Basketball Insiders, like most (all?) season previews, offers a fairly dismal look at 2016-17, noting the lack of talent, leavening its look by pointing out Mikhail Prokhorov’s front office moves.
And buried deep in the preview is this hopeful nugget...
The bright side? The Nets were one of the most heavily represented teams in Chicago during last May’s draft combine, and scouts within the organization have raved at the resources that newly installed general manager Sean Marks is putting into finding players who can play. In his introductory press conference, Marks said he knew he would have to be resourceful, and indications are that is exactly what’s happening.
Of course, as we’ve noted, the Nets have spent a lot of money on staff, adding up to 30 new employees in the scouting, performance and player development/coaching teams.
In general, the preview is kinder than most, even if the bottom line is the same: three of the BI staff think the Nets will finish last in the Atlantic, the worst team in the worst division. The other two put them just above the 76ers.
They do offer some positives on Bojan Bogdanovic, who tops their list of “who we like,” just ahead of Sean Marks, Kenny Atkinson and the two rookies, Caris LeVert and Isaiah Whitehead.
Of Bogdanovic, they write...
Completely lost in the circus around him, Bojan Bogdanovic has proven to be a very capable NBA player. Entering his third season, he has averaged a very quiet 14.4 points and 4.2 rebounds per game over the course of his career. He also happens to be a 37 percent shooter from downtown. As the 26-year-old continues to grow and adapt to the NBA game, he will only improve.
Beyond that, there is Eric Pincus’ estimate that, barring big moves at the deadline, the Nets could have as much as $41 million in cap space come July and Moke Hamilton’s assessment that the four first and second year players —Caris LeVert, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Chris McCullough and Isaiah Whitehead— “may amount to something ... So long as they remain together, these players will have an opportunity to grow and learn without any pressure.”
Hamilton also offers a prediction on when the Nets rebuild will start to show results.
“Let’s just say that 2019 can’t come quickly enough,” he writes.