It’s becoming increasingly obvious that the point guard position is going to be a big focus of the Nets off-season. With Jeremy Lin down for most of last season —a full 46 games— and his primary back-up, Greivis Vasquez, waived after three games, the organization knows it needs to be ready for any eventuality in 2017-18.
Add the realization that the Nets are very serious in the pursuit of Euroleague star Milos Teodosic and you can see the 1 is could be No. 1.
Kenny Atkinson is not ruling out finding a back-up on the current roster. Three of the team’s youngest players, Spencer Dinwiddie, 24; Isaiah Whitehead, 22; and Archie Goodwin, also 22, all put in minutes at the point.
“When we started the season, I thought we had Jeremy and the backup settled,’’ Atkinson said. “Now with Spencer, Archie [Goodwin] and Isaiah [Whitehead], we have to answer, ‘Do we have the solution in-house now?’ I think we do, as the backups have played well. [But] we’ll have to look and see what offseason and next year moves we need to make.”
The Nets could of course find a reasonably priced free agent like they last season with Vasquez. Remember last July, the Nets came close to signing Sergio Rodriguez, the Spanish point guard. Philly eventually signed him to a one-year deal and he is an unrestricted free agent this summer.
But the big issue will be how successful the Nets are in going after Teodosic, the 6’5” Serbian playmaker who plays for CSKA Moscow. The Nets have scouted him multiple times. Sean Marks went to see him in Moscow on March 22 and David Pick, the European hoops writer, says the Nets GM will be back Tuesday and Thursday when CSKA plays Baskonia in the first round of the Euroleague playoffs.
Moreover, the Nets have other connections to Teodosic. Trajan Langdon, the Nets assistant GM, is said to be particularly close to Teodosic and the Nets Moscow-based troika of Mikhail Prokhorov, Dmitry Razumov and Sergey Kuschenko are close to the management of CSKA, a team Prokhorov owned a decade ago. Kushchenko, who’s president of the Russian basketball league as well as a Nets director, was in his hometown of Perm three days ago to watch CSKA and Teodosic play the local team.
What would the Nets do if they signed Teodosic, a pass-first point guard? Atkinson has said the Nets motion offense requires multiple playmakers as multiple players touch the ball, make decisions and move it until a good shot emerges. It’s not hard to see Teodosic and Lin play together.
How does Lin feel about it? He was asked about it Thursday.
“I completely trust what they’re doing and everything they laid out, and they completely know all my thoughts on everything. … Regarding specific players, I don’t feel I should comment on that,’’ Lin said. “I know the role they want me to have. They want me to be the guy, they want the ball in my hands.
“I played shooting guard all of college, too. Even with Caris [LeVert], I don’t mind [playing off the ball]. I’m like, ‘Hey, I’m going to play off for a little bit while you go ahead and do your thing.’ At the right times I want to be able to insert that. It’s about the mindset or what they’re thinking about me or their vision for me. I’m more concerned about than if I have to slide off the ball every once in a while.”
Of course, that’s one side of the equation. How would Teodosic feel about it? He has said he wants to start. He’s also said he wants to play for a winner. Would the Nets fill that requirement?
More than one league source has told NetsDaily they believe that Teodosic would thrive in the NBA, at least on offense.
Bottom line: Watch this space.
- Jeremy Lin insurance is high on Nets’ to-do list - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Jeremy Lin’s optimism for next season fueled by Nets’ improvement- Greg Logan - Newsday