The Nets could find themselves playing more than 82 if this guy steps it up.
After struggling with a 12 win season last year, Nets fans are feeling good about their current situation. A much improved roster, a successful coach, and an owner willing to spend has fans thinking about the playoffs. We here think that the playoffs are a possibility but not a guarantee. In this third installment, we are going to look at something that needs to happen for the Nets to make the playoffs.
The Nets will make the Playoffs if… Derrick Favors earns the starting PF role.
Why Is It Important?
Let me preface this by saying it is not my expectation that Derrick Favors will be starting consistently at any point this season, unless they’re out of the playoff race and want to give him more experience & seasoning. That’s not the scenario I’m describing. What I am saying is that if Derrick Favors earns the starting spot, it’s because he’s developed ahead of schedule and has proven himself to be a significant upgrade over proven commodity Troy Murphy. Since Murphy is a legitimate double-double threat with three-point range – an underrated power forward for sure, despite being a defensive liability – if Favors can prove he’s more valuable than Murphy, that means he’s significantly impacting basketball games in a positive manner. Then, that moves Murphy to a sixth man role, where he can be a huge value destroying backup power forwards. This team as currently constructed is likely a fringe playoff team – if our young, raw prospect can exceed his expectations, the Nets will assuredly find themselves in the thick of the playoffs.
Can It Happen?
As the resident “guy who has researched the crap out of Derrick Favors,” it goes without saying that I am excited about his future. It certainly is possible that he adjusts to having a real team & coach very quickly and steals the starting spot with his pure talent. However, I don’t think it’s likely – as most people would agree, he’s still two years away from making a major impact, and Murphy is an underrated forward who will just be too productive to remove from the starting lineup. For a team that was second-worst in the NBA last year in three-point percentage and third-worst in defensive rebounding percentage, supplanting a guy who shoots 38% from 3 and was 5th in the league in defensive rebounding percentage from the starting lineup will be damn near impossible. However, Favors does have unique physical tools and in a system that benefits him we could see a rapid increase in his production that none of us expected. Projecting numbers for him is impossible at this point – it would be silly for me to predict his raw totals since we have no idea how he’s going to fit in the system yet – but it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he produces significantly higher than expected. If Troy Murphy gets sent to the bench because Derrick Favors is stepping up, it means he’s stepping up huge. That production could spell playoff time for the Nets.