Brooklyn Nets: Key observations after 3 games

Brooklyn Nets, Kevin Durant

The Brooklyn Nets may not be undefeated, but after going 2-1 in their first three regular-season games, Nets fans should be extremely excited about what they’ve seen thus far.  The first two games were a breeze. Their game on Sunday night against the Charlotte Hornets? Not so much. Let’s take a closer look at how the Brooklyn Nets have performed this early in the season and what they will need to do moving forward in order to win the East and potentially an NBA title.

The Good

In their first two games against Golden State and Boston, the Nets averaged 124 points while limiting their opponents to less than 100.  We can get into the offense in a minute, but their smothering defense allowed them to pull away in both games. Against Golden State, they held Steph to 7/21 from the field and held the Golden State Warriors to 30% from 3pt land and 37% from the field. The Nets shot 32 free throws compared to the Warriors 23, and the game was over by halftime. All 5 starters were a +20 or more, and the Kyrie (26 points) and KD (22 points) tandem on offense were virtually unstoppable. Caris came in and poured 20 off the bench, and every single player that saw the floor scored, with the exception of Tyler Johnson.

Against Boston, the story was much of the same. While the 1st half was much closer than the Golden State game, the Nets held Boston to just 23 points in the 3rd and 18 points in the 4th before pulling away in the 4th quarter. The Nets’ length on defense made life miserable for Jayson Tatum, who finished 9-22 from the field with 20 points. The only other two Celtics players in double figures were Jaylen Brown with 27 and Marcus Smart with 13. The Nets held the Celtics to 29% from three-point range. On offense, Kyrie and KD continued their dominance, scoring respectively 37 and 29. LeVert was the only other Net in double figures with 10, and Joe Harris finished with 9. The intensity and execution the Nets demonstrated from start to finish prompted an extremely complimentary quote from Marcus Smart, who said:

The Bad

Obviously, as talented as this Nets team is, nobody believed they would go 72-0. It was only a matter of time before they lost a game and truly showed us some of their flaws. Many just didn’t think it would come against the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday night. From the jump, the Nets looked a step behind and lacked the intensity they played within the first two games. The Nets had 19 turnovers compared to the Hornets 12, lost in the rebounding category by 6, and failed to score more than 30 points in any quarter. The Hornets not only out-played the Nets, but they also out-hustled them, too, getting to almost every loose ball and grabbing 13 offensive boards. The Nets were unable to slow down Hayward, who led the Hornets with 28 points going 12-30 from the field, and P.J. Washington was a nightmare on the glass, grabbing 12 rebounds to go along with 14 points. Even Kyrie’s former teammate in Boston, Terry Rozier, finished with 19 points and a highlight-reel slam dunk over Kevin Durant.

Down 16 points in the 4th quarter, Brooklyn showed their resilience by cutting the deficit to just two points with less than 20 seconds remaining. Durant, who finished with 29 points, had a chance to tie the game off a baseline mid-range jumper over Biyombo, but much like the rest of the game, it didn’t go the Nets’ way and rimmed out. Kyrie poured in 25 points and 6 assists but had 4 turnovers as well. Joe Harris, who the Nets have gotten involved in the offense very early on in their first three games, finished with 13 points going 5-12 from the field and 3-7 from the three-point range. Brooklyn’s 2nd unit, led by Caris LeVert, who was a -12 on the court, was extremely disappointing in this one and let the Hornets take a commanding lead early in the 4th. To sum it up nicely, the Nets didn’t show up for this one.

The Unexpected

No professional sports season goes the exact way a team plans it will. Unforeseen events occur, and the coaches/GM/players make adjustments throughout a season. Heck, if you want a good example of this, just look at the NFC East in the NFL! The Brooklyn Nets are no different and are in the midst of seeing several unexpected events play out.

Easily the worst post-game news to come from their game against Charlotte was the loss of Spencer Dinwiddie. After going down in the 3rd quarter, it was announced shortly after the game that Dinwiddie had suffered a partially torn ACL in his right knee, requiring surgery, and he would be out the rest of the season. This is a huge blow for the Nets, as Dinwiddie had started each game this season as the #2 guard next to Kyrie, and it seemed as though he was started to play better in his new role.

With Dinwiddie getting hurt, that led to an opportunity for a Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot or “TLC,” who had been buried on the depth chart and hadn’t even received much time with the second unit. TLC got Dinwiddie’s minutes in the 4th quarter and was fantastic, playing great defense and going 4-4 from the field (3-3 from three-point range) and finishing with 11 points. If anything good could come out of this awful news regarding Dinwiddie’s knee, it is that TLC might be a guy Nash will want to give more minutes to, especially since Taurean Prince and Landry Shamet have both struggled mightily in the first three games.

Overall Summary

What we have learned so far:

-KD and Kyrie are BACK. There is not a better duo in the East than those two. They can each get to wherever they want on the court and complement each other’s games very nicely. On the last play of the Charlotte game, fans saw a Kyrie/KD pick and roll, resulting in KD’s miss to tie the game. That play may become deadly as the two become more familiar playing with one another.

-The Nets 2nd unit isn’t as dominant as we assumed it would be. LeVert has had 2 back-to-back mediocre games and needs to do a better job of leading the team when KD/Kyrie is not on the floor. Taurean Prince has been flat out awful, and Shamet has been disappointing. Jarrett Allen has been the most consistent player in the 2nd unit.

-When the Nets don’t play with urgency and focus on defense, they could be beaten by any team in this league.

-Head Coach Steve Nash has not quite mastered these rotations just yet

What we still don’t know:

-Who will start in Dinwiddie’s place; will it be Caris LeVert? Landry Shamet? Or did TLC earn the chance to start?

-Are the Nets still interested in trading for James Harden?

-Will Deandre Jordan eventually get demoted to the 2nd unit so Jarrett Allen can start?

-Will the Nets begin to rest KD and Kyrie soon to manage their playing time?

The Nets (2-1) play the Memphis Grizzlies (0-2) at home tonight at 7:30 pm EST. Kevin Durant will be sitting out this game.

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Brooklyn Nets: Breaking down the Nets Final Preseason Win against the Celtics

Brooklyn Nets, Kyrie Irving

If you’re a follower of Brooklyn Nets news, then you have probably seen the video of Kyrie Irving burning sage prior to the Nets’ final preseason game against the Celtics last night. Irving explained after the game, his “smudging” was meant to cleanse the energy in the arena but to0 many Nets fans, it may have had a slightly different meaning; a fresh start. Not since the early 2000s have Nets, fans had a team with this much hype and excitement around them. With a healthy Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, returning key contributors in Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, Joe Harris, and Jarrett Allen, and adding Landry Shamet and Jeff Green in the offseason to round out this roster, stakes could not be higher for the Brooklyn Nets as we approach the regular season.

Breaking Down the Nets Final Preseason Game

Kevin Durant Shows Out

While the first preseason game belonged to Kyrie, Durant stole the show against the Celtics last night, scoring 25 points on 9-16 from the field in 27 minutes of action. Whether it was the pull-up three, blowing by his defender for the dunk at the rim, or the un-guardable mid-range shot, Durant showed to everyone last night that he hasn’t lost a step. But elite offense wasn’t the only feature Durant showcased last night; he also led the Nets with 3 blocks, several of them coming at the rim. If this is the Kevin Durant Nets fans will get this season, barring any health setbacks, then there aren’t many teams in the East who can claim their #1 is better than Brooklyn’s.

Kyrie Continues to Lead

There have been several instances throughout the first two pre-season games where Kyrie Irving has shown his leadership among teammates. Yesterday, there were two specific scenarios. One came shortly after a Spencer Dinwiddie drive to the basket, of which there was contact with his defender but no call. This became a reoccurring theme for Dinwiddie throughout the night, as there were not many fouls called on his behalf. After a particularly physical drive, Dinwiddie was visually frustrated on the ground after not receiving the call, and an encouraging Kyrie Irving came over to him to pick him up. Seems subtle and small, but those are the types of actions that good teammates and leaders exhibit on a nightly basis.

The second moment came from Irving leading by example. After the Celtics went on a mini-run midway through the game, Tatum had just finished a sequence in which he had scored 5 straight points and rejected Spencer Dinwiddie on his drive to the rim. With the Nets only leading by 9, the smallest lead since the beginning of the game, Irving demanded the ball with Tatum covering him, immediately took him to the lane, and scored on a beautiful floater. You could feel the Celtics’ momentum vanish as the Nets would go on a scoring run of their own after that moment. These are the types of momentum swings that leaders like Kyrie and KD have to execute in order for the Nets to be dominant. Kyrie finished with 17 pts, 5 assists, and 7 rebs in 28 minutes.

Role Players who Impressed

There were several Nets outside of KD and Kyrie who performed exceptionally last night. Joe Harris had a huge “remember me guys?” moment early on in the game and finished with 14 points. Dinwiddie looked efficient with the starters, despite a 1-7 shooting night, picking his spots on when he should attack and when he should defer to the two stars on the team. And Jarrett Allen continued his excellent play in backing up Deandre Jordan (will return to shortly) with a stat line of 9 pts and 11 rebs. As for the two newcomers in Jeff Green and Landry Shamet, they have given Steve Nash some excellent minutes thus far. Shamet has looked sharp with the 2nd unit and moves well without the ball. Green, playing at the 5, has given the Nets a small-ball lineup with all 5 players on the court capable of hitting a three. TLC gave the Nets 11 solid minutes off the bench and has fought hard this preseason to crack this Nets rotation.

Preseason Summary & Remaining Roster questions

Obviously, the biggest story out of the Nets’ two preseason games has been how great Kyrie and KD have both looked. There needs to be something said about the fact that these guys complement each other’s games very nicely. KD can play with anybody, and Kyrie now feels he has an equal scoring counterpart on his team (sorry, Lebron). The supporting cast has looked exceptional, and Nash has done a great job of mixing and matching rotations in hopes of generating an optimal five players throughout the game. The Nets have dominated their opponents in both preseason games, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t questions about this team headed into the regular season.

For example, who will start at the center position, Deandre Jordan or Jarrett Allen? In two preseason games, Coach Nash has yet to insert Jarrett Allen into the starting lineup. Now, this is where many Nets fans have disagreed with Nash; anyone with eyes can see Allen has the ability to contribute much more than Jordan, both on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Unfortunately, the narrative is that because Jordan has a close-knit friendship with KD and Kyrie, he will continue to start over Allen. This is something that may change if the Nets go on a losing skid early on in the season.

Another question Nash will have to answer is who will start alongside Kyrie, Spencer Dinwiddie, or Caris LeVert? Yesterday, we saw Dinwiddie get the start, who seemed to mesh well with Kyrie and KD despite the off shooting night.  LeVert led the 2nd unit and eventually would get some time with KD and Kyrie in the 3rd. While it seemed as though Nash’s strategy worked as LeVert managed to score 18 points in 21 minutes, the Nets are still unsure on who will start and who will come off the bench between the two.

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Brooklyn Nets: Spencer Dinwiddie Tests Positive for COVID-19 a 2nd time, Will Not Travel to Orlando with team

Spencer Dinwiddie, Brooklyn Nets

You ever have one of those days where nothing seems to go your way, and you find yourself asking, how can today possibly get any worse? And then low and behold, something else terrible happens and it immediately gets worse? That has been the last several months for our Brooklyn Nets.

Spencer Dinwiddie, who was hopeful to travel with the Nets to Orlando despite being infected with COVID-19 and showing symptoms, tested positive for a 2nd time on Monday, thus ending any hopes of returning to the hardwood once the season resumes. Dinwiddie updated fans and commended the Nets organization in several tweets earlier on Tuesday afternoon:

Dinwiddie is the 6th player on the Nets roster to have tested positive for COVID-19 since March and the 2nd Net in the last two weeks, as DeAndre Jordan also tested positive for the virus. Unlike Jordan, who immediately stated he would not be playing in Orlando, Dinwiddie’s goal was to rehab as much as he can and see where things stood before the team left to Orlando. Unfortunately, Dinwiddie fell short of his goal and will be watching what’s left of the Nets compete from the comfort of his home. The Brooklyn point guard did leave fans on a positive note by tweeting out the following:

With Dinwiddie officially out, the team has some tough roster decisions to make. Who will start at point guard? Which players will step up and attempt to match the production that was given to the Nets on a nightly basis from Dinwiddie, DeAndre, and Wilson Chandler? As NetsDaily pointed out, here is what the remaining roster looks like for Brooklyn:

It seems as though newcomer Tyler Johnson will get big minutes now, paired with the likes of Chiozza and Temple backing up Caris LeVert and Joe Harris. TLC will also be in that mix. Reserves such as Jeremiah Martin and Dzanan Musa could see an increase in playing time if there is any injury to the guards mentioned previously.

It will be interesting to watch how interim HC Jacque Vaughn handles this new roster and what lineups he decides to use in Orlando. There are several fans out there (myself included) that believe Vaughn is coaching for the Nets HC job next year, which could be a motivating factor for this team to perform well and exceed expectations. The Nets may not be the team they were when the season ended in March, but this team still has some fight left in them.

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Brooklyn Nets: Tyler Johnson In, Theo Pinson Out

Tyler Johnson, Brooklyn Nets

Late last night, the Brooklyn Nets made one of the first big moves of pre-Orlando free agency by signing veteran Tyler Johnson. The 28-year-old guard, who has played for the Heat and the Suns in his 7 year career, will continue his journey as a key player in the rotation for the Nets. Johnson was having a down year for the Suns before play was suspended, averaging only 5.7 points in limited playing time, but Net’s fans hope he’s able to capture some of the same magic he had early in his career with the Heat.

Nets Have Had their Eye on Tyler Johnson for a While

This isn’t the first time the Nets showed interest in Johnson. Back in 2016, the Nets had put out a $50 million offer sheet for Johnson, that was matched by the Miami Heat. Now a guard has been added to the mix, general manager Sean Marks has a decision to make on Chris Chiozza. Chiozza gave the Nets some great minutes down the stretch as a backup option to Spencer Dinwiddie but is currently a free agent. He is not guaranteed a spot on the roster but many Nets fans feel bringing Chiozza back would be in the team’s best interest, especially with Kyrie Irving sidelined until next season.

With Tyler Johnson coming in, the Nets also decided to permanently waive fan-favorite Theo Pinson. What Pinson lacked in on-court production he made up as a motivator on the bench. Whether it was celebrating big baskets by dancing on the sidelines or constantly hyping up teammates after significant plays, Pinson helped create the culture in Brooklyn that helped propel the team to a playoff run last year and made the team attractive enough for two of the biggest superstars in the league to want to play here. Every great team needs a hype man and Pinson for the last few years was that guy.

Unfortunately in attempting to build a championship roster, Marks has had to make certain sacrifices along the way. In cutting Pinson, allowing David Nwaba (another fan favorite) to sign a two year deal with the Rockets, and trading away the Net’s best player from a year ago in D’Angelo Russell, Marks has shown he’s willing to make the tough decision to take this team to the next level.

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Former GM Rod Thorn Blames end of Nets Eastern Conference Dominance on not resigning Kenyon Martin

Many people come to mind when Nets fans reminisce over the early 2000s teams that went to two straight finals in 2002 and 2003. Jason Kidd, Kerry Kittles, Keith Van Horn, Byron Scott, and Richard Jefferson are among some of those names. One name every Nets fan will forever remember was the energetic, undersized yet effective power forward, Kenyon Martin. “K-Mart,” who only ended up playing 4 seasons with the Nets, was undoubtedly their second most important player during those two runs to the NBA Finals. Martin was the #1 selection in the 2000 draft by the New Jersey Nets, which also happened to be the first draft of Rod Thorn’s with the franchise. It has been 20 years since that draft, and Thorn believes the Nets lost their Eastern Conference Crown when they failed to resign Jason Kidd’s favorite alley-oop partner, Kenyon Martin.

Thorn Shares Thoughts on What Led to Nets Demise in Recent Interview with Ian Eagle

Thorn, a legend most notably recognized for drafting arguably the greatest player of all in Michael Jordan during the 1984 draft, turned the Nets from a joke to one of the most dangerous teams in the East with only a few draft picks and several roster moves. Outside of trading for Jason Kidd, who quickly became the leader and best player on the Nets, Thorn’s second-biggest move was drafting Kenyon Martin.

K-Mart’s numbers never jumped off the sheet. In 4 years with NJ, he averaged a respectable 15.1 ppg and 7.6 RPG. At 6’9, he was undersized for the power forward position but prided himself on being the most energetic player on the floor at all times. Hustling for loose balls, throwing down high-flying alley-oops from Jason Kidd, and scoring on second-chance opportunities were several of Martin’s strengths. Pair his energy and ability to get out in transition with an all-time distributor in Jason Kidd, and what we received on the court was some of the best basketball in the history of the New Jersey Nets franchise. To refresh your memory of just how ferocious a player Martin was, here are several highlights from his days with the Nets:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3c-q3bt-LzE&w=560&h=315%5D

When asked by Ian Eagle about Kenyon Martin, Thorn had this to say: “We were never the same after Kenyon left. We never replaced him while I was there. Tremendous heart gave it his all, run the court, was great playing with Jason. A little undersized for Tim Duncan, but did a great job for us, loved it.” After the 03 seasons, Martin would play one more season with the Nets before eventually agreeing to a sign-and-trade with the Denver Nuggets. According to an interview by Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson in 2018, Martin claims the Nets never offered him a contract after the 2004 season, forcing him to agree to a sign-and-trade with Denver for a lucrative seven-year $92.5M dollar contract.

Unfortunately, we all know how this story played out. Martin left after the 03-04 season, the Nets traded for Vince Carter to take over as the primary scorer, and while the pairing of Carter and Kidd were sensational together for several years, they never peaked quite as hard as the early 2000s Nets teams did. Nets fans will forever be grateful for Rod Thorn turning around the franchise in trading for HOF point guard Jason Kidd and drafting significant pieces in Kenyon Martin and Richard Jefferson. But one could only wonder, what if the Nets had resigned K-Mart after that 03-04 season and continued to build off the Kidd/Martin/Jefferson trio? Could we have potentially returned to an NBA final if we ever found the right Center to pair with those three? These are the types of questions that have kept Nets fans up for the past 15 years, including me.

Brooklyn Nets: Spencer Dinwiddie Defends Himself against Twitter Troll

Brooklyn Nets, Spencer Dinwiddie

Twitter is an amazing place. Fans can interact with players and players can speak their minds to fans on a daily basis. Sometimes the interactions are pleasant and positive, other times players feel the need to defend themselves against the “haters.” The more a player tends to speak out and be active on social media, the more haters they seem to have. Spencer Dinwiddie, one of the most active Brooklyn Nets on Twitter, is a veteran when it comes to dealing with the “haters” on Twitter.

After a bizarre video of Mitchell Robinson putting on a dribbling clinic and drilling a jumper in a 2 on 2 scrimmage went viral, many Knicks fans were impressed with the young big man’s skills. Spencer Dinwiddie decided to address what many were thinking in a tweet responding to the video of Robinson.

As talented as Robinson is, Dinwiddie was 100% correct in his observation here. Unfortunately, @DaRealBootum chose this opportunity to take a shot at our “Tech Guy with a Jumper.”

Bootum even included a two-minute montage of Dinwiddie’s step-back misses illustrating his point. Very strange, specific area to attack Dinwiddie. I would assume most who attempt stepback jumpers don’t have high percentages. Dinwiddie perceived Bootum’s comment to be slight at his clutch gene and responded appropriately:

After reading Dinwiddie’s tweet, I decided to post a tweet of my own from the Fireside Nets account explaining just how spot on I thought Dinwiddie was in defending himself.

The perfect breakdown as to why Dinwiddie is CLUTCH and shouldn’t take trash from anybody trying to point out his misses. And clearly, Dinwiddie agreed with my explanation. Not only did he favorite the tweet, Dinwiddie responded to my tweet immediately afterward!

Just another day in the Twitter life of Spencer Dinwiddie. Now, let’s enjoy these videos of Dinwiddie hitting game-winners and laugh at those on Twitter that try to hate on him.

 

 

 

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On this Date 8 years ago, the Nets played their last game in New Jersey

Nets, New Jersey Nets, Brooklyn Nets

On April 23rd, 2012, the Nets played their final game in the Izod Center after their 2-year stint in Newark, thus ending the franchise’s run of 35 seasons in New Jersey.

The Nets lost the game to the Philadelphia 76ers, 105 – 87. Players that scored in double figures that night for the 76ers were Jrue Holiday (15), Andre Iguodala (14), Elton Brand (15), Lou Williams (11), Evan Turner (13), and Thaddeus Young (15).

Marshon Brooks (18) and Kris Humphries (16 pts 12 rbs) lead the Nets in scoring while Gerald Wallace, Johan Petro, and Armon Johnson all scored in double figures. Also on that Nets team was Gerald Green, Anthony Morrow, and DeShawn Stevenson. Deron Williams and Brook Lopez were inactive for that game. In Avery Johnson’s 2nd to last year as Head Coach, the team finished the season 22 – 43 that season. Here is one of the few highlights from that season:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKRPU6GXvsI?controls=0&start=11&w=560&h=315

It wasn’t until their move to Brooklyn and acquisition of Joe Johnson that the team finally started winning again. But from 2007 to that final game in 2012, the New Jersey Nets were one of the worst franchises in the NBA, finishing each of those five seasons with losing records.

It’s the horrible seasons fans are forced to endure that make the successful ones that much sweeter. When Brooklyn holds that championship trophy in the next few years, the same Nets fans that suffered from 2007-2012 will be the loudest ones cheering, and I will be among them.

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Brooklyn Nets: Kevin Durant and Other Nets Players Welcome Sabrina Ionescu to Brooklyn

On Friday Night, the New York Liberty selected Oregon Ducks point guard Sabrina Ionescu No. 1 overall in the 2020 WNBA draft. Ionescu had a legendary career at Oregon, most notably known for registering the most triple doubles in NCAA history, finishing with a ridiculous 26. She also had an incredibly close relationship with the late great Kobe Bryant. Bryant admired Ionescu’s competitive drive and the two shared many conversations about life and basketball together. Ionescu spoke at Kobe’s public memorial in February.

As the New York Liberty plan to play in Brooklyn for the full 2020 season, a move that has been heavily backed by Liberty and Nets owner Joe Tsai, Nets players have gone out of their way to welcome Ionescu to Brooklyn.  Kevin Durant started the welcome wagon shortly after Ionescu was drafted.

The Brooklyn Nets also congratulated Ionescu on their own Twitter page last night with several tweets including a video featuring Kyrie Irving, Joe Harris, and Garrett Temple, all crafting Sabrina a personalized message about their excitement for her to play in Brooklyn.

Along with Sabrina Ionescu, the New York Liberty also selected Megan Walker (UConn), Kylee Shook (Louisville), Jazmine Jones (Louisville) and Leaonna Odom (Duke).

Brooklyn Nets: All-Time Starting Five Lineup

Brooklyn Nets, Joe Johnson

If the Brooklyn Nets were able to create a starting five featuring their best position players of all time, regardless of which period the players played in, who would that starting five be? This starting five can feature any player on the team after the Nets joined the NBA in 1976, so I will NOT be including Julius Erving and Rick Barry on this list.

My All-Time Starting Nets Five

Center: Brook Lopez

Career Stats: 16.8 ppg 6.4 RPG, 9 seasons with NJN/BKN

This position might have been the most difficult to select. There were several solid options to choose from, including Derrick Coleman and Jayson Williams, who played very solid basketball for the Nets in the ’90s, to old-timer Daryl Dawkins who was a dunk machine in the ’80s. I ended up going with Brook Lopez due to his consistent scoring and ability to play a true 5. The other players on the list were undersized centers and were better suited as Power Forwards.

A talented scoring big man drafted by the Nets from Stanford, Lopez’s 9-year tenure with the Nets often goes overlooked, as he was always one of the more quiet personalities on the team. Lopez offensively had all the tools to be an all-star center: post up scoring ability, great mid-range game, and he could even hit the open three on occasion. At his peak, Lopez averaged over 20 points per game for the Nets and helped with their transition from New Jersey to Brooklyn. The big knock on Lopez was and will always be his lack of rebounding, as he never averaged more than 9 rebounds per game in any season. Lopez was also viewed as “soft” on defense, and while he averaged more than 1.5 blocks throughout his career, he never struck fear into his opponents.

Power Forward: Kenyon Martin 

Career Stats: 12.3 ppg, 6.8 RPG, 4 seasons with NJN

Yes, K-mart’s career numbers will not wow anybody. Derrick Coleman averaged more points and rebounds than K-Mart so did Buck Williams. Obviously, from a historical standpoint, Kevin Garnett is the greatest PF to ever play for the Nets, but he played for the Nets well after his prime. K-Mart only played in NJ for 4 seasons, but his presence was so significant in New Jersey  I’m sure many Nets fans would assume he played there longer.

K-Mart was a pivotal member of the Nets teams that represented the Eastern Conference in back to back NBA Finals. Even as a limited shooter (his jump shot was one of the ugliest in the NBA) and undersized big man, Martin relied heavily on his athleticism and energy to score and make plays for his team.  He brought an intensity to the Nets that was unprecedented and upon Jason Kidd’s arrival, quickly became one of Kidd’s favorite players to set up for shots around the rim. From diving for loose balls every night to high flying two-handed dunks, Martin was an extremely fun player to watch, and he always seemed to elevate his game during the playoffs (see his ppg and RPG higher in playoff appearances with NJN).

Small Forward: Kevin Durant

Career Stats: 27.0 ppg, 7.1 RPG, 0 seasons with NJN 

Technically, Durant 100% qualifies for this list. While he hasn’t played in a Nets uniform yet, there is no small forward in the history of the franchise that has accomplished anything close what to KD has. Durant is a former MVP (2013 – 14 season), 2-time NBA champion (won Finals MVP in both), 4-time scoring champion, and a 10-time all-star. He is arguably the best scorer in the last decade, and he is just 31 years old. The Nets will await to see if Durant can return to an elite level next season, almost 2 years removed from the Achilles injury he suffered in the 2018 – 19 NBA Finals.

Other small forwards considered: Richard Jefferson, Bojan Bogdanović, Keith Van Horn, Kendall Gill, and the interchangeable SF/SG players, Vince Carter and Joe Johnson.

Shooting Guard: Vince Carter

Career Stats: 16.7 ppg, 4.5 seasons with NJN

VC joined the Nets in 2004 after 7 great years with Toronto and instantly developed chemistry with teammate Jason Kidd. The loss of K-Mart to Denver became a distant memory in the eyes of Nets fans, as Carter provided fans with highlight-reel dunks and alley-oops on a nightly basis. Two of the best Vince Carter plays on the Nets you will ever see: His reverse dunk alley-oop pass from Kidd in 2006 and his posterization of Alonzo Mourning in 2005. While the Nets never went back to a championship with Kidd and Cater, the pair gave fans several years of extremely entertaining basketball.

While one could make the argument that Carter was a small forward for the Nets, he and Jefferson shared wing duties and were interchangeable at the 2 and the 3. Other notable shooting guards that could have been selected include Drazen Petrović, who was becoming a superstar for the Nets until he passed away after a tragic car accident in 1993 and Joe Johnson, who was the leader on Brooklyn teams that went to the playoffs in the early 2010s.

Point Guard: Jason Kidd

Career Stats: 12.6 ppg 6.7 RPG 8.7 APG, 6.5 seasons with NJN

This one was a no-brainer; Jason Kidd is the greatest Net of all time and was the main piece during the franchise’s most successful run to date. From the time he was traded to the Nets in 2001 for Stephon Marbury to when he was traded back to the Mavericks in 2007, there was never a greater time for basketball in New Jersey. Always an elite passer, Kidd made everyone on the Nets better because he made the game easier for them. Whether it was setting up players like K-Mart or Carter for epic fast-break dunks to finding open shooters like Keith Van Horn, Lucious Harris, and Kerry Kittles for open three-pointers, Kidd always knew where his teammates were going to be before they got there. If you want to relive some of Kidd’s greatest assists of his career, many of them with a Nets uniform on, watch this video here. The man was an absolute magician with the basketball.

Kenny Anderson, D’Angelo Russell, and Kyrie Irving are several other notable great NBA point guards.

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Brooklyn Nets: Stephon Marbury says Durant/Irving Duo Will be “Pretty Magical” Together

Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets

All basketball fans remember Stephon Marbury. An extremely talented player out of Georgia Tech, “Starbury” had what many would consider a successful career in the NBA, playing for 5 different franchises (Timberwolves, Brooklyn Nets, Suns, Knicks, Celtics) over the course of 13 seasons and averaging respectable career stats of 19.3 points per game and 7.6 assists per game. Marbury was the Nets starting point guard for several years and received an all-star appearance with the franchise in 2001, but injuries marred his tenure with the Nets and he was traded to Phoenix after that 2001 season for Jason Kidd, who would eventually be the missing piece in leading the Nets to the NBA finals.

In 2010, Marbury would leave the NBA to pursue a basketball career in China, where he would resurrect his career and go on to lead his team, the Beijing Ducks, to 3 CBA championships. Since the corona-virus pandemic began, Marbury has been a major contributor in lobbying for more masks to be made and shipped to New York City. On April 27th, Marbury released a documentary on his life and basketball career called “A Kid From Coney Island.”

Marbury Opens Up on Scoop B Radio in Recent Interview

The former Net sat down with Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson of Heavy.com on Scoop B Radio for an interview to discuss several topics.

One of the topics discussed was Marbury’s thoughts on how Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving will fit together once the two suit up for Brooklyn. “I think those two on the court is going to be pretty magical,” Marbury said. “I think it going to put things in perspective as far as how good they really are and what their capabilities are because Kyrie Irving is a different monster. And Kevin Durant is a different monster. And they two together because they have a good energy with each other and they’re on the same page they’re going to flow perfectly. So I think it’s gonna be good.” Coming from a former player, this is refreshing for Nets fans to hear. We have yet to see KD and Kyrie on the floor together, but if you agree with Marbury’s sentiment, it’s realistic to see this duo become one of the best in the league.

Another topic that Scoop B touched upon was Marbury’s short tenure in Minnesota playing with recently inducted Hall-of-Famer Kevin Garnett, and why Marbury doesn’t regret his decision to request a trade after only a few years into his career. “I couldn’t give seven years of my life living in Minnesota. I grew up in New York where it was a melting pot; Black, White, Chinese, Puerto Rican, Italian – all different types of races. And when I moved to Minnesota it was predominately white. After leaving Georgia Tech where I lived in Atlanta. So you go from a melting pot to a place where there is a lot of black people to where you go and it’s 6 percent black people. It was a culture shock for me. ” Marbury explained. He went on to mention that the cold, winter Minnesota weather also played a factor in his decision to leave.

Finally, Marbury expressed his excitement for the Michael Jordan documentary, saying that “Jordan is not from this Earth” and “shouldn’t even be ranked” implying that there is no comparison to who Marbury believes is the great player of all time. Marbury would go on to say that the upcoming Michael Jordan documentary will deter the opinions of young fans who believe Lebron is a better player. Marbury recalled being “in awe” of Michael Jordan when the two met on the hardwood during Marbury’s rookie season.

Marbury would also go on to talk about the corona-virus in length and the differences in how China and the US have handled the outbreak, his experience participating in the 2001 all-star game, and how significant Yao Ming’s impact on the NBA was. He even shares his opinion on Spike Lee’s movie He Got Game, claiming that the talented director stole the story loosely based on Marbury’s life. You can listen to the entire interview here.

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