FanPost

Shotblocking



One of the many weaknesses that the Nets have is obviously their interior defense.  Some of this can be attributed to the perceived lack of defense by Yi (but this is beside the point at this time), some of this is the result of our guards not stopping the dribble - causing Brook to rotate towards the ball and then nobody filling in the weakside (unfortunately this happens at least once or twice a game if not more), but a lot of this is the fact that we really are lacking a true shot blocker. 

Brook is a decent shot blocker - but I don't think any opposing perimeter players are fearful of driving to the rim for fear of Brook altering or blocking their shot.  Yi and Hump get blocked shots on a regular basis - but again those blocks are more of the excuse me category - where they just happen to get a piece of the ball as if by accident (Hump did have a monster block last night though). 

For a few years I have felt that if the Nets were to bring in a front court player known as a shot blocker it would dramatically improve their overall defense.  Throughout his rookie season - Sean Williams appeared to fill this role - but then off court issues and an apparent lack of professionalism and basketball IQ kept him off the floor. 

As we build this team for the future - I think front court depth and shotblocking presence (even with our second unit) are vital for future success.  Assuming that we end up with a top 2 pick (Wall/Turner) and are unable to package picks and CDR to take a guy like Favors - there is a pretty high chance that Yi is going to be starting at PF next season.  And even if we do sign David Lee in free agency - making a combination of Yi and Hump our backup PFs, we are still going to need a backup center. 

Jarvis Varnado is the NCAA leading shotblocker and will definitely be on the board with our 31st pick.  He is more of a PF than a center - has a very long wingspan and an inate ability for altering shots.  Depending on what we do earlier in the draft - he becomes an intriguing choice with the 31st pick.  Front court depth is essential (and lacking) and his shot blocking abilities would be a nice complement to our front court rotation of Brook, Yi, and Hump (and hopefully Boone is resigned and brought back for 3 more seasons). 

If we choose to go backup PG with the 31st pick (Sherron Collins) an interesting thought would be to sign Hamady Ndiaye from Rutgers as an undrafted free agent.  I do not think he is drafted - but could potentially be taken late in the 2nd round.  He is a legit 7 footer, who is Rutgers leading shot blocker and won Defensive Player of the Year in the Big East (nothing to sneeze at as Big East is definitely the best league in the country past 2 years).  He didn't start playing hoops until he was 16 and is basically a non factor on the offensive end in the NBA (and in college) but is just a monster shot blocker/altering shots. 

I've always felt blocking shots is something that can't be taught - its essentially a God given ability that very few big men possess.  Aside from the marketing potential (he is a Rutgers guy) that the Nets could spin - he could ultimately develop into a nice bench player to provide shot blocking and front court depth down the road.  And having just picked up hoops at 16 - he could ultimately be a stop gap option as a backup center to Brook.  He's the kind of guy who we could even stash for a year in the D League to get him big minutes and let him continue to develop.  I'm watching him single handedly change the first 10 minutes of the Rutgers-Cincy game as he already has 5 blocks and has altered a few other shots.  Having a guy like this really changes the tempo of the game.

Just a thought - but I think adding both front court depth and a shot blocking/altering presence is something that this team needs to seriously consider.

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