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Battle at the 4 - Who’s Nets starting power forward?

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Brooklyn Nets v Cleveland Cavaliers Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Nets starting line-up seems pretty much set: At the point, it’s Jeremy Lin. Brook Lopez will man the center position, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson the 3, Bojan Bogdanovic the 2 and at power forward?

As of now, it’s probably Trevor Booker but while the other four guys’ names are written in ink, Booker is more penciled in. As Brian Lewis of the Post writes Sunday...

Power forward is likely the only wide-open battle — with Trevor Booker, 36-year-old Luis Scola and even springy second-year pro Chris McCullough all in the mix.

And there are two others who could see action at the 4: Former No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett and Justin Hamilton, the 7-footer with three-point range who’s likely see action backing up Lopez.

“That’s a spot that’s open,” Kenny Atkinson said at Tuesday’s press conference. “A good thing about our situation, I think we have versatile bigs. I don’t think [of] Scola simply as a four. I’m thinking of Luis Scola as a four and five. I’d even say that with Trevor Booker.

“Trevor Booker, why can’t he take another step as a player with more responsibility and the talent he has? We look at these guys, we’re looking upside.”

Booker has a reputation as a tough defender and rebounder, but his starts have been limited. The second biggest free agency signing —$18 million over two years, Booker is seen as someone who can play bigger minutes than he did in Utah, where he started only seven of his 158 games the past two seasons, only two last year. He shot only 28 percent from the arc, after hitting a career high of 34.5 percent two years ago.

Scola on the other hand found a three point shot last season. After never making more than five 3’s in a season, Scola hit 65-of-161 last year, as Lewis reports. But his defense is porous and he’s coming off playing in the Olympics. Although he’s been remarkably durable, Scola is 36.

McCullough of course is the great hope at power forward. After missing 50 games his rookie year, he finally got minutes at the end of the season, showing off a three point range as well as shot-blocking potential. He’s still only 21 and the Nets will have him for another two years after this season. The Nets are pushing him. They'd like to see him take a big step this year ... and he’s been working out, almost non-stop since May.

Then, there’s Bennett, the mystery man. Can he reach his potential? Marks, Atkinson and his teammates have spoken about that potential from what they’ve seen at HSS. He’s been around since May as well, with time off for FIBA competition.

A couple of months ago, Sean Marks gave a hint of the Nets might use him ... and how he sees his bigs operating in Atkinson’s offense.

“We got guys who are versatile, guys who can play multiple positions. I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw smaller guys playing the 5 spot. The way the NBA is going, there’ll be a little bit of small ball in there too. There’s no reason why Anthony couldn’t step in and relieve at the 5 spot as well.”

Of course, as Lewis also points out, the Nets could be active at the deadline and finding a power forward might well be a consideration.