With the 2009-10 season more than halfway over, we thought it would be a good time to do a little report card for the Nets. And despite our temptations, we’re not just going to give everyone Fs.
Devin Harris – He’s battled various injuries all season, missing a bulk of games towards the beginning of the year, and is currently dealing with a strained wrist. Still, it’s difficult to solely blame his health issues for his stunning decline in production. Devo’s numbers are down across the board, and is shooting a career low 38 percent. He’s looked exasperated after some games, yet he gets points for showing some grit and leadership by suiting up for some of these games, despite the injuries.
Brook Lopez – There were a lot of doubters (cough John Hollinger cough) that Brook could ever be a 20-10 guy in this league, but if he continues on his current path, that’s a real possibility. There’s a legitimate case for him to be an All-Star, but he’ll likely get snubbed because he plays on the worst team in basketball. For such a good post player, he still tends to settle for long jumpers too often, and he has a hard time matching up against bigger, more physical centers like Dwight Howard and Roy Hibbert. He has been the only Net to play through every excruciating game this season.
Courtney Lee – I kind of feel sorry for Courtney Lee. The Nets traded the last of their “Big Three” to get him and pundits everywhere were predicting Lee to be the next “breakout” star for the Nets a la Devin Harris. Instead Lee has struggled mightily with his outside shooting all season and has only marginally improved in other areas of his game. He may just be what his numbers say he is, a below average, defensive minded two guarded who best fits in when he’s the team’s 5th or 6th option, as was the case in Orlando. Expecting all-star numbers from Lee may have just been unrealistic.
Chris Douglas-Roberts – For a while CDR was carrying the team offensively along with Brook Lopez while Devin Harris and Yi Jianlian were injured. Since the starting lineup has returned, he looks to be the last option on offense. Unfortunately, he doesn’t do enough other things well, like rebound or pass the ball, to play starter’s minutes but not be a focal point on offense. Is that his fault or the “system” he spoke about? CDR has some fire, which is nice to see, but runs his mouth way too much sometimes. He says that’s just the way he is. While I run the risk of him calling me out on Twitter by saying this, he’d be better of maturing as a player instead of worrying what every little beat writer, reporter or blogger is saying about him.
Yi Jianlian – Yi opened many eyes when he came back from injury in December and looked like a brand new player. He was aggressive in taking the ball to the rim, and was shooting more effectively from the outside. The problem started when the team’s playcalling shifted to a Yi-centric offense. While better in some areas, Yi is still too prone for bad shooting games, and he’s a major liability defensively against other team’s starting PFs and Centers. Yi has progressed enough to prove he belongs in the NBA, but if he doesn’t improve in areas like sharing the ball and defense, he shouldn’t be getting starter’s minutes in this league.
Keyon Dooling – Another player who’s been ravaged by injuries, but when he’s played he’s been an effective bench player. He’s one of the Nets better shooters from three currently, and he’s reportedly been a leader in the locker room, keeping guys like CDR in check.
Terrence Williams – Coming into the league, the big knock on TWill was that he couldn’t shoot. So he spent most of the first month of the season throwing up bricks and being ineffective on the defensive end. Then consider his bad-mouthing of the organization via Twitter, his missing of practices and team buses and it appears like Williams would rather emulate his good buddy Nate Robinson when it comes to character quirks. Still, he shows flashes as a passer and rebounder, and could still be a decent rotation player if he gets his head on straight. Big if.
Trenton Hassell – Tennessee started the season as the 13th man, but with injuries, worked himself into the starting rotation. He’s shown flashes on the offensive end, but is still better known as a defender. He’s been a pleasant surprise, which is not to say he’s been all that good, but he does do some little things that helps the team – well I can’t say win… how about he helps the team not lose by 20+ points every game.
Josh Boone – Boone got a chance to get himself back into good favor for the organization when he subbed for Yi in November and December. When he showcases was that he was a decent defender when his head was in the game, but still showed no offensive ability, and he still can’t hit free throws, making him a liability in late game situations. He now appears to be on his way out of town via trade in the near future, and I doubt many Nets fans are going to miss this guy.
Bobby Simmons – Simmons started the season high on Lawrence Frank’s depth chart as a backup PF. That was a failure. His one skill coming into this season was as a shooter, and he couldn’t even do that with any consistency. He’s only played minutes in one game in the past month. Considering he’s the highest paid player on this team, I would call this season an absolute nightmare.
Tony Battie – Battie was supposed to bring a veteran presence in the frontcourt, but has played sporadically this season due to injuries and ineffectiveness. Seems like a good guy, but doesn’t seem to have left in the tank to suggest that a playoff bound team would use him as anything other than a cheerleader if the Nets were to trade him.
Jarvis Hayes – After injuring himself in the season opener, Jarvis missed a ton of time, returning in January. He was supposed to be a sharpshooter off the bench, but he still looks like he’s trying to play himself back into shape. Given the direction this team is headed in, it’s doubtful he’s going to get himself into any kind of groove this season.
Kris Humphries – Another one of the few bright spots for the team. Not only did acquiring Hump allow the Nets to dump Eduardo Najera, but Kris has been a revelation with increased playing time, showing he can score in bunches off the bench, and showing energy and grit on the boards. Could be a better man defender, but he’s one reason to keep watching the Nets this season.
Chris Quinn – Brought over after the Nets dumped Rafer Alston, Quinn has played very little and looks to be roster filler more than anything else.
Coaching – Lawrence Frank allegedly lost the team, but at least had them playing defense, despite not winning a game. Kiki Vandeweghe has the team’s lone three wins on his resume, but the quality of play has truly gone in the toilet on his watch. Factor in that Kiki reportedly wanted nothing to do with the head coaching job, and it’s hard to be confident in his abilities to turn this team around.