When the Brooklyn Nets hired Sean Marks in the middle of the season in 2016, their asset cupboard was bare. A year and a half later he’s slowly starting to fill the roster with young talent despite a lack of assets. At the time, the Nets General Manager position was not a highly sought after one, they were one of the worst teams in the league and all their picks were heading to the Boston Celtics. Marks inherited a disaster of a situation but have made many shrewd moves that have the Nets better off now than they were before he took the job.
The summer of 2017 has been a successful one for Marks and the Nets. Prior to the draft, they were able to trade for a potential building block in the Los Angeles Lakers D’Angelo Russell because they were willing to take on the Timofey Mozgov contract for Brook Lopez and the 27th pick in the draft. Russell has had a tough go in LA and there are very serious questions about his approach to the game. There certainly is a lot of talent there to be unlocked as evident by the skills in the plays below. Russell is not overly athletic but has a craftiness in his game that lets him get to the rim and finish, he is fully capable of making passes off the dribble and has great vision as he found Larry Nance under the rim for a dunk and is never afraid of big moments.
The Nets also added Allen Crabbe from the Portland Trail Blazers who they tried signing last off-season. Crabbe will be the team’s long-range bomber as he brings his 41.1% career three-point percentage. His 44.4% from three last season would have led the Nets this past season. This is a huge need for them, as they finished 26th in three point percentage despite being in the top four for attempts. Crabbe is expected to come in and knock down shots like he did for the Blazers.
They also used the draft pick they acquired from the Washington Wizards in the Bojan Bogdanovic trade on a young big from the University of Texas, Jarrett Allen. The 6’11” big is raw offensively and will need to put on some weight to his frame but as of now, he is expected to protect the rim and rebound when he steps on the court.
Marks wasn’t done there, he then added another draft pick to the cupboard when he traded center Justin Hamilton to the Toronto Raptors for their 2018 pick (Lottery Protected) and DeMarre Carroll. Although Carroll has lost a step or two, his best days came when he was part of the surprising 60 wins Hawks when Kenny Atkinson was an assistant. Now reunited in Brooklyn, the hope is Carroll regains his Hawks form and become their 3-D guy.
Last season the Nets surprised teams with how hard they played and hustled their way to 20 wins. Marks’ rebuild of the Nets is beginning to take shape despite limited assets. He has a young guard with star potential in Russell, a long-range sniper in Crabbe, and has the Raptors pick in next year’s draft if it is conveyed. It would be a mistake to think the rebuild is complete, it’ll be a long road for them but they are heading the right direction with these shrewd moves. It will help that they are in a weakened Eastern conference but they are setting themselves up to be successful in the long haul.
- The Never Ending Offseason – This summer the offseason feels like it’s never going to end. As we enter the dog days of the NBA offseason we still have a few stories to monitor, the stalemate between the New York Knicks and Carmelo Anthony as well as the big question as to what will happen with Kyrie Irving and the Cleveland Cavaliers. All of this is great for the NBA as they continue to steal headlines from the NFL as training camp opens up.
- The Kyrie Trade Request – Kyrie’s trade request came pretty late in the offseason and the reason why this is difficult. The earliest a team can trade someone they signed in the offseason is December 15th, it makes things challenging in that regard. If the Cavs wanted to make a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves for Andrew Wiggins, they couldn’t include Jeff Teague because they just signed him this summer so I can see a scenario where Irving comes to camp with the Cavs but won’t end the season as a Cav.
- Check out the latest feature, the Jump Ball University. Great for beginners trying to learn about basketball and good to use as a refresher for knowledgeable fans.
- The Brooklyn Nets the surprise team in the East
- D’Angelo Russell looking like a Top Three Pick
- All Stats came from NBA.com/Stats and Basketball-Reference.com
- Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke