The Nets are in the process of building up a team
Sean Marks, the New Zealand born, R.C. Buford prodigy came to the Nets facing a complete rebuild. To say he inherited a disaster, might be an understatement. Billy King had completely set back the Nets as a competitive franchise by making short-minded moves with the Boston Celtics. The trade that brought in KG, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry, left the Nets with zero first-round draft picks from 2016-2018. Subsequently, following a failed title run, the Nets tore it down and let any talent they had left walk out the door. The NBA allows big market teams to rebuild at an accelerated pace thru free agency and high draft picks, when you have no draft picks, there is no foundation for a rebuild.
With that dire situation at hand, Marks and his team went to work, carving out a strategy to at the very least speed up the timeline for a Nets rebuild. As the 2016-2017 season came to the trade deadline, one of the few remaining bright spots on Brooklyn, Bojan Bogdanovic was shipped to Washington in exchange for a 2017 first round pick. That picked turned into Texas Longhorn Center Jarret Allen, a long, athletic, rim-protecting center who can develop into a defensive anchor for the new-look Nets. With no star power, and no championship aspirations in the coming years, Marks went out and was able to acquire assets, by taking on some awful contracts from teams in a package with their assets.
The first move that was made, trading Brook Lopez to the Los Angeles Lakers for Timofey Mozgov, who has three years left on his contract for over $70 million dollars, and the real prize of the trade, D’Angelo Russell. Russell, the former 2nd overall pick by the Lakers in the 2015 NBA Draft gives the Nets a potential franchise player to build around. Oozing with talent, the 21-year-old was in a bad situation after his Nick Young scandal and constant head-butting with the coaching staff is offered a fresh start in a new place that will give him every opportunity to flourish under coach Kenny Atkinson.
The second move that was made, a trade with the Toronto Raptors for Demarre Carroll, and a 1st and 2nd round pick in the 2018 Draft. This trade allowed the Nets to upgrade their current roster while acquiring draft picks for the future. The last trade was essentially a freebie from the Portland Trail Blazers. The Nets exchanged Andrew Nicholson for Allen Crabbe, a move that was a salary dump that gave the nets more NBA-level talent for the next couple years.
These moves may not seem like franchise-changing deals, but for Brooklyn, it gives them hope for the future and most likely will get them out of the basement of the league this year. Fans of the nets, couldn’t ask more of their new GM, showing he may have learned a thing or two from his previous stop in San Antonio, now he needs to find his Tim Duncan and lead the Nets to a 20-year run of success behind a Hall of Fame player. Ok, that part is easier said than done, but he has at least shown promise in his short tenure as General Manager.
As for the current outlook of the 2017-2018 season, the Brooklyn Nets will look to improve on their 20 win season from a year ago. That looks like a figure they should be able to pass with the improvements made to their current roster. A starting lineup of Jeremy Lin, D’Angelo Russell, Allen Crabbe, Demarre Carroll, and Timofey Mozgov gives the nets some decent talent, that will allow them to be competitive night in and night out against the bottom half of the league, and maybe sneak a few wins against better competition if a top-tier team takes them for granted. Young players off the bench such as Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen, and Rondae Hollis Jefferson will look to carve out a role as they develop into more important players as the season rolls on. This team will come nowhere near a playoff berth but a record of 30-52 is definitely in reach, which would show a 10 game improvement in the second year of the new Brooklyn Nets regime.