Thunder Nets Basketball

60th overall pick and Nets draftee Cory Jefferson. (AP)

Since 1976, the last pick in the NFL draft has been referred to -- with tongue firmly planted in cheek -- as  "Mr. Irrelevant." The dubious honor even comes with some hardware, "The Lowsman Trophy," a play on the Heisman with the player fumbling a football.

The NBA's version of Mr. Irrelevant has changed quite a bit over the years. The most recent king of irrelevancy is Brooklyn draft property, as the Nets selected Cory Jefferson with the 60th and final selection in the 2014 draft with a pick that they bought from the San Antonio Spurs. The 6'9" Baylor product has a legitimate chance to make the Nets roster, and if he does he would be the third Mr. Irrelevant in four years to make the NBA following Isaiah Thomas (2011, Kings) and Robert Sacre (2012, Lakers).

It hasn't always been number 60. From 1948 to 1986, the draft did not have a limited number of rounds, with teams picking until they did not want to pick any longer. This system produced Mr. Irrelevants like Willie Horton -- no, not THAT Willie Horton -- in the 21st round of the 1968 draft, and Steve Martin -- not that Steve Martin either -- with the 202nd overall pick in the 1979 draft. Like virtually all Mr. Irrelevants of this era, neither ever played in the NBA.

The NBA drafts of yesteryear were so long that Carl Lewis -- actually, yes, THAT Carl Lewis -- was drafted 208th overall by the Chicago Bulls in 1984, despite never playing high school or college basketball. But even with basketball absent on his CV, the ten-time Olympic medalist in track and field wasn't Mr. Irrelevant, as 20 players were taken after.

The probability of a Mr. Irrelevant making an NBA roster increased exponentially as the NBA draft was curtailed to seven rounds in 1987, then three rounds in 1988, and finally the current two-round system in 1989. While more Mr. Irrelevants have made NBA rosters since the late 1980s, their relevancy has not increased all that greatly, with only one player averaging over 7 points per game in an NBA uniform.

In honor of Mr. Jefferson, let's look at the non-illustrious history of the top three "Mr.Irrelevants" in NBA history.

next-2

 

Progress Report #1

We've already gotten some interesting suggestions.

Several calls to bring back Sly, the NJ Nets mascot:

Over at Reddit, hueypriest suggests, "New mascot needs to be a badass but huggable pit bull, or Jerry Stackhouse."
... MORE →

 

With BrooklyKnight Gone, The Brooklyn Game Announces A Nationwide Search for the Brooklyn Nets New Mascot!

With BrooklyKnight Gone, The Brooklyn Game Announces A Nationwide Search for the Brooklyn Nets New Mascot!

After the bold move to sack the BrooklyKnight, the Nets have the opportunity for a much-needed fresh start in the mascot department. But after the horrors of the past two seasons, the team clearly cannot be allowed to make this decision on their own. You, the fans, must weigh in.

How to enter: Send us your ideas for the next Nets mascot in the comments section, on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #MyBrooklynMascot, or by emailing us at devin(at)thebrooklyngame(dot)com. Soon, we'll post all the ideas, and allow you to vote on your favorites. When you've picked your top 3, we'll decide the winner.

While we can't guarantee the Nets will use your winning entry, we can guarantee that the winner will be wildly celebrated with a post on The Brooklyn Game AND pick up a free t-shirt, courtesy of The Brooklyn Game. Don't worry, we've ensured that Paul McCartney is not eligible.


He tries so hard.

The fine print: by sending us an image or text on social media or through email, you acknowledge that you hold all relevant intellectual property rights to the idea and/or image, and give us the rights to showcase said property on The Brooklyn Game. Part-time contributors to The Brooklyn Game are free to enter. All full-time employees of The Brooklyn Game, plus legendary Beatles guitarist Paul McCartney, are ineligible. You must be 13 or older to enter.

And one more time for posterity: be gone, BrooklyKnight. (Note: not the guy who had to play him in costume. That guy seems very nice and incredibly athletic.)

Happy designing!

 

James Jones, Andrei Kirilenko

Andrei Kirilenko in the playoffs (AP)

In a Russian tabloid SovSport, Andrei Kirilenko told a reporter that the Nets intend to compete for a championship in the upcoming season, before taking some parting shots at former coach Jason Kidd.

Via NetsDaily, who provided the translation:

"We intend to seriously compete for the title," said Kirilenko at point in the interview, later adding that "everyone is waiting for a championship victory from Brooklyn.

It'll be difficult. The Nets are a year older, let Paul Pierce go for financial reasons, and the East is suddenly flush with talent. But that's the right attitude for a veteran to have.

Kirilenko also alleged Kidd wasn't ready for both a coaching job or the bright lights of being a leader in New York City:

As he has previously, Kirilenko seemed to diss Kidd, at one point suggesting he may not have wanted to deal with the pressure of coaching in New York, "So the pressure is huge. And Kidd couldn’t handle it. Or maybe didn’t want to." He called the team's second round exit a "lack of success." (Kirilenko's wife, Masha, publicly criticized Kidd for not playing the veteran in the playoffs.)

The criticism got harsher, more so than in previous interviews.

"Basically he was not able to do much of anything, if you look at the big picture – we have to admit that fact," says Kirilenko, throwing his arms open. "There were objective reasons. Our starting center, Brook Lopez, injured himself early and was out for the whole season. There were health problems with other players. But the serious goals set before the club were not cancelled. We were serious about fighting for the title."

"When Kidd became head of the team, no one really knew what to expect," he added. "Of course he had colossal experience as a player but no coaching experience. Or reputation. At the beginning it was difficult. What else could it be when you’re losing more games than you’re winning? Things were a bit easier for me as I was injured at the time and couldn’t be on the court and do anything about it, no matter how much I wanted to. So, inside, I was calm."

By saying Kidd wasn't able to do much of anything, Kirilenko echoed the criticism from an anonymous scout in November that said Kidd was a total non-factor on the bench early in the season.

This isn't Kirilenko's first lap around the Kidd criticism track. Back in January, I asked Kirilenko about Kidd's progress as a coach. He acknowledged that things were getting better, but also added that it was a confusing process. "In the beginning of the season when we started, we were kind of wondering, 'what are we doing? Why are we doing this?' A lot of talking, like people sometimes didn’t understand," Kirilenko said.

NetsDaily -- Andrei Kirilenko: "We intend to seriously compete for the title"

Related: The Ultimate Jason Kidd Timeline

 

Brooklyn Nets center Mason Plumlee will work out against the United States men's national basketball team in Las Vegas later this month, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:

Mason and older brother Miles are both products of Duke University, coached by Mike Krzyzewski, who also coaches the US men's basketball team. It pays off to succeed in a major program. (Also, to be good at basketball.) Nets team physicians Riley Williams and Mike Farber are also on the official staff.

The national team has a training camp scheduled for late July in Las Vegas, in advance of the FIBA World Cup, which takes place between August 30th and September 14th. Unfortunately, since Plumlee's not an official part of the team, he won't get another chance to play against naturalized Filipino citizen Andray Blatche, who is not Filipino, until next season.

Either way, it's an honor for Plumlee, who was selected 22nd overall by the Nets in last year's NBA draft after four years at Duke and played his way into a rotation spot with Brooklyn.

 

arnaudfz via instagram light

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arnaudfz via instagram

 

After a disappointing season in 2012-2013, Teletovic blossomed into Brooklyn's most reliable shooter off the bench and an important cog for the future. In 2013-2014, he shot 38% from beyond the arc and will most likely jockey for a spot in the 3-Point Contest this year in New York.

And, just in case you've forgotten, feel free to relive Teletovic's 34 point game in which he went supernova on Dallas in late January.

Nets fans, just how good is Mirza Teletovic? Be sure to vote on our poll, tweet at us or leave a comment here!

 

Uni-Watch

Uni-Watch

A whole bunch of alleged jerseys from Adidas' upcoming NBA catalog have leaked and were posted on Uni-Watch last night. There, you can find the Brooklyn Nets and their would-be Christmas Day Uniforms. Stylistically, the jerseys have some few differences worth pointing out: the front will have the "B" logo and the back will have the player's first names.

Since Adidas doesn't know the 2014-2015 NBA Schedule yet, they often make up mock drafts for all 30 teams, just in case.

However, after two straight blowouts on the holiday-- one at the hands of Paul Pierce in 2012 and then one with Pierce on their side in 2013-- it's safe to say that Brooklyn will probably get Christmas Day off this time around.

 

 

GettyImages

GettyImages

The Nets have hired journeyman assistant coach Jay Humphries to help Lionel Hollins and his staff, reports Adrian Wojnarowski. Humphries joins a staff that now includes Paul Westphal, Joe Wolf, Tony Brown and John Welch.

Humphries is likely to be the team's development coach, having served as the D-League's Reno Bighorns coach from 2008-2011. He's also served coaching stints in China and South Korea.

Additionally, Humphries played in the NBA from 1984-1995 with stops in Phoenix, Milwaukee, Utah and Boston.

 

"Well, that does it. Brooklyn is officially dead." So begins an article on Vice about a music video by Catey Shaw, who they describe as the "Rebecca Black of Brooklyn gentrification." Note the central role of Brooklyn Nets gear. What do you think: proud tribute to the Nets hometown or abomination?

 

Alan Anderson, Patty Mills

(AP)

Alan Anderson is returning to the Brooklyn Nets on a 2-year deal, his agency announces. The second year is player option, and our Devin Kharpertian reports that Anderson's deal is worth $2.6 million.

Anderson, who opted out of his original deal last month, will continue to be the crucial 3-and-D reserve off the bench.

Following Pierce's departure and Anderson's return, Brooklyn's roster has begun to take a definitive shape for the 2014-2015 season.

 

Billy King (AP)

Billy King (AP)

UPDATE: Alan Anderson has re-signed with Brooklyn.

The departure of Paul Pierce has marked a new era in Brooklyn basketball as the Nets have already begun to temper their record-setting spending. But where does that leave the Nets for the 2014-2015 season? Here is a handy cheat sheet from HoopsHype that lays out the current assets and obligations:

Via HoopsHype

Via HoopsHype

Salary Cap: Yes, we are still paying Travis Outlaw. Four. Million. Dollars.

Beyond that sad news, even with the salary cap's 7.5% increase to 63 million, the Nets currently sit at a little over 87 million--which, unfortunately, means that the Nets are more than a little hampered moving forward with any moves. With no money to replace Pierce, the Nets may have to rely on a bevy of veteran contracts and rookies to anchor the bottom part of their roster -- assuming, of course, that the Nets continue to express unwillingness to pay a hefty luxury tax.

The Nets' masterplan leaves great roster flexibility in the summer of 2016, when perhaps Kevin Durant will be available. As of now, only Deron Williams will be under contract and Mason Plumlee and new additions Sergey Karasev and Jarrett Jack will have team options. They still plan on signing Bojan Bogdanovic to the mini-MLE that would be worth $10.3 million over three years, but it not official yet. Brooklyn still holds the team option on point guard Jorge Gutierrez and have until training camp to decide. And it looks like Kevin Garnett will likely return to Brooklyn.

So, for now, the Nets sit well over the cap with just 10 players signed. Where do they go next? All indications point towards the signing of rookie Markel Brown. Before Livingston and Pierce moved on, it seemed unlikely that Jefferson or Thames would make the roster, but they may keep Jefferson around after all.

If Bogdanovic does indeed come over for the mini MLE, they will fill the remainder of their roster with the rookies or more veterans on minimum contracts like they did last year. Donte Greene, a staple of Nets Summer League basketball, almost signed with Brooklyn a few years ago before breaking his foot and may be a cheap option to finish out the roster. One source reported that they may be interested in Francisco Garcia.

To recap:

Departures: Paul Pierce, Shaun Livingston, Andray Blatche

Arrivals: Jarrett Jack, Sergey Karasev, Alan Anderson 

Likely Arriving: Kevin Garnett, Bojan Bogdanovic

Rookies (Yet to Sign): Markel Brown, Corey Jefferson, Xavier Thames

Potential Depth Chart:
Williams/Jack/Teague
Johnson/Anderson/Brown
Kirilenko/Bogdanovic/Karasev
Garnett/Teletovic/Jefferson
Lopez/Plumlee