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The Brooklyn Nets Can't Forget About Dray

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Would the Nets be better with two admittedly controversial players. Thomas Duffy (Lance Stephenson) and Allen Robertson (Andray Blatche) make the case.

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

When last season ended, Andray Blatche lobbied to return to Brooklyn but management had other ideas in mind.  With the return of Brook Lopez as well as the expected emergence of Mason Plumlee and hopeful revival of Kevin Garnett, the Nets brass decided to go in a different direction from their mercurial backup center.  Perhaps they miscalculated the impact of subtracting Blatche from the mix. 

Here we are, 51 games into the 2014-15 season, and the Nets are struggling to stay alive in the dreadful Eastern Conference playoff picture.  What’s more embarrassing is the fact that they are a half game ahead of the Boston Celtics in the conference standings, you know, the team who liquidated all of their assets (mostly to the Nets) and would prefer to be in the lottery! Could Blatche be the missing ingredient in helping Brooklyn surpass and fend off the likes of Miami, Charlotte, Indiana, Detroit, and Boston for a playoff berth? Maybe.

Obviously resigning Blatche isn’t the biggest splash a team can make, however, there’s no denying his production during his two year stint in Brooklyn and the fact that he can fill a major role for this team in terms of bench scoring.  It’s no secret that the Nets find themselves limited with offensive weapons whether it’s the starters or reserves.

Consider the decline of the team’s average offensive output and offensive rating over the last three years. Clearly other factors come into play, such as other personnel, but remember that Blatche was a key contributor to the two previous years’ teams and not the current.

SEASON

PPG

RANK

OFFENSIVE RATING

RANK

2012-13

96.9

17th

108.2

8th

2013-14

98.5

21st

106.7

14th

2014-15

95.5

26th

102.6

24th

The Nets may appear to have a logjam up front, but when you closely examine that aspect of the roster you will realize how thin they really are, whether it is Garnett’s part-time status of 20 minutes per game or Plumlee’s propensity to struggle against bigger, stronger frontcourts. Of course there’s always the concern of Lopez’s questionable health and the possibility of Garnett agreeing to a buy-out or waiving his no-trade clause. The bottom line is, there is room to add depth here.

When the Nets chose not to resign Paul Pierce, their offense took a hit.  Now with Mirza Teletovic lost for the season and Deron Williams struggling to record double-digit points on nightly basis, scoring has become a premium. This is where Blatche can help.

He may have his deficiencies in terms of defense and decision-making, but Blatche’s efficiency on the offensive end is too good to ignore. After all, it was Raptors’ head coach, Dwane Casey, who admitted that Blatche was a "nightmare"  matchup during the first round last year.

Consider Blatche’s statistics on a per 36 minute rate as well as his player efficiency, offensive, and defensive ratings:

SEASON

PTS

REB

BLK

FG%

PER

OFF RTG

DEF RTG

2012-13

19.5

9.7

1.3

51.2

21.9

107

101

2013-14

18.3

8.7

0.8

47.6

18.8

104

105

Just to give you some perspective of how productive Blatche is, compare him to Garnett’s "per 36 minute" statistics.

SEASON

PTS

REB

BLK

FG%

PER

OFF RTG

DEF RTG

2013-14

11.4

11.6

1.3

44.1

13.3

93

101

2014-15

12.0

12.0

0.5

45.5

14.9

98

100

Now suppose Garnett is sitting out a game or is no longer on the Brooklyn roster in the next few weeks. Would it be safe to say that twenty minutes from Blatche is a major upgrade in the offense department over both KG and Jerome Jordan?

In terms of defensive rating, the Nets are a middle of the pack team this year just as they were the two previous seasons.  To bring aboard Blatche won’t help in that area, but once again the real issue that continues to haunt the Nets are scoring droughts that sometimes seem to last an eternity.  How many times do they fail to crack 100 points? Better yet, how many times do they struggle to even reach 80 points?

There’s no doubt that the Nets need help and it seems as if there won’t be a savior arriving before Thursday’s trade deadline. Blatche may be the best alternative and hopefully the humbling experience of going unsigned to having to play in China will be a motivating factor that could work in Brooklyn’s favor.  Not to mention those amnesty payments from Washington are in their final months.

Blatche may come with his off the court baggage but sometimes your better off going with the devil you know as opposed to the devil you don’t know.  The Nets know what they’re getting as opposed to taking a chance on someone like Lance Stephenson.  It should also be noted that a few of the current Nets players have voiced their support in bringing Blatche back home.

It’s no surprise that he was a fan favorite over the last two seasons and things just haven’t felt the same since he was let go. For a Nets team that has lacked excitement this season, a little razzle-dazzle from "Dray Live" might just be the perfect remedy to bring some fun back to Barclays.

To management it may be embarrassing that the team that wanted no part of him this past summer may have to do a 180.  All of that is irrelevant now, as the most important thing is putting together a group that will outpace its competition in order to qualify for one of the final playoff spots.

It’s time for whatever happened between Andray Blatche and the Nets to be water under the Brooklyn Bridge. What else do they have to lose?