Here are some birthdays to keep in mind ... From youngest to oldest.
April 21, 1998 - Jarrett Allen
February 23, 1996 - D’Angelo Russell
March 8, 1995 - Isaiah Whitehead
January 3, 1995 - Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
August 25, 1994 - Caris Levert
August 17, 1994 - Archie Goodwin
April 6, 1993 - Spencer Dinwiddie
February 9, 1993 - K.J. McDaniels
There are two reasons to take notice. The first reason of course is that you want to be a good fan and send birthday greetings to your favorite players (as long as they’re still on the roster.)
But the other reason is to understand just how young the Nets have become in recent days. Half the roster is 24 or younger, a third is 22 or younger. Allen, who turned 19 at the end of April, is the second youngest Net ever, a few months older than Derrick Favors was when he was drafted in 2010. Only Timofey Mozgov, 31, is over 30 although Trevor Booker is close.
As Brian Lewis writes Sunday youth can only get you so far and with the Nets likely targeting other youngsters in free agency, expect them to sign vets next month.
“That’s a discussion Sean and I are always having,’’ Kenny Atkinson said the other day. “We’re still going to have a good balance. Last year we did a great job having a balance between veterans and young guys.
“I don’t think you’re going to see 15 guys who’re 24 or under. I do think, through free agency going forward, you’ll see balance on the roster. We think that helps in development, there’s no doubt about it. I think about the older guys we had in the locker room last year and how important that was to Caris’ development, Rondae’s, Isaiah. We know that’s an important piece to these guys developing.”
A veteran presence within a set culture can also help integrate younger players into the system, as Jeremy Lin, who’s now in his eighth season, told Lewis.
“We’ve established a really good culture, good atmosphere,” Lin said. “I feel like we’ve done a good job getting high-character guys who’re ready to work and grind. It’ll be OK. If young guys aren’t hungry and are caught up in their own thing, they stay young in a lot of their manners. If they’re sped up along in the right way they become [vets].”
No names yet and to be fair, the Nets signed a couple of those veteran free agents last July as part of Plan “B,” after Plan “A,” going after Tyler Johnson and Allen Crabbe in restricted free agency, failed. There are a few players out there who have been linked to the Nets in recent weeks who might fill the bill: Joe Ingles of the Jazz for example. He’s 29 (but a restricted free agent.)
As anyone who follows free agency knows, the big names are scarfed up in the first three or four days of July with the vets getting signed a week or so later. Luis Scola, Greivis Vasquez and Randy Foye were all signed after July 10. So filling out a roster is going to take some time.
- Getting young was only first step of Nets’ grand plan - Brian Lewis - New York Post