In a podcast Friday of the NBA off-season, Danny Leroux of RealGM and Kevin Pelton think the Nets have jumped “into the fringe” of playoff contention after a “volume” off-season.
What’s a “volume” off-season? Leroux explained it this way:
“Brooklyn made a series of interesting decisions this summer by adding volume over a single individual or two that could really help them,” said Leroux. “And that volume, to me, makes them a lot more resilient in terms of injuries, and the big question for them is also going to be who plays?”
Pelton agrees, saying the off-season has boosted the Nets bench and that is a big reason why they are now part of the “fringe” group that could battle for a spot in the post-season.
One issue both see as a potential irritant is how the Nets will play D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie.
“If it’s a meritocracy, if that’s what Kenny Atkinson can do, this can work well. But if there are certain guys that have pressures in place —and we’re not necessarily talking about D’Angelo Russell here,” Leroux said. “I think D’Angelo Russell, I mean, Russell vs. Dinwiddie, or playing those guys together is a very interesting part of this.”
Pelton thinks power forward will be an interesting competition as well, with the addition of Jared Dudley, Kenneth Faried and Ed Davis.
“Power forward will be an interesting spot for them. They’ve got Jared Dudley now who is still a pretty positive RPM and plus/minus player last year in Phoenix, despite the fact he is no longer the kind of athlete that he once was during his prime, he’s still such a heady player. He’s always in the right spot, that particularly stuck out on last year’s Phoenix team,
“Then you have Kenneth Faried in the mix for back-up minutes in the front court. Will he get a chance to play or will they instead try and create some more playing time on the wing by shifting DeMarre Carroll down to 4 on a regular basis and playing him as a backup to Rondae Hollis-Jefferson?”
The two also note that management and ownership may have to decide between pushing for the playoffs ... and planning for the Draft, where the Nets will have their own pick and the Nuggets’ first, protected 1-through-12.
“I wonder how Brooklyn is going to approach the season with regards to competitiveness. Maybe they do kind of like the Clippers where they say ‘being competitive will help us get free agents’ because with all the moves they made this summer it looks like they are planning on at least attempting to makes some noise in 2019,” said Leroux.
“But this is the first year in a long time they’ve had their own pick unencumbered, no swap, no anything, so that would be in many other circumstances an incentive to tank. It could also be determined by how the first two months of the season go.”
Pelton says the Nets situation is not that different from other “fringe” playoff teams. He thinks the trade deadline could be trigger point.
“I think often teams will go into the season thinking, ‘Okay let’s give it a run for the playoffs’ and then if that falls south that’s when you all of a sudden start maybe dealing some of those veterans,” Pelton said.
“DeMarre Carroll could be a candidate for a deadline trade to a contender, and I’m on the record saying they’ll eventually get positive trade value for him, despite also getting the first round pick from Toronto to swallow his salary last summer.”
Pelton thinks the Nets could “pick up some small asset” —perhaps a second rounder— for Carroll while giving him a shot at the post-season.
(Thanks to ND poster layup_line for his transcription.)