New Look Brooklyn Nets


Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Caris LeVert, D’Angelo Russell (Nicole Sweet/USA TODAY Sports)

Mac Ireland, Staff Writer

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Caris LeVert, D’Angelo Russell (Nicole Sweet/USA TODAY Sports)

In one of the wildest offseasons in NBA history, the Brooklyn Nets did not shy away from getting involved in the madness. With the season less than two weeks away from tip-off now is the time to preview what challenges this team will endure with so many new faces.

During the offseason, Brooklyn made multiple trades that brought back young talented players as well as savvy┬áveterans. The biggest trade the ball club made was one involving Nets all-time leading scorer Brook Lopez. In a major shift towards rebuilding the Nets shipped Lopez to the Los Angles Lakers along with the 27th pick in this year’s draft for Timofey Mozgov and D’Angelo Russell. At 21 years old Russell fits the youth movement happening in Brooklyn. The Nets also executed trades for 25-year-old sharpshooter Allen Crabbe and veteran small forward DeMarre Carroll. With a new roster here is what to expect from Brooklyn this season.

The number one most important thing for this team going into the season is their chemistry. With Lopez gone the team lost their vocal leader. This means someone will have to step up and fill those shoes. While there is no definite replacement right now hopefully Russell can fulfill the leadership role as the season progresses. Having a team leader is not the most important aspect of the team’s chemistry. What’s important is how well everyone plays together on the floor. Often when new players come in they have to adjust not only to the coaches style of play, but they need to gel well with everyone else on the court. The sooner guys can find their roles in Brooklyn the better the team will perform.

Another big thing to look for is how well Russell performs. In Los Angles Russell wasn’t given much of an opportunity to take over. In his two seasons with the Lakers, he averaged about 28 minutes per game. Last season he managed to score 15.6 points on 13.8 shots per game. He also saw an increase in his assists per game going from 3.3 his rookie season to 4.8 last season. Russell is expected to receive┬ámuch more playing time this year and will be expected to have the offense run through him at times. Expect his numbers to make quite a leap with him getting more opportunities to make plays.

Another player to look out for is Allen Crabbe. In Portland Crabbe was averaging 10.7 points off the bench and shooting 44% from three. With two talented players starting in the backcourt for Portland Crabbe faced the same fate as Russell in terms of playing time. With Brooklyn’s roster being loaded with guards Crabbe will have to fight for minutes, but luckily for him, he fits Kenny Atkinson’s go-go three-point system perfectly. That is why he will be starting at the three position at the start of the season.

With all the trades that went down this offseason, the Eastern Conference has become even weaker. From top to bottom there is a drastic imbalance in talent. The Celtics and Cavaliers are expected to battle it out for the number one seed while the Raptors, Wizards, and Bucks are anticipated to make a return to the playoffs. That leaves three playoff teams from last season predicted not to make the playoffs. Those three teams are the Bulls, Pacers, and Hawks. All three of these teams either traded away their star players or lost them in free agency. It is clear that they will be at the bottom of the standings as they rebuild towards the future. That opens up a chance for other teams to make the playoffs. The Nets would have to compete with the likes of Philadelphia, Miami, Detroit, and Charlotte for the 8th seed. While these teams were below average last year each of them is believed to improve tremendously which hurts Brooklyn’s chances at making a run at the 8th seed.

Expect the Nets to finish the season with a losing record. The Vegas line has them at over/under 27.5 wins. This team is definitely capable of winning at least 30 games, but whenever a new group of teammates comes together for the first time there will be ups and downs. 27 wins is about right considering the team only won 20 games last season after a miserable January and February.