30. Chris Smith.
The only reason he’s up here, hell, the only reason he’s on this list at all, is because he’s J.R. Smith’s brother. Let that swirl around your head for like six seconds. The only reason Chris Smith has a roster spot is nepotism. Oh, and because J.R. Smith’s agency CAA reps about half of the Knicks. The NBA: Where Amazing Happens. -D.K.
Relevant Chris Smith Video:
29. Jason Terry.
Many people think Jason Terry is going to return closer to Dallas form after a fairly hideous year in Boston, but I don’t believe that’s particularly realistic. At age 36, he’s going to be more of the veteran-leader-hit-some-3s-and-occasionally-run-the-offense kind of guy. Gone are the days of the fourth-quarter outbursts that leave your mouth agape, but would the Nets even really want ANOTHER fourth-quarter scorer? -D.S.
Relevant Jason Terry GIF:
28. Tyshawn Taylor.
Tyshawn Taylor impressed in preseason with his ability to get to the rim, but there’s just not a lot of room for the guard with Deron Williams and Shaun Livingston ahead of him. Still, he ranks as the top Nets player in prolific tweeting at all times of the day and hasn’t been in the NBA long enough to be cynical about media sessions. So definitely room for growth. -D.K.
Relevant Tyshawn Taylor tweet:
I remember when my schedule was as flexible as she is
— tyshawn taylor (@tyshawntaylor) October 29, 2013
27. Beno Udrih.
If Mike Woodson doesn’t hate fun, we’ll get a lineup with Raymond Felton, Pablo Prigioni, and Beno Udrih on the floor at the same time. Also, Ian Eagle is pretty much the only guy who pronounces his last name correctly. -D.S.
Relevant Beno Udrih video:
26. Steve Mills.
Take a moment to go ahead and look for one noteworthy thing Steve Mills has done since replacing Glen Grunwald as New York’s GM. I’ll wait. I have some light reading to do anyway.
/Starts reading the 221-page Hardwood Paroxysm NBA preview
/Finishes reading the 221-page Hardwood Paroxysm NBA preview
Yeah. Didn’t think so. Granted, Mills took the role after all the NBA offseason heavy lifting had been done, but for the GM of the NEW YORK KNICKS to stay out of the news to the point of effective anonymity? That’s a skill. So is not being Isiah Thomas.
Here’s to dealing with an insatiable, incorrigible owner, Steve. Enjoy it while it lasts. -D.S.
Relevant Steve Mills video:
25. Reggie Evans.
I was elated to hear that Reggie Evans had been called back from the Boston deal. No one worked harder last season for the Nets, a team that was sorely lacking hard work. One of the key cogs in Brooklyn’s 11-4 start was that pretty much no one got a defensive rebound while he and Andray Blatche were in the game. They got everything the Nets missed.
I’ll be the first to say he was playing out of role as a starter, but there wasn’t a lot of choice in the matter. Kris Humphries was garbage, and Mirza Teletovic was garbage … with potential. And there was certainly no one here at TBG who was calling, nay, pining for Gerald Wallace to play at the 4.
Reggie’s not the best when he and Wallace are on the floor at the same time and force you to play 3-on-5 against one of the league’s best defensive teams. He’s the best when he comes in for a few minutes early in the fourth quarter and snags two or three critical offensive rebounds that just totally dishearten the opposition.
There’s room for 12 minutes a game for Reggie in my Nets rotation. -D.S.
Relevant Reggie Evans video:
24. Pablo Prigioni.
In the first few minutes I watched Pablo Prigioni play last year in his rookie season, I thought: “Wow, this is a guy who could go an entire season playing second-unit minutes and never score a point.” Honestly, he’d probably be okay with that.
If you can set up Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith and not cause any problems, more power to you. And when he absolutely, positively can’t stand the awkwardness of not shooting a 3 with no one inside a 50-yard radius, he actually makes them at a pretty good clip. -D.S.
Relevant Pablo Prigioni video:
23. Amar’e Stoudemire.
Seeing STAT on the court this season is just going to mean more sadness for me. Amar’e was the league’s best offensive big man for a two- or three-year stretch culminating in his first season in New York, and now his knees have given way to what is just a shell of Stoudemire’s former self. Amar’e has never been an endearing figure on defense, and his offensive compatibility with Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler is still the subject of hot debate.
I don’t think he much expects to start in this league anymore, so bring him off the bench when Melo needs a rest and just assault the opponent with pick-and-rolls until he finds a cutting lane.
I sure hope he finds some steady time on the court this season and doesn’t let his attitude get in the way when he does. -D.S.
Relevant Amar’e Stoudemire GIF:
22. Alan Anderson.
Anderson is probably Brooklyn’s 10th- or 11th-best player, and he’s still got the talent to be a rotational player. For one, his jump shot is gorgeous. Watch him in warmups or when he’s in rhythm sometime — it’s like watching one of those videos coaches show sixth-graders and then try two weeks to make them replicate before giving up because it’s just too damn hard to look that good.
Anderson did a little of everything this offseason. He signed a two-year deal (the second a player option), moved to Brooklyn, played everywhere from point guard to small forward in preseason, hit his shots, and *almost* made me forget that Jason Terry is on the team. Anderson’s not the type of player who’s going to explode on any given night, but he’s the type of solid backup guard any team could use. -D.K.
Relevant Alan Anderson video:
21. Andray Blatche.
Oh, Andray. Where to begin? A polarizing figure around the NBA, Blatche came to Brooklyn last year and provided the Nets with stunningly efficient production off the bench as well as in spot starts. His new commitment to quality basketball surprised many (particularly our own Devin Kharpertian), and he was largely responsible for the Nets’ success.
Nevertheless, I have an eerie sense about Blatche, one that was heightened by his indiscriminate gunning from long range in the preseason. Blatche had a lot of motivation to play the right way (regardless of the frequent indulgences into #PointBlatche form), what with his Wizards tenure serving as a massive chip on his shoulder and really trying to preserve his NBA career. I’m just not sure that motivation will be back this season.
Sure, maybe all that gunning could have been an elaborate attempt to set up his stupefyingly effective pump fake. And maybe Kevin Garnett will keep him in line. Maybe he has turned a corner in being able to play for a contender.
If he hasn’t, though? Then I’ll need to prepare for a season’s worth of groans and the reality of early-onset stress-induced hair loss. -D.S.
Relevant Andray Blatche video:
Warning: language NSFW