The Nets haven’t made a big splash, but they’ve made a few little ones. Here’s a look at how those little splashes fit into the big picture (er, pond).
1) Shawne Williams: What’s his role?
Sandy Dover: Shawne, I think, will be the team’s best player, beyond Deron Williams. If anything, he’ll at least be given that opportunity. I think he’s capable of starting anywhere from the 2 to the 4, and I won’t be surprised if any of that happens. His shooting, rebounding, and overall athleticism will be a major asset for the Nets.
Mark Ginocchio: I have high hopes for Shawne Williams. I know the team is pursuing AK-47, but if that doesn’t work out in a cost-effective matter, I would give Shawne a shot as a starting SF. He displayed a world of talent at Memphis, and the biggest strike against him was always his personality off-the-court. Now that he seemingly has that under control, I’d be curious to see what he can do in an extended role. Plus, after being spurned by the Knicks, the guy has a chip on his shoulder. Not a bad thing in this league.
Devin Kharpertian: Barring an AK-47 move, they’ve got their starting small forward. Deron Williams likes playing around shooters, and if there’s anything Shawne can do, it’s shoot. Expect pick-and-rolls between the points and bigs, with Williams and Anthony Morrow spotting up in either corner, as a major point-getter for the Nets.
2) Shelden Williams: What’s his role?
Sandy Dover: Shelden will be all that he’s ever been – a rebounder and fill-in big guy to hustle and muscle the opposing frontcourt. “The Landlord” is NOT laying down the law these days, so if he can even collect a couple of months worth of rent, the Nets should be pleased.
Mark Ginocchio: Shelden Williams should hopefully be able to bring what Johan Petro never could last year – a consistent, defensive-minded/rebounding big man off the bench. I doubt he’ll be the starting PF for the long haul, but you could do a lot worse in a spot start (as the Nets consistently did last April). With all of the shooters on the team, and Brook and Deron, you don’t need Shelden to be a scorer, just somebody who can throw a body on Amare/Garnett/Bosh in spurts.
Devin Kharpertian: The Nets need depth at the power forward and center position, and that’s what Shelden brings. He’s not particularly athletic, and he’s not a game-changer, but he’s an upgrade over Johan Petro in that he’s a professional basketball player. He shouldn’t be the starter, but he’ll bang down low for 10-15 minutes a game enough to keep the team happy.
3) Ime Udoka: What’s his role?
Sandy Dover: Ime will be a leader for the Nets, in terms of morale and team spirit. He also will have the opportunity to, like an Anthony Parker or Bruce Bowen, function as an experienced defender and three-point shooter. I trust that he’ll have a decent opportunity to play in relief of the starters, and progress in his role as “the veteran.”
Mark Ginocchio: In a perfect world, Udoka plays the role of Stephen Graham from last season – well, less of a role I hope; a guy who can play a little defense and nail a corner three from time to time. I honestly don’t hope there’s a situation where he’s playing a featured role on this team, unless the Nets swing a big trade that completely drains them of depth.
Devin Kharpertian: Udoka’s not a great player, but he’s built a reputation in this league on his defensive ability and professionalism.He won’t play more than a few minutes off the bench, but you have to assume that Avery heard some positive words about him from Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. As a defensive spot rotation player, you could do worse.