In the final edition of SB Nation NBA's blog-munnity theme day, we were asked one simple question: If you could bring back one former Nets player, in his prime, and add him to this year's roster, who would it be? Oh, the possibilities!
One Nets player in his prime, huh? Well, this should be fun...
You have to think that, if you're looking for a specific need on this Nets team you probably want to bring back an athletic, scoring wing. Sure, Jason Kidd in his prime would be great to have, but with Deron Williams, you're pretty much looking at either running a two-PG set with Kidd and Williams or bringing one of them off the bench, which wouldn't help much.
I suppose you could argue that adding a big -- Derrick Coleman, Kenyon Martin, Buck Williams, etc. -- could help as well, considering the mileage issue with Kevin Garnett, but I still think the bigger need is an athletic wing who can help stretch the floor. With Brook Lopez, Andray Blatche, Garnett, Mason Plumlee and Reggie Evans -- add in Andrei Kirilenko, who can slide over to the '4' -- and you're in pretty good shape.
On the wing, though, you have Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson, two former All-Stars, whose most "active" days are behind them. That's no knock on either player -- age happens, bros -- but I think there absolutely should be some consideration to getting an athletic wing who can push the tempo and run the break with Deron Williams.
So, that leaves me with two real possibilities.
First, let me add that in order to make this a more interesting discussion, I'm removing the possibility of adding Julius Erving. Why? Well, because he's the pick if you add in the ABA Nets, right? I mean, adding Dr. J in his prime? Easy. Wrap it up, we're all done here.
For this exercise, NBA Nets only. And that, as far as I'm concerned leaves me with two possibilities: Vince Carter and Drazen Petrovic.
Let's take a look, first, at Carter's best statistical season as a Net compared with Petrovic's best season:
You really have to assess the situation in looking at two things: talent and fit.
Both players in their prime were All-Star talents, no question about that. Carter was the more dynamic scorer, while Petrovic was one of the most efficient shooters in the league -- he shot 51.8 percent from the floor and 44.9 percent from the three-point line in his final season with the Nets.
Carter had the ability to stretch the floor, true, though he wasn't best served as a 3-point threat. He was best utilized off the dribble, on the baseline and in the open court. Again, he could shoot long jumpers, but if stretch and efficiency from the three-point line is what you're in the market for, Petrovic is your man.
The "fit" question is interesting because I think you could make the case for both. Carter as a running mate alongside Williams, providing minutes at the '2' and the '3' are absolutely intriguing -- this certainly fits into the Nets desire to add some wheels to the offense. With Petrovic, though, you get a shooter who can stretch the halfcourt sets and who can provide help at running the point.
The knock on Carter is whether or not you want to add a talent like him who can and will at times dominate the ball. This Nets team doesn't need someone to dominate the ball to the tune of a 30-percent Usage Rate. With Petrovic, he actually had a higher Turnover Rate and a much lower Assist Rate than Carter, which is a concern when you're talking about a player whose Usage Rate wasn't even close to that of Carter's.
I'm nitpicking, aren't I?
Truth is, the Nets would absolutely benefit from having either Carter or Petrovic in their prime and they would probably be the favorites to win the title at this point with either talent.
I really can't decide which player I'd rather have. I keep going back and forth. I might be leaning toward Petrovic right now for his 3-point efficiency, his ability to play point and the fact that he doesn't need to dominate the ball to be effective. But, then again, it's Vince Carter in his prime!
What do you guys and gals think? Would you rather Carter or Petrovic?