It has been quiet on the free agency front for about a week now and I think that it is safe to say that the Nets are going to hold off signing anymore players this offseason (a trade is another story, but we aren’t talking about that right now). What that means is we can now look at the four free agents that the Nets brought in and look at what they can do well, and more importantly, how that fits into the Nets’ system.
What He Brings? Anthony Morrow might very well be one of the best catch and shoot three point shooters in the NBA today. In fact, according to a tweet from NetsDaily, Morrow currently has the highest career three point shooting percentage in the history of the NBA at 46%, he just needs nine more attempts to qualify.
Does He Fit? Yes he does. The Nets biggest problem last year was that they had nobody who could hit a jumper, let a lone a three point shot for them. Sure, Keyon Dooling or Courtney Lee would have games where they would hit their shots, but they were far from consistent (and don’t even get me started on Bobby Simmons…the Nets’ “shooter”). What does a consistent outside threat do for the Nets? It opens everything up, especially for Brook Lopez. What Brook Lopez did last year averaging 18.8 points per game was pretty remarkable considering the amount of double (and even triple teams he saw). Teams were able to bring all this pressure on Brook because there was nobody he could kick it out to on the outside. In addition to helping Brook, having Morrow stand at the three point line clears the middle and opens up the Nets’ pick and roll game (and Devin’s drive and kick game). Morrow will force defenses to be honest and keep a man close to him at all times.
The Problem? Morrow’s only really excels at shooting the basketball. He doesn’t play defense particularly well, and despite showing some athletic ability he can’t really put the ball on the floor or create his own shot (95.7% of his threes were off of teammates’ assists).
What He Brings? Jordan Farmar is a young athletic point guard who will prevent a huge dropoff between the first unit and the second unit. He can knockdown an open jumper, get into the lane, and his athletic ability allows him to be a solid defender as well (especially when playing for a coach like Avery Johnson).
Does He Fit? Most definitely. I love Keyon Dooling and he was a true professional in every sense of the word, but the dropoff from Devin Harris with the first unit to Keyon Dooling with the second was huge. It could have been the injury, but Dooling’s play was far from consistent, and that hurt the Nets on many different occasions. Farmar on the other hand has fringe-starter ability, and his presence should really solidify the second unit. Also, he can start in a bind for stretches, this is so important with how injury prone Devin Harris is. Many argue that the 0-18 start wouldn’t have happened if Devin didn’t miss the start of the season last year. If that happens again this year, the Nets have a point guard that can come in and the Nets won’t miss a beat.
The Problem? A lot of experts and analysts (and myself) think that Farmar has the talents to really succeed outside of the triangle offense. However, nobody really knows for sure though because he has never played outside the triangle in the pros.
What He Brings? Travis Outlaw is a veteran presence who can do a little bit of everything on the basketball court. He can play some defense, he can handle the basketball (1.3 assist to turnover ratio last year), he can play a little bit of the power forward position, and he is someone who is willing to take that shot with the clock winding down.
Does He Fit? Last year, the Nets had veterans like Jarvis Hayes, Trenton Hassell, Bobby Simmons, and Tony Battie on the roster. The problem was that none of them could really play a lick (and I hate saying that about all those guys because they all seem to be good guys). On a team that might have one of the youngest roster, Outlaw is going to be the veteran guy this year. At 25 he already has seven NBA seasons under his belt, and he has been a part of a team who had a quick rebuild (the Blazers turned around really quickly while he was there). His long athletic frame will make him a defensive stopper on this team, and maybe most importantly Outlaw is a guy who wants the ball in his hands late in games. There was nobody like that on the Nets last year.
The Problem? Many people think that at 25, Outlaw has already reached his maximum potential. Also, he was never really able to establish himself as a go-to guy on that Blazers team. Maybe it was because there are so many wings, but maybe his talent had something to do with it.
What He Brings? Someone who can backup Brook Lopez, take fouls, and eat minutes. He is not Josh Boone.
Does He Fit? Do me a favor and not look at Petro’s contract right now. Taking that out of the equation, he does fit. The Nets need a guy who can back up Brook, and Petro provides that. He is also pretty athletic for a center, and that fits what Avery has been looking to add all off season (athletic guys who can run up and down the court). All this being said, the Nets paid way too much for him, and that is why I frown when I think of this signing.
The Problem? Besides the salary, Petro has never averaged more than 6.2 points per game (this was his rookie season and he averaged a little over 18 minutes per game). With Seattle/OKC, Petro never really was able to grab hold of the starting center job despite the lack of quality at the position.