Larry Sanders

Larry Sanders (AP)

The 6-22 Milwaukee Bucks are in Brooklyn to take on the 9-19 Brooklyn Nets. The Nets have lost four straight games, the last two without Brook Lopez, and will start a unique two-point guard lineup tonight with Paul Pierce at power forward. The Bucks have gone to four overtimes in their last four games, and welcome back Larry Sanders, who hasn't played since the beginning of November.

Injury report: Andrei Kirilenko (back spasms) and Brook Lopez (foot) are OUT. Kirilenko expected to play but the training staff decided to hold him out. Andray Blatche is not with the team for personal reasons.

Starting Lineup: Shaun Livingston, Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett.

When & Where: 7:30 P.M., Barclays Center, Brooklyn.
Watch: YES Network
Listen: CBS 880 AM

 

The Brooklyn Nets haven't had the easiest season in recent memory: after believing they'd compete for a championship, at 9-19 they'd probably just settle for making the playoffs in a weak Eastern Conference. But even in a time of doom and gloom, Nets center Andray Blatche can find some modicum of happiness, in succeeding as himself in an NBA video game.

Blatche has faltered a bit following last year's career season, though he's still been productive. His head-scratching decision-making and defensive acumen aside, Blatche has averaged a productive 18.1 points and 9.3 rebounds per 36 minutes this season, and he's getting to the free throw line more often than in his entire career.

There's something awfully meta about celebrating a faux celebration by an avatar of yourself. but Blatche has always been a player that finds success in weird, unpredictable places. Hopefully the next place is with the Nets on the floor.

Brook’s out. Now what?

Posted on: December 23rd, 2013 by Devin Kharpertian Comments

 

Brook Lopez

Where do the Nets go from here without Brook Lopez? (AP)

Brooklyn Nets head coach Jason Kidd has his biggest challenge yet. With no move imminent and a deep rotation, he's looking towards his bench to fill the enormous gap left by a broken foot to Nets center Brook Lopez, which will sideline him for the rest of the season. The loss is a crushing one; Lopez was the team's best scorer and rapidly evolving into a solid paint protector.

Garnett will stay in the starting lineup, but can play both power forward and center, giving the Nets a little flexibility.

So who will replace Lopez in the starting lineup?

I asked about a dozen contributors both from The Brooklyn Game and YES Network to look at five potential starting lineups the Nets could use, ranking them from 1st to 5th. What follows is the list, ordered by average ranking from 5th to 1st. You'll also see the highest, lowest, and most common ranking, as well as my ranking and a breakdown on the idea from either myself or Max Weisberg.

Additionally, there's a poll on the side. Let us know what you think by voting and commenting below.

Start Here: The 5th best lineup idea

 

On the latest episode of #BKConnect, Rod Boone, Chris Shearn, and I discuss the latest dish on the Brooklyn Nets. We talk about Paul Pierce's mentality off the bench, Andray Blatche's surge in the absence of Brook Lopez, some team defensive philosophies, Mirza Teletovic, and the importance of Deron Williams to this team's roster. Check it out.

 

Gilbert Arenas

Gilbert Arenas (AP)

It's been a long time since former NBA point guard Gilbert Arenas helped an NBA team; at his peak, Arenas averaged 28.9 points per game over two seasons with the Washington Wizards from 2005-07, but hasn't been an effective player for a full season since that time. He's battled knee injuries and off-court issues alike, was a victim of the NBA amnesty clause, and at 31 years old is out of the league despite making $22.3 million from the Orlando Magic this season.

But at 31 years old, Arenas wants back into NBA arenas, notably Madison Square Garden and the Barclays Center.
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(Note: SPONSORED POST)

Joe Johnson

Who has the best fantasy basketball value in New York? (AP/Kathy Willens)

Close your eyes and imagine a landfill. I want you to envision all the foul smelling items you have disposed of recently mixed in: expired food, dead rat carcasses stuck in mouse traps, human vomit, and all the other wretched things left to never be seen again in those horrible places. Try and conceptualize what that odor might smell like if you were to accidentally take a whiff. Starting to get a good feel for what experiencing that horrible part of the Earth may be like?

Also, have you figured out where I’m going with this?

As disgusting as that landfill might appear, the state of basketball in the state of New York is ten times worse. Staring at the screen for more than a ten second period during a Brooklyn Nets game makes my temperature suddenly rise and a pain grow in my forehead. It actually makes me physically sick to watch that team. To be fair, the Knicks aren’t any better (their record is actually worse). I am not even a New York sports fan, nor from the state, so I can only imagine how the locals feel.

But just because they aren’t playing well doesn’t mean that there isn’t fantasy value to be had. Most of the time, bad teams present value in fantasy because other owners will overlook them or just avoid. Bad teams have a tendency to get blown out or just don’t have an entertaining brand of basketball to watch, so owning their players is no fun. We've talked about this on Fantasy Basketball Money Leagues. Considering the high expectations the Nets had coming into the season, I doubt you were able to acquire their players at a discount. The Knicks, on the other hand, were very superstar-heavy from the start. If you wanted someone on the team, you targeted Carmelo Anthony and if you whiffed on him, you could wait a long time for the next.

I wanted to find out which team holds the better fantasy value. So I will go position by position analyzing which team has the superior fantasy performer at each spot. For only then can we really determine which team is more of a fantasy landfill than the other. Here's what I found:

Start Here: Point Guard

 

Paul Pierce, Kyle Singler, Greg Monroe

Paul Pierce hit a key three late, but it wasn't enough to complete the Nets' comeback.

What once appeared was to be another ho-hum blowout for an indifferent Brooklyn Nets team lacking the services of a key player turned into a furious comeback attempt that just couldn't come through. Nets fans justifiably aching, clawing to assign definite blame in a close loss will point to Andray Blatche's two missed free throws with the Nets down 5 in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter. Others will lament the lack of an obvious foul call on a Deron Williams drive that, upon replay review, cost Brooklyn a key possession in the final minute.

(By the way, most people in the NBA community support the use of replay review in the name of getting things right. That makes it all the more painful when an official reviews possession and has to overlook a severe injustice done to the game with his hands behind his back just because fouls aren't reviewable. I know the reasons for this, but it's frustrating to see officials given the tools to get things right have to own what they did very wrong.)

What really happened in Auburn Hills tonight, however, was reminiscent of the Nets' signature stench, in which uninspired play over the course of an entire game gives way to yet another L.... MORE →

 

Slow break? Maybe. Hard to call a transition play between Paul Pierce and Andray Blatche "fast." But Pierce made a nice move to get to the basket and dish to Blatche to get him the ball, and Blatche put down a tough shot through contact to hit the and-one. Blatche followed up the make by punching a demon back into hell.

It was a part of the best first quarter the Brooklyn Nets put up this season, who led 31-20 after the first twelve minutes.

 

The Brooklyn Nets didn't have a lot of athleticism last year, and their point guards this year have struggled with injuries. No more problems there. Watch as point center Andray Blatche lofted an alley-oop from beyond the three-point line a little too high, and Mason Plumlee, the seven-footer with the 36" vertical, reaches high above the rim to slam it down.

 


 
Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard (AP)

At 4-11, the Brooklyn Nets aren't very good. They're at the bottom of the NBA in defensive efficiency and their offense isn't much better. Three players skipped the team's two-game road trip with injuries, and a fourth missed seven straight games heading into tonight.

Here's three things to watch on the floor that aren't soda as they take on the 11-5 Houston Rockets.
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Bismack Biyombo, Andray Blatche

Bismack Biyombo (right) and the Charlotte Bobcats grabbed victory out of the Nets' hands. (AP)

Check out the advanced box score, I guess.

5 final thoughts, including a question about a referee decision, after the jump.
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Joe Johnson

Joe Johnson was the Nets' only starter in uniform Saturday, leaning on the remnants of the roster to assist. (AP)

LOS ANGELES, C.A. -— No player, coach, or GM will ever tell you openly that a team's priorities lie anywhere other than squarely on winning a game on any given night. Saturday the Brooklyn Nets tiptoed carefully along that line, bolstering the suspicion that they're playing the long game: less concerned with nightly results and fixated instead on the holistic process.

Ask any of the Nets about their 110-103 defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Clippers, and he'll stress that this was a process loss, with the obligatory lip service that a win is a win and a loss yields nothing.
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