You ever seen a picture of a team’s draft room, in any sport? Generally, they share a few common characteristics: lots of older white men in suits, sitting in a circular fashion, fervently switching from on the phone to online, and eventually applauding awkwardly at whoever they choose.
Another thing they have in common is the “big board,” plastered along some wall of the “war room.” You’ve seen it: It’s normally a giant whiteboard, with hundreds of names plastered from top to bottom, littered with the names of every possible player they might pick up.
Well, on last night’s Nets are Scorching TV — which you should’ve watched anyway — Justin, Matt Moore, and I played a little version of our own “big board,” with an embarrassingly small board. We could barely fit five names on it, and so in our free agency discussions we culled our list down to the top five free agents we’d like to see the Nets sign, given both their talent level and expected cost.
Analysis of our “top 5” from myself and Justin after the jump, with our miniature board pictured at the bottom.
Honorable notables: Jamal Crawford, Glen Davis, Jason Richardson, Marc Gasol, Jonas Jerebko, Kwame Brown
With the exception of Gasol — who we all agreed won’t be leaving Memphis, since they’re expected to match any and all offers — we decided that none of these guys were really worth the Nets’ time, for a variety of reasons: probably overpaid (Crawford/Davis), definitely undergood (Crawford), or not worth it in general (Richardson). Jerebko’s a guy we all like — though I don’t know him well enough to impart a real opinion on him. But if he can be had on the cheap, by all means, he’d fill the spot well.
Why Kwame? Justin brought him up as the first name. I don’t know why either. -D.K.
This was originally Tayshaun Prince, but it could just as easily be Shane Battier. Or Andre Kirilenko. Or Caron Butler. Or Grant Hill. Or Josh Howard. (Okay, not Josh Howard.) Between these guys, the Nets are bound to find one starting-quality small forward that they can toss in there to replace Travis Outlaw at less than $7 million per year. Just don’t expect any game-changers.-D.K.
There were some mixed opinions regarding signing Nene, mostly due to the fact that in this market and with this free agent class, Nene is almost assuredly going to command a maximum deal somewhere. However, at his age and with his skillset next to Brook Lopez, we’re hoping that somewhere isn’t New Jersey and/or Brooklyn. Still, Nene can certainly play and he’d help us win now. -J.D.
Surprised to see both Nene and Chandler out of the top two, right? Based on talent and need, you might put them higher, but given their ages (both are 29) and expected contracts (maximum), we agreed that the Nets would be better off making shorter, smarter, more economical deals. Still, Chandler’s arguably the best defensive center not named Dwight, and complements Brook well in the frontcourt. No question he’d fit with the Nets. -D.K.
He’s athletic, he can defend and play both forward positions, he can score at the rim, and he’s a decent three-point shooter (last year’s mere 22 attempts notwithstanding). The Nets don’t have any legitimate grade-A athletes on the roster, and Thaddeus Young gives them that edge. At 22 years old, in his fourth year, Thaddeus posted an 18.4 PER in over 2,000 minutes. Long-term, he’d be a sixth man on a championship team, but for now, I’ll take “doing everything Travis Outlaw was supposed to do, but way better.”-D.K.
We all agreed that Arron Afflalo would fit perfectly with the Nets, specifically paired in the backcourt with Deron Williams. Afflalo can shoot, defends well, makes smart plays and is a leader on the court. Simply put, Afflalo makes your team better, and as Matt noted, could be had with a frontloaded contract. Throw all that in with the fact that he’s 25 years old, and you have a player you can build a franchise with. That’s the reason we ranked him in the top spot on our big board. -J.D.