Way back when Rod Thorn gave his state of the team address, he called this upcoming free agent class average at best. While he was unable to talk about any specific player (due to NBA rules), you just got the feeling that the Nets wouldn't be too active in free agency. With that being said, there is one guy I want the Nets to take a serious look at. He is Brandon Bass, an Unrestricted Free Agent.
Rod Thorn has been on record saying he wants a "moose.' It is my opinion that if you poll coaches in the NBA, and ask them who is a "moose," Bass' name will come up a number a times. Brandon Bass is a very physical player who just seems to love contact. Bass is very imposing at 6'8" and 250 pounds. He is not all size though, he mixes his size with great athletic ability. Casual NBA fans may recognize Bass from his numerous highlight reel blocks or dunks.
Looking at Brandon's numbers, they don't really jump out at you, but when you think about the minutes he gets and you look at the fact that he is still a young guy (next year will be his 5th in the NBA), one may think he is on the verge of breaking out. Here are his numbers compared to all of our 4s:
Like I said, nothing too spectacular. So why sign him? Well, for one, he will come cheap. The contract that he signed in July of 2007 (the one that just expired) was worth $1.59 million...total. This year he made under a million ($826,269). Now he will obviously want more than that, but he will still come cheap compared to guys like Carlos Boozer for example. Everything Brandon Bass excels in is what the 4s we have on the roster right now don't. He is a physical rebounder who plays defense and enjoys playing down low. Yi and Ryan Anderson are the exact opposite of that. Also, if Brandon Bass is added to the roster, Josh Boone won't have to play at the 4 anymore (Late in the year when Yi started losing time Boome was splitting time with Anderson at the 4). Coach Frank can move him back to where he is comfortable, and that is the center position backing up Brook.
Despite all my praise, Brandon Bass is far from being the perfect player. He possesses some weaknesses that may prevent some teams from giving him a big deal. He doesn't really pose a scoring threat from outside 10 feet. He can't really shoot a lick from outside the paint as his hot shot chart shows:
Bass also fouls a little too much for my liking. Now they aren't bone-headed fouls or anything like that, mostly he picks up fouls because he is trying to block everything. Also teams may be hesitant to give him a big contract because he has never played more than 19.7 minutes per game in a year.
I said some teams will shy away from signing Bass, but will the Nets be one of those teams? Well they shouldn't be. Much like how Bass' strengths equal our 4s weaknesses, Bass' weaknesses are our 4s strengths. Ryan Anderson and Yi are shooters, guys who like to play on the perimeter. Worried about Bass' minutes? Well you shouldn't be, because if Bass is signed, I would like to see him and Ryan Anderson/Yi split time. So Bass won't be playing minutes that he isn't already used to.
Having an inside PF in Bass and an outside PF in Ryan Anderson means we would be able to play multiple styles and match up to teams styles. Look at this situation for example. We play Orlando, Ryan Anderson will probably see more minutes because they play small (starting Rashard Lewis at the 4). The next night we are playing Cleveland, and Brandon Bass would get more time. This is because the Cavs play a more traditional roster with Anderson Verajo starting at the 4.
Brandon Bass is an option we should explore to see if we can get him cheap. So how will we know if the Nets are thinking about this? Just take a look at who we draft. If we draft a guy like DeMar DeRozen or Earl Clark when there are some PFs on the board, the Nets may be thinking about killing two birds with one stone. Drafting a SF and signing a PF in free agency.
Here are some highlight clips of Brandon Bass so you guys can get a little more familiar with him: