Going into this season, one of my biggest fears was Yi not working out. Then, I was worried because if he didn’t work out there wasn’t a whole lot of depth behind him. For that reason, I was pretty relieved when I saw Yi playing well; knocking his shots down, playing better defense, and being more aggressive. With the way the Nets season has been going so far, it only makes sense that he gets hurt. Lawrence Frank now has to piece together a PF rotation, and as you guys probably know, I don’t really like the look of that. The night of Yi’s injury, Bobby Simmons got most of the PF minutes (ew), but during the Nuggets game, Najera got most of the minutes and played pretty well. Here are all of the active options at PF the Nets have on the roster, and what we can expect from them:
Bobby Simmons –
It is safe to say that the Bobby Simmons experiment has been a complete failure, but for some reason Lawrence Frank insists on playing him. Bobby Simmons has logged a total PER of -2.85 (I don’t think this has ever happened before during the course of a season) through four games, and even he finally made a basket in the 5th game of the season. Simmons’ true shooting percentage is a whopping 15.1%. With all that being said, Simmons has been doing a solid jobs on the boards. His defensive rebounding rate (the percentage of defensive rebounds he grabs during his time on the court) is at 23.4 when the league average is at 14.2. This stat is probably the reason Lawrence Frank justifies playing him.
As a 4, Bobby Simmons has relied completely on the outside game, which makes sense when you think about it because his true position is the 3. According to HoopData.com, Simmons has only attempted 2 shots at the rim (making one). The rest of them have been from 16 feet and out, going 1-10 on long twos and 0-7 on threes. So when Bobby is on the floor at the 4, the goal is to use him to stretch out defenses, but that won’t happen until he starts making shots.
Josh Boone –
Josh Boone has played center most of his career in New Jersey, but now Boone is finally getting a chance to play at the PF spot. It seems like it could work, Boone will probably be bigger than most of the 4s he goes up against, so when Boone and Lopez share the court, this could lead to some mismatches. There is one problem though, the Nets need one of these guys to back-up Brook.
Boone’s style is the complete opposite of what Bobby Simmons’ style is supposed to be. Boone is a inside presence, who has attempted 17 of his 20 shots inside of 10 feet. He has shown a nice tough from the outside too this year (although it really isn’t showing in his foul shots), going 2-3 on shots from 10-23 feet. As for his foul shots, he looks more comfortable at the line, and though it doesn’t show with the stats, he seems to improving at the line, which could go a long way in making him a productive player.
Sean Williams –
In the 3 games that Williams has played in this year, he has averaged 8.7 minutes, and he has put up solid numbers in those minutes. He is tied for the team lead (with Brook) in True Shooting % with 61.0%. He is still loose with the basketball, logging a Turnover Rate (percentage of possessions that end up with a turnover) of 32.79%, almost three times the league average. He still crashes the boards hard (which is something that he has always done when on the court), coming up with a total rebounding rate of 14.9, 5 points higher than the NBA average.
Sean Williams’ style is straight out of the Chris Anderson mold. He really gets the crowd going with his big blocks and big dunks. He has shown to be a spark plug when he got on the court this year, which is different from past years. He will probably be going in when the Nets’ offense starts to stall.
Eduardo Najera –
Najera has played in three games this year, and besides the Washington game where he was just overmatched by a more athletic Blatche, he has played the best out of all of the PF options the Nets have. The biggest reason Najera has played so well is because he has kept his turnovers down. Najera’s Turnover Rate was 4.23, which is about 1/3 of league average. Add that to the fact that he always crashes the boards hard, and that he has a nice little touch, you shouldn’t be surprised that he has played pretty well.
Eduardo is a bulldog who can compliment that style with a nice outside touch if he is on. Najera has taken 9 shots inside 10 feet and 7 outside of 16. This balance gives defenses multiple looks, that forces defenses to have to guess what Najera is going to do. That indecision can lead to some baskets for him.
So What’s Going To Happen
This is just an opinion, but I think Lawrence Frank is going to ride Najera’s good play until Yi gets back. The rest of the rotation gets tricky. While CDR is out with the flu, that means Bobby Simmons will get more minutes at the 3, and that means (thankfully) less minutes for him at the 4. And while I like the idea of Boone and Lopez on the court at the same time, Lopez is going to need to rest at some point, and Boone is the only back-up option there. So what does that mean? At least tonight, the rotation at the 4 should be Najera starting with Sean Williams backing him up. Boone will get minutes at the 4 too, but his main job will be backing up Brook. Simmons main responsibility tonight will be backing up Terrence Williams who will probably be starting at the 3. Taking all the situations into consideration, that is the best we can hope for, because I don’t know about you guys, but if I see Bobby Simmons at the 4 anymore, I am going to poke my eyes out.