It’s called position-less basketball, freed from the tyranny of 1 through 5. Teams break down their rosters into playmakers, wings and bigs. There are specialists in 3-and-D, lobs-and-blocks, stretch 4's, even 5's, combo guards. There's small ball and long ball. It's all new.
But you have to concede that even with all of that, and without Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the Nets have too many guards. At the moment, their roster is unbalanced.
After the presumed starting backcourt of Jeremy Lin and D’Angelo Russell, there’s the back-ups, Spencer Dinwiddie and Isaiah Whitehead; then the wings who can play the 1 or the 2, Caris LeVert, Archie Goodwin and Sean Kilpatrick; and finally the more traditional shooters, Joe Harris and the about-to-be-acquired DeMarre Carroll.
You can argue who does what, but that's nine players who don't play the "big" positions. And we haven't talked about the two kids, Jeremy Senglin out of Weber State, a pure shooter who has a partial guarantee, and Milton Doyle out of Loyola Chicago, a combo guard who's played well in Las Vegas. One of them could be a two-way player in Long Island.
So what’s a coach to do? First things first, enjoy what you’ve got. Goodwin and Levert have been particularly effective. The two, both 22, have shown a lot of two-way skills. Goodwin is averaging 24.5 points per 40 minutes, shooting 40 percent from three. His per 40 on assists is 7.4. LeVert is doing just as well, averaging 24.1 points per 40 minutes and 10.8 rebounds. His inability to hit the three, which he did so well at Michigan, remains an issue, but it’s summer league.
In particular, Goodwin has played surprisingly well. He told us a few weeks back that he had some surprises in store. “You’ll have to wait and see,” he told us. The surprises include a new found defensive potential as well as an improving deep shot .... and playmaking skills. Combine that with his athleticism, ability to get to the rim and experience, he could increase his minutes this season, his fifth despite his youth.
“I look at it as an opportunity to get better with our young core of guys,’’ Goodwin said Tuesday. “I’ve been having ups and downs throughout my career, but I feel like here I really have an opportunity and I’m trying to make the most of it.
“I just want to come in and be the best that I can be. Work as hard as I can and leave it out there every time. If I didn’t leave it out there I didn’t do my job.”
But it’s hard to imagine all nine of the playmakers and wings making it to Opening Night. Dinwiddie and Goodwin don’t even have guaranteed deals. Nothing is set of course with the final roster. The Nets will still have at least $16.5 million to play with once the Carroll deal is done to play with in free agency, if that’s what choose to do.
So, for the moment, the Nets can wait.