be back. Final grade: D
Yi Jianlian was supposed to create a twin towers effect with Brook Lopez by dominating the glass and blocking shots. Plus, Yi can shoot from distance so the idea was that he would help spacing on offense. Instead, he rarely rebounded, blocked shots, and tried to compete with Lopez for the low post position. Unfortunately, he might actually be back. Final grade: D
Josh Boone should be a monster power forward who knocks people around and averages 12 boards a game. The reality is that he either does not try hard, or he lacks basketball instincts. My hunch is that he lacks instincts. He can't shoot as his mechanics are horrible. He does not block shots and he does not use his body well to defend. He is basically a waste of a 6'10" athletic body. His failures were why Yi continued to play. Final grade: D
Courtney Lee was supposed to be a dead-eye shooter and defender on the perimeter. The Nets hoped he would be the next Kerry Kittles. He was more like the next Dennis Hopson. His shooting was mediocre even when wide open. His defense was nothing special and he could not create his own offense. The Nets are looking to replace him and make him a backup if they can. Final grade: C-
Jarvis Hayes filled his role well. He was a solid shooter off the bench. Unfortunately, he was mostly injured and asked to play too much. Still, unlike most players, he actually met his expectations. Final grade: C-
Trenton Hassell was the defense-first version of Jarvis Hayes. He was not particularly good, but he played his role as well as he could. He will probably be gone. Final grade: C-
Kris Humphries was a solid mid-season acquisition. Unlike Yi, Humphries actually rebounded the ball and played decent defense. However, he is a near total waste on offense. If he does not get an easy lay-up, it was probably going to be a missed shot. If Humphries ever learns how to knock down a 15-foot jump shot regularly, then he would be a solid player. Final grade: C
Chris Douglas-Roberts has the distinction of caring more than anyone else on the roster. He really took the losing personally. For that reason alone, the Nets should bring him back because a player who cares that much will only get better. He needs a better jump shot and to improve his lateral quickness so that he can defend better, but he can be an effective player in the NBA. He is just not there yet. Final grade: C
The loss of Keyon Dooling early in the year hurt because that meant Alston was the only true point guard and he stunk. However, Dooling never got untracked even after he got healthy. He could very easily be a goner. Final grade: C
Devin Harris should have shined like the sun with this roster. Instead, it dragged him down to mediocrity. He shot poorly and was frequently injured. His defense suffered, as well. The Nets thought he was going to be an all-star and now he is likely trade bait if they win the lottery. Final grade: C+
Terrence Williams started the season as if he wanted to become the biggest draft bust. He had a bad attitude and played selfishly. However, a light went on in the second half and he became a young player to watch. He stopped taking dumb shots and created more for his teammates. He began to use his athleticism on defense and to score in the paint. His improvement is why the Nets did not set the record for most losses in a season in the NBA. His lackluster play in the first half is why this grade was not better. Final grade: B-
Brook Lopez finished 2010 with averages of 18.8 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks, on 49.9 percent from the field and 81.7 percent from the line. He showed that he belonged in the conversation of the top centers in the East after Dwight Howard. However, there were some flaws. He had trouble with teams that had a seven footer to guard him and his shooting percentage dropped. Part of this was because his teammates were so inept at getting him the ball in good scoring position. Also, he had trouble guarding other quality low post centers. Still, he showed that he is a legitimate piece of the future and he was the Nets best player. Final grade: B+
In my opinion, when a team is this bad, no player deserves even an A- grade. There was no reason why this team should have been this bad. So the coaching staff gets a final grade of F .
However, with all of the cap room which was tied up in mostly dead weight and a top draft pick, the Nets should be able to triple their wins next year and provide some hope for the future.
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