With another trade deadline in the rearview mirror, the Brooklyn Nets have found themselves in purgatory once again. Already having plummeted to the Eastern Conference basement without Jeremy Lin’s guidance, the Nets are the only team yet to reach double-digits in the win column. On Twitter, The Brooklyn Game and their writers have been asked countless times about their trade thoughts and upcoming prospects — so, thus, we’ve put all of our answers here as a definitive guide to the deadline moves and beyond.
From Brook Lopez to the D-League and the midseason MVP to the upcoming free agent class, we’ve got you covered here.
Rate the K.J. McDaniels acquisition:
Matt Angell: A — This move is the kind of low-risk, high-reward acquisitions the Brooklyn Nets need to make. K.J. McDaniels didn’t play much in Houston, but the 6’6 swingman provides freakish athletic prowess for some Gerald Green-type dunks and defensive potential. If he works out great, the Nets found gold. If not, they only gave some meaningless cash considerations. The Nets may not be making the playoffs, but, it’s safe to say that with the additions of McDaniels and the return of Jeremy Lin, Nets fans should expect some exciting games the rest of the way.
Jesse Picarello: A- — Acquiring McDaniels makes a lot of sense for the Nets, now the Bojan Bogdanovic is in Washington and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is a converted power forward the Nets were severely lacking a natural small forward. McDaniels could not find his way into Mike D’Antoni’s rotation, however, only appearing in 29 games this season, so the Nets will be his opportunity to finally get significant playing time. Kenny Atkinson has gotten recognition across the league for his ability to develop players and McDaniels is quite raw in certain aspects of his game — he needs to improve his ability to shoot from mid-range and from deep before we can consider this a success.
Charles Maniego: A — It’s essentially a no-risk, high reward move for the Nets. I was hoping the Nets would have used the open roster space to sign a D-Leaguer to a 10-day, but getting McDaniels may have even more upside. He’s still a bit of an unknown talent after being on the bench for so long in Houston, so it will be interesting to see him develop this season and possibly over the next as well. He’s probably the most athletic player on the Nets now, so it will be exciting to see how he fits with the other young guys with long wingspans.
Rondae and K.J. defending on the perimeter? Yes, please!
Rate the Bojan Bogdanovic, Chris McCullough trade to Washington:
JP: B+ –A very smart trade for Sean Marks as he acquired another first round draft pick at the cost of their starting sharpshooter. Bojan Bogdonavic is a great player but not one you can build around — so moving him in the final year of his contract is a big win for Marks. This move also allows other players to see an increase in minutes like Caris LeVert and Sean Kilpatrick, plus the Nets get a mini-flier in Andrew Nicholson, a guy that still has potential but flamed out in Washington. Marks misses out on the A because he added Chris McCullogh to the deal, a former first-round draft pick in his own right, and the power forward could still turn into a great stretch four in the NBA.
CM: B+ — The Nets probably got the best offer they could from the trade market. Acquiring another first round pick is great for this season, and there are a lot of options for the Nets come draft day if they want to move up. I’ll definitely miss Bojan, but I’m happy to see him go to a team that can really be dangerous in the playoffs. Although it’s odd to see the Nets giving up on McCullough in only his second season, it seems like he wasn’t in the Nets’ plans going forward. Nicholson has been kind of a bust in Washington so far, but I liked him as a bench player in Orlando, so I’m relieved the Nets were able to complete the trade only for his contract.
Best of luck to both Bogdanovic and McCullough in the capital, though!
DF: A — Nicholson can help the Nets out mostly on the defensive end, an area that they have been struggling this season. In the process, the Nets lose Bogdanovic, who has been a steady scorer for Brooklyn for the better part of four years. In addition, the Nets sent their 2015 first round pick Chris McCollough to Washington. This may be for the best as he probably wasn’t in Marks’ long-term plans, so for him to be dealt now is probably best.
Overall, I would give this trade an A for Brooklyn simply because now, a draft that Nets fans originally dreaded, has a world of new possibilities now.
If the Nets could only sign one of their D-League studs, who should it be and why?
Simon Harrex: Yogi. Too soon?
Jimmy Espinal: Trahson Burrell is the guy I like. He’s a throwback scorer, who does most of his damage in the midrange area or at the rim. Judging from his D-League highlights he’s also a decent playmaker. Really, I just wanna watch him dunk on people.
DF: R.J. Hunter – the 6’6, 185-pound guard out of Georgia State could definitely add some depth to the Nets. While playing for his father in college, Hunter averaged 18.4 points in 98 career games. A first round pick in 2015 by Boston, Hunter has sufficient NBA experience. Markel Brown, Shane Larkin, Donald Sloan, Wayne Ellington, Yogi Ferrell – I’m sure some of these names will make Nets fans feel more comfortable about giving Hunter a shot, especially following his outstanding season in the D-League with the Long Island Nets.
CM: I really like Trahson Burrell. He may not have the notoriety of other Long Island Nets prospects, but he has several intangible skills. He runs the floor hard, possessing a high motor and competitive spirit. He rebounds the ball well on both ends, even with a slender frame. He’s long, so he can defend multiple positions too.
Burrell is also a great athlete, something sorely lacking on the Nets’ roster this season. He may still be raw, but I think he has the most upside out of all the Long Island guys.
Should the Nets target Terrence Jones?
CM: Personally, I wouldn’t target Terrence Jones. He will be a free agent at the end of this season, so the Nets could sign him in the summer if they like what they see — in Brooklyn or elsewhere. If the Nets were to buy a player out and free up a roster spot, I’m hoping they go for a D-League player for the Long Island Nets. Jones is a bit of a known commodity, so Marks might still be looking to take another risk, but I wouldn’t be upset if he was signed for the remainder of the season.
DF: In a Pelicans win at the Barclays Center on January 12th, Jones led the way with 24 points and 12 rebounds, all in the absence of Anthony Davis. The Nets are in need of another rim protector to play alongside Lopez and the 6’9 power forward provides that. Although he’s liability at the free throw line, Jones still would give the Nets a physical presence near the basket, something, alongside Trevor Booker and Lopez, could help the Nets fight through the remainder of this season.
If this pickup doesn’t happen, it wouldn’t be too detrimental, but Jones could be a nice fit in Brooklyn.
JP: Nah, probably not. Adding another power forward to this Nets roster may be a little tricky now that Hollis-Jefferson is starting at the 4. Minutes would be hard to find between Hollis-Jefferson, Booker, Acy, Scola, and the newly acquired Andrew Nicholson, it simply would illogical for the Nets — finding another wing or guard in the D-league may be more beneficial for this team.
Did Lin + Lopez deserve a real shot together?
MA: The talk of the offseason was the Brook-Lin dynamic of Brook Lopez and Jeremy Lin, but Nets fans have only been able to see it in 11 games. It did live up to the hype in those 11 games as the duo was exciting to watch. However, the Nets are not making the playoffs this season, as they’re a league-worst 9-47 and have preached the long-term approach. Even the best performances from Brook-Lin won’t change that, so I’m a bit surprised Lopez made it through the deadline in Brooklyn.
Chris Hooker: Do they deserve a real shot? Of course. Jeremy Lin signed here to play and that hasn’t happened. It’d be unfair to judge the Lin/Lopez era on what we’ve seen thus far. But I don’t think them playing together would have made too much of a difference in the playoff race — we probably would’ve won a few more games, but we’d still be a bottom five team and will continue to be for at least the next few years. Just because they deserve a shot to show what they can do doesn’t mean it would tell a different story about this team as a whole. That’s what matters, unfortunately.
DF: The Nets’ ultimate goal right now should be building a roster from the ground up, one that can get back to competing in the Eastern Conference in the next few years. With or without Lopez, Lin can be an asset on and off the court throughout the remainder of his contract, as a scorer, facilitator, a guide for the Nets’ younger talents. The Nets were projected to be one of the three worst teams in the league anyway and that was assuming Lin would be in full health — so I’m excited they’ll finish the season together, but it shouldn’t keep them paired past this summer.
SH: The biggest surprise this season is probably that there have been no surprises. After showing early promise, it quickly reverted back to the standard Brooklyn basketball we have become numb to, albeit with a little help from a difficult hamstring. Joe Harris showing a little more versatility to his game has been a nice small surprise, however, that’s for sure. Not just a jump shooter, Harris has been able to take the basketball to the rim with confidence and, while there is room for improvement, he is a reliable defender.
CM: The competitiveness of the team has to be commended. Call it scrappy, pesky, gritty, or persistent, the Nets always seem to be in games, no matter the opponent. It really shows the positive attitudes of the players and the coaches — never giving up, and never surrendering. Yes, the Nets have made numerous mistakes throughout games, causing them to fall behind, but they fight out of deficits and play together.
While the Nets may not have the firepower to compete against the Lowrys, Walls, and Waiters of the world, they make no excuses: the Brooklyn Nets don’t go down without a fight.
DF: Trevor Booker has had a career-year during his first season in Brooklyn with highs in points and rebounds, 10.1 PPG and 8.6 RPG, transforming him quickly into a fan-favorite. Booker is shooting over 52% for the season and has flourished in any role Atkinson has looked for. Whether Booker is starting or coming off of the bench, he has used his physical nature on both offense and defense to be an overall productive player.
The motto this season for the Nets has been #BrooklynGrit and Booker epitomizes this. Yes, the flexing, chest-pounding, and hustling Trevor Booker has clearly been the biggest surprise for the Nets this season.
Name one player you’d like to see Marks go after in the summer.
Jerry Kane: I’m torn between Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Otto Porter Jr. The latter does lead the league in three-point percentage (46.5%) but a lot of that has to do with John Wall finding him in the corner for open three-pointers, plus the Wizards will likely do whatever it takes to retain him. For that reason, I’m rolling with Caldwell-Pope, who the Pistons have shown reservations about signing to a max deal.
Sign me up for a nice two-way combination on the wings with Caldwell-Pope and LeVert for the next four years.
CH: Not even kidding: Chris Bosh and, maybe Derrick Rose. Sean Marks needs to just use these next two years to take some insane risks because none of this really matters. The Nets are going to be really bad and it really can’t get much worse. I’d love to see him lose his mind and sign some really high-risk players — guys who he can get on the cheap and potentially flourish. Bosh and Rose will likely not be very good players next year — even though I’d love nothing more than to see Bosh come back and be amazing, if he even decides to play, that is — but there’s a chance they won’t. If neither work out well, it’s no big deal. The next two years are a massive stall until we can draft new franchise cornerstone anyways.
I’m insane, I know.
JP: I want Marks to go after J.J. Redick this summer — sure at this point, he is towards the end of the prime, however, the 32-year-old sharpshooter can make a large difference for the Nets. Redick fits in perfect with Atkinson’s motion offense and is also a serviceable defender that brings effort every night. More attractive teams will be offering Redick contracts, surely, but with the Nets having available cap space and limited players to go after, it makes possibly overspending on a Redick-type on a short deal one of the Nets better options this summer.
JE: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. It’s tough to see the Pistons not matching any offer thrown his way, but KCP would a huge get for the Nets. I think he’s the type of player that would fit Atkinson’s system perfectly. He’s a decent shooter and a good defender with some underrated playmaking skills. He’s also had some 25+ point games which suggest he has some untapped scoring potential.
DF: Back in 2013, Kyle Korver signed a 4 year, 24 million deal with the Hawks. The 35- year- old sharpshooter currently resides in Cleveland, but his stay there very well may be one and done. The combination of Lin and Korver, coupled perhaps with a returning Lopez could certainly put the Nets in an intriguing situation next year, especially if the young core (Whitehead, Kilpatrick, LeVert) continues to develop.
Sean Marks was partially responsible for Patty Mills and Danny Green’s time in San Antonio, so the acquisition of Korver would be a step up for the Nets. Korver also goes a long way in improving the Nets in little ways defensively — so unless a contender wants to load up on Korver, most can’t, in all likelihood, then the Nets stand a decent chance here.
Curse you, photocopier!
CH: If I were to be realistic, I’d like to see a run be made at Cristiano Felicio of the Chicago Bulls. His raw numbers may not be impressive, but his percentages and advanced stats have been noteworthy. Felico rebounds and defends well, and has soft hands on the offensive end — could he be an under-the-radar signing for Marks?
I see him as potentially being similar to his former teammate, Taj Gibson as well and he’ll only be 25 in July.
Rate Kenny Atkinson on a scale of 1-10:
MA: 8 — Marks has stated many times that this season for the Brooklyn Nets will not be weighed on wins and losses, and that’s not how I will grade Kenny Atkinson’s performance as head coach. Isaiah Whitehead is getting better and better in many aspects of the game; his defense and jumper have improved and he finishes strong around the rim. Spencer Dinwiddie, a recent D-Leaguer turned starting point guard for the Nets, has averaged nearly 9 points and 0.7 turnovers a game while shooting 50% from three-point range over the last 15 games.
Additionally, you’ve got the improvement from Rondae Hollis-Jefferson after moving to the power forward position too. Even if these aren’t star-caliber players, their development is going nicely.
JK: 6 — but it’s tough to rate Atkinson without his starting point guard for the majority of the season. His offensive system does seem to work. Once he gets the horses to plug in, shots will be falling at a higher rate and the ball will be flying around the court.
JE: 8 — He hasn’t had much to work with but he’s shown a system that can work in this league. He somehow has the #1 pace in the league with Brook Lopez on the team, that alone should put him in coach of the year contention. On a serious note, Kenny looks like he’s gonna be around for a while, and that’s encouraging after so many years of instability.
CH: 8.5 — Every post game, Atkinson always speaks on the positives of his players and never blames the team for the loss. He also has confidence in all of his players, which is something needed in building a positive organizational culture. A coach’s belief in his players may be more important than any developmental skill.
Sometimes I read through Philadelphia 76ers news just to see what it’s like on the other side — I’m essentially Jay Gatsby reaching towards the light. The fans and players love Brett Brown, in which I see parallels with Atkinson. In Philadelphia, Brown has been consistently positive and installed a great offensive and defensive system with his young, raw players.
Although he has been faced with such an uphill battle, he’s helped players improve and keep their morale up — thankfully, Atkinson seems to be on that track as well.