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Roster Breakdown: Playmakers, Wings and Bigs (for now)

Brooklyn Nets v Detroit Pistons Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Things are starting to shape up for the Nets following the Allen Crabbe trade. Although the NBA still uses the tradition 1 through 5 positions, Kenny Atkinson has borrowed Brad Stevens line and broken it down into playmakers, wings and bigs.

Playmakers are usually the most versatile - guys who can handle the rock or switch from point guard to wing depending on matchups and offensive sets. They’re the ones out there to create offense for themselves and the rest of the team.

Wings are what you hope can be your typical ‘3 and D’ guy in Atkinson’s offense. Some wings can fall under “playmakers” role and some might fall under the “bigs” catergory (i.e. DeMarre Carroll).

Bigs are, well, your big men. In today’s game the NBA has gone position-less and traditional post-up centers are hard to find today. Teams are playing undersized centers in order to play at a faster pace and to shoot more three-pointers. The Nets currently have two players taller than 6-10: Jarrett Allen and Timofey Mozgov and one, Trevor Booker, just under that.

So, we take a look at where they stand in terms of these three categories and who fits where.



  • Jeremy Lin
  • D’Angelo Russell
  • Caris LeVert
  • Spencer Dinwiddie
  • Isaiah Whitehead
  • Sean Kilpatrick
  • Archie Goodwin

We’ve heard it enough, but we expect a starting backcourt of Jeremy Lin and D’Angelo Russell with the two sharing responsibilities. Caris LeVert is more of a wing but he can handle the rock as well. Spencer Dinwiddie is a backup point who the Nets hope can hit a few more three’s on offense and can help clog the passing lanes on defense. As for Sean Kilpatrick -- he’s mostly a scoring wing. He struggles when he’s the facilitator of the offense.


  • Allen Crabbe
  • Caris LeVert
  • DeMarre Carroll
  • Isaiah Whitehead
  • Sean Kilpatrick
  • Joe Harris

Allen Crabbe is likely going to be the starter at the small forward position. He’s out there to shoot three’s and attract attention out on the perimeter. Or will it be Caris LeVert, who the Nets think can play the either guard position or the small forward

And what about DeMarre Carroll who started 72 games last year in Toronto. He will get time at the 3, but since the Nets lack perimeter shooting in the frontcourt, expect to see him get serious minutes with the bigs.

Perhaps the most intriguing wing is Isaiah Whitehead, who Kenny Atkinson thinks could have a Marcus Smart-type of role since can handle the rock and play defense. He’s a strong guard who can also play the point or spot up.

Joe Harris is a perimeter player — the top three-point shooter on the Nets last season ... known around the HSS Center as the ‘poor man’s Kyle Korver’. Harris has the ability to put the ball down and take it to the hole. He can be good in stretches.


  • Timofey Mozgov
  • Trevor Booker
  • Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
  • Quincy Acy
  • Jarrett Allen
  • DeMarre Carroll

Brooklyn’s bigs aren’t what we expected. One or two of the six listed can hit a three-pointer (Acy & Carroll) although Timofey Mozgov says he’s going to give it shot. Moreover, they’re extremely undersized and they’ll need to gang rebound so they don’t get destroyed on the boards. Mozgov will play a key role in doing the dirty work down low, along with setting good picks and finding the open man. Booker and Hollis-Jefferson are your hustle guys that do the little things that don’t show up in the box score. Jarrett Allen? They hope he can become a ‘lobs and blocks’ type of big. He also has a mid-range game, but nobody knows when he’ll be ready.


The Nets have 13 roster spots filled “officially” with another two non-guaranteed, that is Dinwiddie and Goodwin. They have until October to guarantee their deals. Of course, a trade can happen in the meantime ... like it did Tuesday.

Marks and Atkinson have filled the roster to the point where most of their guys can play several positions. It’s not quite position-less basketball, but wait a few days.