The Nets never wanted to be in this situation, but it’s not the worst situation to be in. Post-trade deadline they have in an interesting and solid team of players and a mountain of picks. It’s very reminiscent of their scrappy Kenny Atkinson teams a few years ago with Dinwiddie in 2019 that had no intensive to tank and built a back in playoff team. It also reminds me of the Clippers with Lou Williams and Montrez Harrell.
Both of the Nets and Clippers had undervalued players in my opinion that could put up All Star type of production, but that had their warts defensively. The Clippers with Williams and Harrell, and the Nets with D’Angelo Russell and to a lesser degree Dinwiddie and Carris LeVert could be primary on-the-ball scorers or elite role players to pair with them. What makes this version of the Nets more interesting than either of those teams is they can be much better defensively. They are custom-built for a star to come in, and with so many assets they likely are and should be looking hard for that player in the off season. In the meantime If they could find their own Lou Williams type of primary ball-handing scorer this team might be frisky in this year’s playoffs.
Kevin Durant, James Harden, Kyrie Irving
These players were turned into
7 First-Round Draft Picks
2 Second-Round Picks
Perhaps the worst aspect of all of this is they do not have the incentive to tank themselves with Houston owning their draft for the foreseeable future. With Houston as bad as they are this season, it would have been the season to blow it up earlier and try to also get a top pick. As it is now they have banked so many wins and taken back talented enough talent that there is no option to tank anyway this late in the game, so who can they add now to give them some scoring punch?
They may already have that guy in Cam Thomas. Everyone knows about the 3 recent 43+ point games. That’s a heck of indications he can get them buckets in a pinch if needed having multiple games like this. No there are 40+ point fluke games that happen. Famously I recall Rodrigue Beaubois putting up one that didn’t amount to anything, but multiple games like that are harder to fluke. It seems real and Thomas may be that bucket getter. Still, at 21 years old, you would like to have some insurance in the playoffs.
That’s Cam Thomas’s Per 36’s. He doesn’t do a lot else at this point, but he is scoring efficiently and at a high volume in the 16 minutes a game he has been playing. He also averaged 23ppg at LSU as a 19-year-old. He certainly has some pop. I think you have to give him the first crack at the role. Going into the playoffs though I’d want someone else behind him just in case to step into the bucket-getter role if it became apparent he wasn’t read, or that had some playoff experience.
There really are only buyout players, Free Agents, and Gleaguers. The prototype himself, Lou Williams came to mind he was just in the NBA last season, but at 36 he’s done. He wasn’t close to his 2019 level and was ineffective. The Gleague was disappointing as well, and I didn’t see any Jordan Crawford types that might deserve a call-up. Of old NBA players out of the league like a Jamal Crawford I didn’t see anyone that made a lot of sense either. Carmelo Anthony who wasn’t that bad last year might if this team didn’t have so many big forwards already. They need a guard.
Call me crazy but I believe Westbrook would be a good buyout candidate for this Nets team. They have almost everything but shot creation and they need another ball handler that can make stuff happen. He might not be good in the playoffs but he is certainly fearless and won’t be overwhelmed like a 21-year-old might could become in the playoffs.
I don’t see anyone with the type of upside he could bring. I still believe he’s capable of having multiple big playoff games and helping this Nets team steal a series. He’s not been that bad this season and while he certainly comes with off-the-court prickly issues so what at the price he would be paid. The resentment wouldn’t be the same, nor the leverage if he was only making a few million as a buyout guy. I think the personal stuff works would work a lot better in that type of situation as it did in Washington. If it seemed off you could cut him in a week. What is there to lose really with little pressure to actually win? I’d give it a try, and if I were Westbrook that type of role and fit seems better than what the Clippers or anyone else could offer. It can be kind of his team as the biggest name.
That’s a pretty talented team with lost of defensive talent that just needs another on the ball guard with some punch and upside in my opinion.
The True Shooting is weak, but I think you can take that for some of the creation and rebounding. This team needs the out-of-position rebounding as well. The defense is bad as well, but he seemed to try harder. For essentially a minimum flier through why not. He’s good enough to have a 20-point triple-double in the playoffs off the bench and help them win a series still. Westbrook would have to be on his best behavior as well. If he’s not send him packing before the playoffs roster has to be set.