The Nets Rotational Dilemma
As a Nets fan, I am relatively content with the offseason the Nets had. Although the Nets failed to sign any big name free agents they were pursuing, like LeBron James, David Lee or Carlos Boozer, or make a blockbuster trade, perhaps one that dealt Devin Harris for a more traditional PG, we did manage to sign several talented young players, such as Anthony Morrow, Jordan Farmar and Travis Outlaw, who have come to the Nets with something to prove and given the team some much needed depth.
I look forward to the Nets organization putting the dismal 12 win season behind them and going to work on making this team a contender. However, to do that they are going to have to figure out how to balance the minutes on a team filled with skilled young players.
The Draft Picks
I felt the Nets had a very good draft, as they managed to procure PF Derrick Favors, who’s bursting with potential and athleticism and won’t turn 20 until the end of the season, SF Damion James, a skilled scorer and rebounder who was very impressive in the summer league, along with PG Ben Uzoh and mammoth center Brian Zoubek, two undrafted rookies who are looking to prove themselves.
Thus far the Nets have made no trades to acquire a starting PF, and they traded Yi Jianlian to the Wizards, making it likely that the starting job will be held by #3 pick Derrick Favors, who will most likely be backed up primarily by Kris Humphries. Meanwhile, Damion James should compete for minutes at SF, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he got some, based on his inspired summer league performances.
What to do at #2
The signing of sharpshooter Anthony Morrow and the continued development of Terrence Williams and Courtney Lee provide the Nets with plenty of depth at the shooting guard position. Morrow and Lee were both starters for the majority of last season on their respective teams, and towards the latter half of last season T-Will started to shine, picking up all of his statistics and recording a triple double. So who should get the starting job between these three players?
My Pick at Shooting Guard
First off, I would like to rule out Williams, because I believe that with his size and exceptional rebounding ability he will be better suited at small forward. That leaves Lee and Morrow. Both are skilled shooters, but Morrow is arguably the best 3-point shooter in the league, and his shooting ability will be very valuable to the Nets next season, as three-point shooting was one of the many weaknesses of the 09-10 Nets team.
Morrow averaged slightly more ppg in less minutes than Lee, but was playing in Don Nelson’s offense, in which even Anthony Tolliver managed to score 12 ppg. Although Morrow is arguably the better offensive player, Lee definitely has the edge defensively, as he is an excellent on-ball defender who was tasked with guarding Kobe in the finals during his time with the magic. Unless Morrow can prove himself to be a skilled defender, I would give the starting job to Lee, although I expect these two players to split minutes pretty evenly, with Lee perhaps getting slightly more. However, if Jordan Farmar plays well as the backup point guard to Devin Harris, I could see the two of them being on the floor together, taking up some of the shooting guard minutes.
The Not-So-Small Forwards
The Nets recently signed Travis Outlaw, a 6’9, athletic, explosive scorer who can play both forward positions but is more built for small forward. As I said before, Damion James did well in the summer league, and at 6’7 and 230 pounds is well equipped to handle himself against the larger small forwards in the league. Terrence Williams returns from an impressive rookie campaign, the last two months of which he averaged 14 points, 5.5 assists and nearly seven rebounds per game. Although only 6’6", Williams is 220 pounds and an excellent leaper. So he can hold his own against the league’s small forwards. So who should start?
My Pick at Small Forward
Although Damion James did well in the summer league, he is a rookie, and I expect his lack of experience to put him behind Outlaw and Williams for SF minutes this season. Outlaw is bigger and significantly more experienced than Williams, and is an explosive but streaky scorer. Williams, on the other hand, is equally explosive on offense and is a much better facilitator, rebounder and defender.
Williams is a better all-around player, and thus I would give him the starting minutes. Outlaw should serve as a backup, and can contribute some solid scoring to the team. I wouldn’t be surprised if he also played some minutes at the power forward, should coach Avery Johnson decide to go with a smaller lineup.
The New Jersey Nets are chock-full of young talent, and with a new owner, a new coaching staff and new players to add to their solid core of Devin Harris and Brook Lopez, I expect them to improve radically upon their disappointing 12 win season of last year. I look forward to watching how Avery Johnson balances the minutes between five very talented wing players, along with supposed Superman heir Derrick Favors. Let’s go Nets!
Please comment your opinion on the Nets future.