1. What are your overall thoughts on the Draft and Free Agency? Are you satisfied with what the Nets did?
Net Income: I would give Marks a B. He did not violate the Hippocratic Oath -- "first, do no harm." i was disappointed that both Miami and Portland matched, but both those guys wanted to play for the Nets (and both had at least as good offers elsewhere) and it was a break from tradition that the Nets showed such an aggressiveness in pursuit of free agents. At the end of the day, after the disappointment of the losses of Johnson and Crabbe, they refused to go out and spend money wildly.
Tom Lorenzo: I think the Nets did a fine job, overall, given their situation. I feel like people forget just how bad the Nets were last season and how dire their situation was heading into the summer. They needed to over-pay, in a sense, for young, upside talent - and they tried to do that with Crabbe and Johnson. I also give him credit for giving the fan base some sense of excitement with the Jeremy Lin signing -- we keep hearing about how this was a "marketing play," which, sure, it very much was, but I also think that Lin gives the Nets the ability to catch lightning in a bottle from one night to the next. This Nets team will be lucky to win 25 games this season, and the Celtics own the right to their first round pick, so why not expand the fan base, build some global cachet and hope for the best? And, to boot, they didn't overpay for anyone this summer, nor bind themselves to bad long-term contracts. In all, it wasn't a bad summer -- in that they did more good than harm.
Reed Wallach: Sure, it's a bit disappointing that the Nets didn't get their top two free agent targets in Tyler Jonson and Allen Crabbe, but that was a risk Sean Marks was willing to take when he signed two restricted free agents. Past that, Marks did a great job in his first go at free agency. He stripped this roster down while also keeping the cap sheet clean until the Nets see assets they feel the need to use that said space on. At the same time, young prospects are being given the opportunity to shine on an NBA roster, maybe some stick. This season may be hard on the eyes in terms of wins and losses, but at least the Nets are moving in the right direction (even if that means backwards in the short term). As for the Draft, Caris LeVert is a risk with his foot issues but I believe in the Nets front office considering LeVert's surgeon is Nets' team doctor, Riley Williams. If he is healthy, LeVert has been dubbed as a lottery prospect. The trade-up for Whitehead was smart in that the Nets gave up no assets to get the Brooklyn kid they wanted. Solid offseason for Brooklyn, all things considered.
Anthony Puccio: I thought the Nets did sneakily good at the draft. I've always like Whitehead's ability to score under any circumstances, and Caris LeVert's upside is tremendous. Was it a risk trading Thaddeus Young for an injury-ridden LeVert? Absolutely. But in times like these, the Nets need to take some risks. If LeVert is a failure, Marks' (first) big move will look be one of his most notorious of moves as GM, but at the same time; let's not overvalue Thaddeus Young.
Brian Fleurantin: I'd give them a B-. I liked the thought process behind a lot of what Marks was looking to do. They didn't land the two big free agents they were looking for, but didn't do anything dumb afterwards. The off-season was boring compared to their peers, but boring works sometimes.
2. What was the best move made by the Nets?
NI: Best move had to be signing Jeremy Lin. They needed a PG and got one on the cheap (relatively). They also got a player who is already a great match for the head coach. Lin also will change the fan base. We see it in our increased pageviews, new Twitter followers, etc. (Every night we see a big jump in page views around 10 p.m. China is waking up!)
TL: Jeremy Lin, easily. The contract is fair, in this "new" NBA, and I think he brings excitement to the team, as well as a voice, a leader and someone who seemingly wants to be here.
RW: The Nets nabbed Jeremy Lin at the beginning of free agency on a bargain deal considering the new market. While players like Timofey Mozgov and Evan Turner got close to double the money as Lin, Lin fills a greater need and may even be a better talent than the aforementioned two. Lin reunites with one of, if not his favorite coach in Kenny Atkinson and will have the keys to the Nets franchise as the starting point guard.
AP: I'm gonna say move(s) and that's the point guard fillers: Jeremy Lin and Greivis Vasquez. Anything is better than what they had last year, and 1-2 punch of Lin and Vasquez makes things much more comfortable than last year. Both have the ability to make Lopez and the young guys grow.
BF: The best one was the Lin signing. He represents a big upgrade over the trio of Jack, Sloan, and Larkin and is someone that will provide a lot of interest in the team. Of course winning will keep the people there permanently, but having Lin is a good start.
3. Worst move?
NI: Other than losing Crabbe? I wasn't particularly enamored of the Randy Foye signing, even if he did buy Bruce's house. I like Foye, but I expected they would use that last roster spot to get a solid back-up for Brook Lopez. Right now, with 15 players guaranteed, the Nets have one back-up center: Justin Hamilton, who played in Spain and is more of a stretch 4 than a 5. Trading Thaddeus Young was a bit of a risk, too. They traded him for a draft pick and a net gain of $11 million in cap space. That cap space went unused, but they do love LeVert.
TL: Not having been able to trademark Book-Lin before the JLinPortal folks did. That was an easy win, Brett. #smh
RW: It's hard to say there was a worst move due to the fact that the Nets really signed a bunch of veterans to one-year deals so I'll harp on where the Nets failed to fill out the roster: the frontcourt. The Nets signed Justin Hamilton, Trevor Booker, and Luis Scola (I don't count Anthony Bennett because he was added at the end and I'm not sure the expectation yet) to complement Brook Lopez and second-year pro Chris McCullough. While the Nets aren't looking to compete right now, the three are bench players at best and I would've liked to see Marks try and nab a bargain signing like Tyler Zeller and Jared Sullinger who are a bit younger and present some more talent. I'm being nitpicky though, I actually really liked the offseason for what it was.
AP: Gotta say I'm disappointed they didn't find someone better than Booker/Scola to replace Thaddeus Young at the four. Sure Lopez does most of the work down low anyway, but trading Young and not having a backup plan at the four puzzles me.
BF: Honestly, nothing strikes me as particularly awful. I might've gone with Luis Scola, but it doesn't hurt to have another power forward on the roster in case Chris McCullough isn't ready to take the job on full time yet.
4. Which role player signed will have the biggest impact in Brooklyn this season?
NI: This season? I would say Lin. If he can match what he did in Charlotte, he will be a lot better than what the Nets had last year, particularly after losing Jarrett Jack. Long term, I think drafting Caris LeVert may be bigger. If he stays healthy, he could be a steal. He can play the 1, 2 or 3. Yes, he needs to get healthy. Yes, he needs to get stronger, but this is a kid who's 6'7 1/2", has good handles, a decent court vision and deep range. He shot better than 40 percent from three in his college career, 45 percent last season.
TL: I think Greivis Vasquez will have a nice impact on this team, especially as he'll be able play side-by-side with Jeremy Lin, but also run the second team offense. You're going to have quite a few young guys coming off the bench, so having a veteran point guard to keep the offense in order should be of great help.
RW: I don't count Lin because he will be a starter, nor do I count LeVert because he was drafted, so I'll say Luis Scola. I didn't like the signing at first because I think he is a shell of what he once was, but Scola is a hard working veteran who just added a three-point shot to his game. I think he ends up winning the starting power forward spot from Booker and McCullough and plays nicely next to Brook Lopez. At least I hope he does.
AP: Like I said above, I think Randy Foye is gonna make a nice impact for this team. Maybe a sixth man type of guy that can come off the bench and spark some energy into the offense. The question is whether he'll get enough time behind guys like Bogdanovic and Kilpatrick. Foye finished in the top 10 in the league in three-pointers made in three consecutive seasons (2011-14) and is a career .369 shooter from three-point range. If he can regain that touch, expect him to have a big role off the bench.
BF: I'll go with Greivis Vasquez. He's going to need to be able to keep the offense afloat when Lin heads to the bench and when he shares the court with Lin, will need to be able to consistently knock down his three pointers. He's got a lot to prove following a disastrous year with the Bucks and seeing as how he's on a one year, he can set himself up with a good deal in the off-season if he plays like he normally does. Also, he could get the Nets a nice piece at the deadline if/when they fall out of playoff contention.
5. Assuming this is the roster, what is your win total guess for the Nets next season.
NI: Last year, an NBA source who I respect predicted 25 wins. I was appalled. He was right. This year, he thinks will be a 30-win season. So I'm going with 30. They're young. Their coach has no head coaching experience to think of. There are a TON of question marks. On the other hand, I don't think this is the final roster. When you have $19 million in cap space, you can help facilitate bigger trades, get a young player or a pick.
TL: I was an idiot last season and said the Nets "could" compete for the 8th seed, since the East likely would allow someone with a sub-.500 record limp into the playoffs. So, take this for what it's worth... I think the Nets will win 27 games this season. If anything, though, they will be much, much, much more exciting than they were last season. Much.
RW: I thought 18 after the Nets wrapped free agency with those flurry of signings, but I'll up it to 23. This Nets team is scrappy and will steal a few games. I think that they will benefit from not having playoff expectations and having a player development minded coach in Kenny Atkinson calling the shots. I'm really excited to see who acclimates to Atkinson's system and seeing what this rag-tag group of basketball players can do.
AP: Last year I said 30+ so I'm not overshooting this one.
BF: It's early, but I'll give them 33 wins. They're still gonna be bad, but they'll be watchable. Lin is an improvement at PG, having Rondae Hollis-Jefferson for a full season will help, and the bench is better. After the slog that was last season, it'll be a huge improvement.