NBA Off-Season Preview: Brooklyn Nets
Record (21-61) The Brooklyn Nets need all the help they can get after finishing this season with the second-worst record in the East, but unfortunately, they won’t be getting it from this year’s draft. The Nets should theoretically have a lottery pick. However, due to a blockbuster trade with the Celtics in 2013 that sent Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry and D.J. White to Brooklyn, Boston now receives the team’s coveted third overall pick in 2016. A 2011 trade with the Los Angeles Clippers also strips the Nets of the 33rd overall pick. That leaves Brooklyn with just the 55th overall pick late in the second round. The Nets best bet is to shop around for a first round pick. Even though Brooklyn has bought draft picks in four of the last five years, all of the purchased rights have been for mid-to-high second-rounders. They must be willing to trade a valuable player or spend an extra million or two in order to secure a first round selection. Brooklyn, if nothing else, can use their second round pick to pluck either a point or shooting guard. Jarrett Jack, who is recovering from a torn ACL, is the team’s top returning guard. But with back-up point guard Shane Larkin opting out of the last year of his contract, and fellow guard Wayne Ellington debating to do the same, the Nets lack depth on the perimeter. There’s no telling what players will be available by that point in the draft, but North Carolina’s Marcus Paige and Texas’ Isaiah Taylor may be enticing options if their names are still on the board. Wayne Selden (Kansas) and Yogi Ferrell (Indiana) might draw some attention as well. With power forward Thomas Robinson also opting out of the final year of his contract, the Nets could also pursue a replacement that would provide relief for starter Thaddeus Young and accompany center Brook Lopez down-low. Notre Dame’s Zach Auguste and Kansas’ Perry Ellis may be fitting if Brooklyn decides to go that route. This one pick clearly will not be enough to satisfy Brooklyn’s long list of needs, meaning they’ll have to dip into the free agent market or design a trade to complete the equation. Point guards Rajon Rando, Brandon Jennings and Mike Conley are all up for grabs this offseason, while power forwards Al Horford and David West will also test free agency. If the Nets do decide to trade, no one on the team is immune from being dealt. Brooklyn only gets serious value from Lopez and Young, while Jack and sixth-man Bojan Bogdanovic, who played in 79 games and averaged 11.2 points per game this season, may be second-tier players used in a trade. It will take an extensive combination of draft selections, free agents and trades in order for the Nets to rise from the depths of the Atlantic Division. They fared much better than the lowly Philadelphia 76ers last season, but only won seven of 41 road games and went 12-40 against the Eastern Conference. Brooklyn will carry a 10-game losing streak into the start of next year.
NBA Off-Season Previews
Atlantic Division: Boston Celtics – Brooklyn Nets – New York Knicks – Philadelphia 76ers – Toronto Raptors Central Division: Chicago Bulls – Cleveland Cavaliers – Detroit Pistons – Indiana Pacers – Milwaukee Bucks Southeast Division: Atlanta Hawks – Charlotte Hornets – Miami Heat – Orlando Magic – Washington Wizards Southwest Division: Dallas Mavericks – Houston Rockets – Memphis Grizzlies – New Orleans Pelicans – San Antonio Spurs Northwest Division: Denver Nuggets – Minnesota Timberwolves – Oklahoma City Thunder – Portland Trail Blazers – Utah Jazz Pacific Division: Golden State Warriors – Los Angeles Clippers – Los Angeles Lakers – Phoenix Suns – Sacramento Kings