Kia Season Preview 2016-17
2016-17 Season Preview: Brooklyn Nets
The Nets have only been in Brooklyn for four years, but a second new era is already underway. Gone are the big names and bigger contracts, and as the Nets wait to regain control of their draft future, new GM Sean Marks is taking on the long-term task of trying to build a franchise that can contend consistently.
The Nets hired former Atlanta Hawks assistant coach Kenny Atkinson, known for his player development skills, as their new coach … Marks traded Thaddeus Young to the Indiana Pacers and picked up a first round pick, which they used on Caris LeVert … Signed Jeremy Lin and Randy Foye in free agency.
Welcome to Brook-Lin. Despite trading many veterans the last two years in search of assets, the Nets hung on to former All-Star center Brook Lopez, who will team with Jeremy Lin, returning to the New York area where the Linsanity began.
The Nets have spent much of the last six months investing in infrastructure — hiring a new front office, coaching and training staff. With that foundation in place and an organizational focus on player development, the Nets look to create something lasting, rather than making a quick grab at a title.
Perhaps the most interesting test of Brooklyn’s focus on player development may be Anthony Bennett, the former No. 1 overall selection who hasn’t been able to find an NBA home.
MAN ON THE SPOT
Right around the trade deadline last season, the Nets hired Marks from the San Antonio Spurs to take over their basketball operations. Thus far, Marks has shown patience, trading veterans for Draft picks and looking for long-term assets, as well as creativity, hiring people from the legal community and the Naval Special Warfare Command. Marks will be given time, all the success or failure will be credited to Marks.
Jeremy Lin | 11.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 3 apg
Lin leaves the Charlotte Hornets and gets the chance to move into a starting role.
Randy Foye | 5.9 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 2 apg
Veteran combo guard comes over from Oklahoma City, adds versatility to the backcourt.
Bojan Bogdanovic | 11.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.3 apg
Has only missed seven games over his first two NBA seasons.
Trevor Booker | 5.9 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1.1 apg
Another veteran presence, brought in from Utah. A high-energy player who should help out on the boards.
Brook Lopez | 20.6 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 2 apg
After a few injury-riddled campaigns, Lopez has played in 72 and 73 games the last two seasons.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson | 5.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.5 apg
Missed time with injuries his rookie season, but showed promise as an elite defender.
Luis Scola | 8.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 0.9 apg
Could challenge Booker for a spot in the starting five.
Greivis Vasquez | 5.7 ppg, 2 rpg, 4 apg
Veteran guard gives the Nets a steadying hand off the bench at point guard.
THE BOTTOM LINE
After years of promoting sky-high expectations, the Nets are done promising titles any time soon. These new Nets will look to win from within, which may happen later than sooner.
Lang Whitaker has covered the NBA since 1998. You can e-mail him here or follow him on Twitter.
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