The Nets have a loaded frontcourt with plenty of options, highlighted by the 5 spot.
Prior to Monday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Steve Nash spoke about LaMarcus Aldridge, the seven-time NBA All-Star who signed with the Nets on Sunday. The Nets head coach is already setting the bar high, touting the newest (6’11”) big as a potential starter for the Nets at the five.
“He definitely can compete to start but we’ll see how it plays out,” Nash said. “We got to get him up to speed with his conditioning, integrated with the team, comfortable with what we do and with his teammates. There’s plenty of time so he definitely can start.
“For us, it’s more about that connectivity and finding that balance with different rotations, different lineups, different players feeling like they having an understanding together. That’s what we need to develop.”
What this means for current starting center, DeAndre Jordan, who has manned those duties since Jarrett Allen was sent to Cleveland, that’s unclear. In the interim, DJ will start for the Nets against the Timberwolves.
Steve Nash also compared and contrasted Aldridge to Blake Griffin, Brooklyn’s other big buyout homerun swing.
“I think he’s a scoring 5” explained Nash. “He’s good in the post. He’s good around the basket and he can also shoot it to three. At 6’11, being able to stretch the floor like that is an interesting profile. Blake can make threes. Blake is more of a playmaker I think at this stage; LaMarcus is more of a post-up, interior scorer that can stretch to three, so slightly different profile.”
Before diving in and seeing how Aldridge will fit and play with his new team and teammates, he will have to go through the Nets “ramp-up” schedule to get his conditioning back - similar to what Griffin did. Griffin played his last game as a member of the Pistons on Feb. 12 and his first game with Brooklyn was March 21.
Nash says the ramping up period can stretch from two games to around four games before Aldridge takes the court as a Net.
“We’ll see, he’s gotta ramp up. You know, he hasn’t played for a month. So gotta get his conditioning and ramp-up. So I’d say he probably won’t play for 2, 3, 4 games. We’ll see whatever that is. Not too long. He needs some time to develop his conditioning and then we’ll get him out there.”
Ironically, Aldridge last played against the Nets on March 1 when he scored two points and snagged four rebounds in 15 minutes.