There is a lot to unload about the last week in Brooklyn with the Nets trade for D’Angelo Russell, the fact that they actually traded Brook Lopez, and the Draft. I thought it’d be a good idea to see if any of our readers had some questions and surprisingly a bunch of you did. We’ll see if we make this a more common piece for the site, but here are a handful of questions you guys sent in. If I didn’t get you, I’ll try to make it up to you on the next one.
“Are YOU happy with the Nets' moves this past week?”
I’m honestly more than happy. I already sent in my design for the D’Angelo Russell statue outside of the Barclays that will be constructed in 2035. Russell is the first glimmer of hope the Nets have had since they traded for Deron Williams. Some would say “what about the Pierce and Garnett trade?” but that was a different kind of hope. DLo is a foundational piece that is hopefully going to turn into a star in this league, and he’ll be doing it in front of our very eyes.
Russell is a proven player in this league. He can score nearly at will and has the length to compete with guys on defense (he’s coming along on that end). As much as I appreciate Brook Lopez not only as a player but as a human being for the way he handled being tossed around in every trade machine possibility for several years, the time to move him was now. The Nets got the 2015 No. 2 pick. He’s 21 years old. This is legitimately exciting.
As for the Draft, yeah I’m pretty happy. Allen isn’t the sexiest pick (we’ll get to that), but he was the best player on the board all things considered. I didn’t really look into Allen because I thought he’d go before a guy like Justin Patton or Harry Giles in this draft. He is absolutely massive. 6’11” with a 7’5” wingspan. You can’t teach that kind of size and now it is on Kenny Atkinson and the coaching staff to turn this human slinky into a basketball player.
He is as raw as uncooked steak right now, but he has shown flashes of a jumper at Texas and I think that he is a long-term project that hopefully will turn into a starting center in the league. That is the long-game with Allen. He has the size to hold down the paint while the lateral speed to keep up with guards, but his awareness is low. He is also 19, so I will take that as he doesn’t really know how to play basketball yet and will learn the nuances in due time.
“Best case and worst case scenario for D'Angelo?”
Best case: He becomes a superstar by 24 and leads the Nets back to the playoffs in three seasons scoring 22 and 6.
Worst case: His character is actually an issue (ludicrous to judge a 21 year olds character right now when the worst thing he did wasn’t an actual crime but rather a failure to understand boundaries) and he gets stuck between between being a weak point guard and an undersized shooting guard. He doesn’t turn into the superstar he should become. Nets invest too much into him.
I’m going to lean more towards the best case because there is no denying his talent and passion for the game. He showed legitimate signs of greatness in LA and as a big-time player under the scrutiny of LA media and hit big shots when called upon. I think he has a bright, bright future.
“What's more likely? Mozgov starting for a while until Allen takes over or Buyout/stretch Mozgov in offseason and Allen starts right away”
Allen is far away from being a starter at this point in time. He needs to put on some weight and learn from a guy like Mozgov who is really physical in the paint and not afraid to get his hands dirty. Allen didn’t initiate contact enough at the college level and he needs to in order to become a real player. Mozgov figures to be the starter in November, and he’ll be capable. He’s definitely not the long-term option at center but will be the starter for the majority of the season. Until Allen is ready to take on some more minutes.
I see the Nets taking it slow playing Allen and not rushing him into heavy minutes avoiding the possibility of hurting his confidence. Not expecting much from him this season.
“If Giles was on board at 22 would Nets have picked him?”
I was sold on Giles as a risk the Nets should’ve been willing to take and if he was available at 22, it would have been interesting to see if the Nets took a shot on him. Jeff Goodman reported on Draft day that his knees checked out to all teams, yet he still sunk to 20, where the Kings snatched him up with that extra first rounder they acquired (great trade, by the way).
Maybe something is seriously wrong with his knees. It isn’t a crazy thought but I do think that he is a well spoken kid who is intent on making an impact on the next level and working his way back into basketball shape. I’m really not sure what they would’ve done if he fell to 22, but I lean towards the Nets letting him pass. Both Giles and Allen are at the same stage in their maturity as a basketball player, but one has serious health concerns. Had the Nets had pick 27, maybe they would have had the ability to take a shot on Giles because they could have also picked up a player in the first round that is not as much of a concern.
“What do you think the Brooklyn Nets starting 5 will look like after free agency?”
Jeremy Lin, D’Angelo Russell, Guy who is signed in Free Agency (Otto Porter, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Tony Snell, Rudy Gay), Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Timofey Mozgov.
I could see Russell being used at a two guard at this point in time. I question if he can be a lead point guard considering his ability to score from all three phases: the rim, mid-range, the three-point line. He has the ability to dish it and can make some highlight reel passes, but he has the length to become a defender at shooting guard and likes to get his own shot. I think he can be more of a weapon as a secondary playmaker that looks to score first rather than a pure point guard.
The Nets have a whole lot at the wing in terms of finding a scorer with lots of cap space to use. Sean Kilpatrick is a viable player in this league and has proven that, but that doesn’t mean he needs to start. It seems like a foregone conclusion that the Nets are going to offer a restricted free agent small forward a max offer sheet and I’m praying it’s Otto Porter.
Porter is an emerging threat in this league and it seemed like this past season was his coming out party that flew under the radar of John Wall’s fantastic play. Porter 15 and 7 while shooting 51% from the field on 11 shots, knocking down 43% of his three’s on four attempts per game. This guy is long, can lockdown a team’s number one option, and can now score. He’s worth the money if you’re Brooklyn.
Caldwell-Pope seems more likely with the cap hell the Pistons are in right now, but KCP is not worth the money a team is going to offer him. He is a minus defender and is supposed to be a pure scorer that can’t put the ball in the hoop purely. He averaged under 14 a game in his fourth season while shooting under 40% from the field, and an average 35% from three. He doesn’t seem like he is a Nets player with some off the court issues, and I don’t want Brooklyn’s ample cap space going to him.
Tony Snell would be an interesting fit as he began to come into his own in his first season in Milwaukee. He doesn’t provide them the scoring threat they so desperately need, but he is a great defender and can hit the three. He will cost less than the prior two, but will also likely be back under Jason Kidd.
Rudy Gay is an interesting name, too, but one who is coming off injury and whose career is winding down. He low key averaged 18 and 6 last year before he got hurt. He’d be pricey probably, but if the Nets can sign him for a few years, maintain long-term cap flexibility and have a veteran leader on the sidelines, why not? There need to be backup plans to the restricted free agent route. C.J. Miles would be a cheaper version of this, but obviously less talented.
I think that the Nets want an actual player this summer to help be a leader and instill some culture in the locker room as they begin to acquire foundational pieces that are hopefully around for when this team is relevant again.
“An obvious one that's been burning in my head -- why didn't we buy a pick to target one of the seniors or other immediate help i.e. GSW's move for Bell?”
It’s easier said than done, I’d say. Maybe the team didn’t see a prospect worth shelling out over three-million for. Sure the prospect is cheap, but before he signs a small contract, he cost the team a pretty big sum. The Warriors paid all that for Jordan Bell because they are 1) the defending champions and have a stranglehold on the league, they could to make those kind of moves; and 2) Bell is the perfect fit for their roster and their philosophy on both sides of the ball.
The Nets don’t need to pay so much for a second round prospect that may not make it over a year in the league and force the issue. Now, with teams scrambling to open up cap space for two incredibly important years of free agency, the Nets could offer that money they saved on Draft night in a trade to sweeten the pot and maybe squeeze out an extra pick if the situation arises.
Hope you all enjoyed. Feel free to continue to email me questions at firstname.lastname@example.org