When Jason Kidd left for New Jersey, not only did he take his great leadership and passing skills, but he took the Nets' chances as a contender for next couple years with him as well.
With the team in rebuilding mode, they have managed to stockpile young talent, in what is essentially a tryout season, to see who fits into the long-term future. With plenty of youthful front-court depth, Rod Thorn and his staff should be able to find enough young pieces to potentially build a team around Lebron James for the 2010 season.
However, its like the old saying goes, "You can't just build a team through free agency, you have to do it through the draft". Although it may normally be an NFL saying, the Nets took it to heart this past spring, selecting a threesome of talented rookies. With little veteran talent on the team, you can expect immediate contributions from the Nets' "New Big 3". But what can we expect in the long run?
With the 10th overall pick the draft, the Nets found themselves extremely lucky to be on the clock with star Stanford center Brook Lopez falling into their laps. A bona fide low-post threat who many believed could go as high as the third or fourth pick.
With Lopez the Nets now have a dominant center, unlike Josh Boone or Sean Williams who despite their height, are really better suited to be power forwards in the NBA. Expect Lopez to contribute immediately and develop into an offensive presence in the middle.
Best case scenario: A Shorter Yao Ming
With the 21st pick, via Dallas through the Jason Kidd trade, the Nets went back to the front court and added University of California sophomore forward, Ryan Anderson. It is ironic that the Nets would trade a former Golden Bear, but aside from similar Alma maters, these two couldn't be more opposite on the basketball court.
Anderson possesses great offensive skills, including a great jumper for a big man. He does, however, lack ideal athleticism and a refined low-post game. He has turned heads in the preseason, and despite many questioning the pick, he may make the most immediate impact on the Nets.
Best Case Scenario: Mike Dunleavy (last year)
Finally the usually under-appreciated second round which rarely churns out any real stars in the league, the Nets made the most of the 40th overall selection by taking former first-team All American and Memphis Tigers star Chris Douglas-Roberts.
I was absolutely in love with this selection, when it was made last April. I constantly preach taking a proven college star, over the 7'3" 160-pound European project who is usually seven years away from being a starter on his Euro Club team.
With Douglas-Roberts, the Nets have a proven winner, a leader, and a scoring threat off the bench, with the intangibles you look for. While he may never reach the level of dominance he displayed in college, Douglas-Roberts could still be a very effective sixth man on a championship roster
Best Case Scenario: James Posey (winning ability)
Do not expect much success out of this team, this year. They are very young and luckily have a lot of depth and talent, but they will probably finish near the bottom of the league for this year, yet again.
However, don't expect this lack of success to last. The Nets have a plan to target a big name free agent next summer, with Jay-Z and a Brooklyn move on board, the Nets should be able to land Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, or Lebron James. There is a bright light at the end of this tunnel.