The Brooklyn Nets are Building Something Special

Although it may seem like another bad year for the franchise this has been one of the most exciting ones in Brooklyn. Not only has it been an entertaining 20 win season but it has also been very successful one.

The Brooklyn Nets are currently 3-16 in their last 18 games. They, as we all knew they would stink. The young guys are playing that way and it is very obvious that the team is lacking a go-to presence on both sides of the ball. There are some exciting prospects but the bottom line is that the team is not very talented. The lack of talent is a continuing theme of the last two years. For the third year in a row, the team is struggling to pass the 20 win mark. But no Brooklyn team has fought as hard night in and night out like this current squad. Although it may seem like another bad year for the franchise this has been one of the most exciting ones in Brooklyn. Caris LeVert, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and D’Angelo Russell make up the young core of the team but all three are prone to injury. Spencer Dinwiddie and Jarrett Allen have both emerged this year but it remains to be seen whether or not they can sustain this current level of success. At the end of the day, this season has provided more questions than answers and left quite a bit unknown moving forward for the franchise. But no Brooklyn team has fought as hard night in and night out like this current squad. Although it may seem like another bad year for the franchise this has been one of the most exciting ones in Brooklyn. Not only has it been an entertaining 20 win season but it has also been very successful one.

No matter how many wins this team ends up with they will be considered the most exciting and rewarding team to take the court in the Barclays Center. This is the sixth season in Brooklyn and the previous five have all been horrible-awful-good-for-nothing-messes so the standard isn’t set too high. The first three years included playoff runs but at what cost? Basically, the team has been unable to draft any young talent since giving everything up for Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Deron Williams. As a result, no high profile free agents except for the likes of Gerald Wallace and other complete busts have been interested in Brooklyn. All of those draft picks were given up so the team could win a championship. Instead, two first round exits and a beat down by Miami in the second round. The future was sold off for a present which we all knew would amount to nothing. Those teams were old, slow, and not that fun to watch. Eventually, after Jason Kidd and Lionel Hollins tried their bests with what they were given, the bottom fell out and the team completely spiraled. Usually, this fall to the bottom would be rewarded with draft picks (check out Philadelphia). Instead, the team was left with no present, a boring past, and no future. Thanks to Sean Marks and Kenny Atkinson those dark days are finally over. Even though this is the third straight year where 20 wins seem like an overachievement the team has both a present and a future.

The Present: Caris LeVert, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, D’Angelo Russell, Joe Harris, Jarrett Allen

All five of these guys have the potential to somehow be mixed and match for one superstar. It is important to do two things while enjoying this current version of the Nets: watch these guys develop every night and do not get attached. Their development functions as a positive in two ways, they will either make the team better or become more enticing trade bait. All of these guys are worth checking out every night just to watch them play. They’re fun, young, and try pretty hard for the most part. These five could make up the core of a team or all five could be shipped out for a rental Superstar à la the Nuggets and Carmelo trade. Enjoy the here and now but understand that these guys are just on one long interview the rest of this year and the whole of next year.

Also, the next tier of tradeable players on the team (Jeremy Lin, Allen Crabbe, DeMarre Carroll, Jahlil Okafor, Nik Stauskas) all come with some type of contract, playing, or other baggage. But they are still essential pieces towards either a trade or rotation players on a decent team. Right now, the present Nets have around 11 players which all make for exciting day-to-day viewing and also hold the potential to be moved at any time.

The Future: Draft picks. All the draft picks. The Nets last season in New Jersey was the 2011-2012 season. The first table is all of the draft picks since the team moved to Brooklyn.

The following table shows all of the teams upcoming draft picks. You can assume that these picks will probably be in the lottery after this year.  

143 Selections Table
  Totals Shooting Per Game Advanced
Year Lg Rd Pk Player College G MP PTS TRB AST FG% 3P% FT% MP PTS TRB AST WS WS/48 BPM VORP
2017 NBA 1 22 Jarrett Allen University of Texas at Austin 57 1082 461 299 41 .594 .300 .778 19.0 8.1 5.2 0.7 3.3 .146 0.2 0.6
2017 NBA 1 27 Kyle Kuzma University of Utah 63 1872 967 377 111 .447 .362 .690 29.7 15.3 6.0 1.8 2.9 .075 -1.5 0.2
2017 NBA 2 57 Aleksandar Vezenkov                                  
Year Lg Rd Pk Player College G MP PTS TRB AST FG% 3P% FT% MP PTS TRB AST WS WS/48 BPM VORP
2016 NBA 2 55 Marcus Paige University of North Carolina 1 3 0 2 0 .000     3.0 0.0 2.0 0.0 0.0 -0.622 -45.7 0.0
Year Lg Rd Pk Player College G MP PTS TRB AST FG% 3P% FT% MP PTS TRB AST WS WS/48 BPM VORP
2015 NBA 1 29 Chris McCullough Syracuse University 59 532 194 112 15 .426 .306 .548 9.0 3.3 1.9 0.3 0.6 .055 -2.3 0.0
2015 NBA 2 41 Pat Connaughton University of Notre Dame 138 1689 522 210 120 .430 .371 .855 12.2 3.8 1.5 0.9 2.7 .077 -2.0 0.0
Year Lg Rd Pk Player College G MP PTS TRB AST FG% 3P% FT% MP PTS TRB AST WS WS/48 BPM VORP
2013 NBA 1 22 Mason Plumlee Duke University 372 8426 3265 2388 757 .565 .000 .565 22.7 8.8 6.4 2.0 24.3 .139 2.1 8.7
Year Lg Rd Pk Player College G MP PTS TRB AST FG% 3P% FT% MP PTS TRB AST WS WS/48 BPM VORP
2012 NBA 2 57 Ilkan Karaman                                  

Only one of these players is currently on the team while the Nets still hold the rights of Aleksandar Vezenkov and Juan Pablo Vaulet. 

Below is a quick overview of the teams' upcoming picks: 

2018  Raptors lottery protected first-round pick. Less favorable of Lakers and Magic second round picks

2019 Nets OWN first round pick. Second-rounder from Knicks

2020 Nets OWN first round pick. No second rounder

2021 Nets OWN both first and second-round pick.

The team has already hit rock bottom. They've been there for a while now. The saying goes, once you hit bottom you have nowhere else to go but up. It would seem that if the team can keep on making smart and informed decisions that up may actually be the direction they're headed.

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