With the Kings in town, and the Nets in recent trade talks with their front office about a potential blockbuster deal, it is only right and fair --if way premature-- that we at least look at the four players rumored to be head this way did on the court.
Darren Collison: 16 points, 3 rebounds, 8 assists, 5/7 shooting, 4 turnovers, 30:42 minutes
Collison looked good enough for Sacramento Monday night, pacing the team and being their primary ball handler. Collison clearly knows how to run an offense. He defers to DeMarcus Cousins a lot --rightfully so-- by feeding the big fella and letting him go to work, but he is still very involved. Collison led the team in touches Monday night, 72, per SportVu data on NBA.com. He's a point guard who knows his limitations and doesn't go past them. Being a speedy guard, Collison is not afraid to hit the jets, speeding into the lane and dumping it off to his teammates or finishing at the rim.
HOWEVER ...On the defensive end, Collison didn't excel (he's historically a mediocre defender). He didn't allow Jarrett Jack to get many pull up jumpers but Deron Williams did go right at him when he got in the game. When an bigger, more experience guard takes him in the post, Collison is in trouble. He's simply a smaller guard, and while quick, he can struggle to hold a bigger guard off from scoring. Could Collison be better for the Nets because he is not apt to taking on the heavy lifting of a team's offense? Maybe. Can he facilitate both Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez without also needing to get shots up? Probably. Could he replace Jack in the starting lineup? Not likely.
Nik Stauskas: 8 points, 1 assist, 3/5 shooting, 16:53 minutes
Stauskas has not had the easiest transition to the pro game, but he did look solid off the bench against Brooklyn. Stauskas found his jumper early on, spotting up off of dribble drives by the Kings, and got to the rim on a nice semi-transition drive in the second half. Right now, the No. 8 pick in the 2014 Draft isn't leading a team to the playoffs and beyond, but he can develop into a starting guard/forward in this league. He has good size and isn't a complete liability on the defensive end ... or at least wasn't last night. With that shooting stroke, anything is plausible long-term. Give him a year or two develop his pick-and-roll game and learn the ins and outs of the game. Monday was his second straight solid game. Against the Knicks two nights ago in Sacramento, he scored 11 points,making the last two games his most productive, shooting 6-of-9 overall 3-of-4 from deep.
Jason Thompson: 4 points, 1 rebounds, 2/4 shooting, 13:06 minutes
Thompson had four fouls early in the game so he wasn't a key part of the Kings game plan and he didn't give much when he was out there. Thompson relies on his great length to get rebounds and bang around inside but when he can't stay on the floor it doesn't matter. The six-year veteran has been declining over the past years, but is still only 28. He can still rebound and gives the Nets another body in the frontcourt, but he isn't moving the needle much for the team if he comes. He is owed $15 million over the next three, including this year and a nice $2.65 million buyout in 2016-17. There's no chance he could start for the Nets, barring an injury and/or multi-player trade.
Derrick Williams: 2 points, 1/3 shooting, 8:27 minutes
Williams, like Thompson, didn't showcase his talents to his possible new team. The former No. 2 overall pick in the 2011 draft is a tweener who can't shoot. He's too undersized to clean the glass efficiently and hasn't been able to carve out a niche in the league just yet. Another youngster who can give the Nets some energy in spot minutes, Williams can be another add to the trade to make the money work. In Brooklyn Monday, Williams was just another guy on the floor.
Bottom line: it's doubtful any of the four would start for the Nets. Just by virtue of his familiarity with the current team and how he fits in the offense, Jarrett Jack would likely start over Collison. Staukas could be a nice future piece. He is younger than Karasev by a few weeks and would give the Nets some youth at the wings. The other two? They'd be expensive pieces near the end of the bench.
No way, the Nets should add Plumlee to the mix.