Brooklyn Nets: DeAndre Jordan is a bit late to the three-point party

DeAndre Jordan, Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets

Brooklyn. Home of the Brooklyn Nets. Birthplace of Jay-Z. A melting pot of Caribbean Cultures. You can find a lot of things and different kinds of people in the borough of Brooklyn. One thing you haven’t been able to find though, a true jump-shooting big. Especially since the departure of Brook Lopez. Well, Kenny Atkinson might be in luck cause things can potentially change.

Deandre Jordan recently spoke on how he is working on his three-ball.

Nets Daily writes:

Appearing on Barstool Sports’ “Pardon My Take” podcast earlier this week, DeAndre Jordanthat he, too, is working on his three point shot, but doesn’t see it as a big part of his game. He noted that he makes his living underneath the basket.

Asked about a three-point shot, Jordan, said, “Yeah, everyone is developing that part of the game and I’m obviously doing it. But I also want to stay on the floor. If I’m just shooting three-point shots, obviously, and I’m missing them, then I’m old and I’ll disappear.”

Deandre Jordan is open to working on and expanding his game. He knows it’ll make him more valuable and useful to not only the team but also himself. It’ll give another weapon in this deep shooting era for Kenny can use. Good note number two, Deandre Jordan understands that obtaining another piece does not form a new identity for you. He understands his strengths lie closer to the basket.

A common saying is a jump shot is a blessing and a curse. Having the ability to shoot makes people fall in love with taking jump shots. It becomes easy to settle. Increasingly so as you get tired.

The mindset of him not forgetting what made him his reputation and money, it seems like we won’t have to worry about him just jacking up threes. But now we have the potential to get another floor spacer if it works out.

The final good note from all of this, despite Deandre Jordan shooting just 9% from three in his career (on 1 for 11 shooting), he could really make the leap to a somewhat decent three-ball shooter. His shooting form has never been horrid. It has always been solid, just not trusted.

On top of that, we seen Deandre Jordan take big leaps in his free throw shooting. Ten seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers have Deandre Jordan shooting roughly 45% from the charity stripe. Since leaving he’s shot around 70% from the stripe (68% with the Dallas Mavericks and 77% with the New York Knicks).

So with these big jump in conversation numbers, I don’t believe it’ll be impossible for Deandre Jordan to shoot around 30-33% from three if he works at it tirelessly. Let’s not forget, DJ is now being coached by Kenny Atkinson who has worked wonders with players as a means to get a reputation for a good player development coach. Most players have their career year from three under him and Deandre Jordan may be the next to follow.

My conspiracy take away — Deandre Jordan is quietly making a push to say that he should be a starter. The few things that Jarrett Allen have over DJ are as follows. Age, potential, and fro. Normally free throws would have been added, but as I stated earlier, DJ has been great strides in that aspect of his game.

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That might be more of a push at this point. Last season both Brooklyn big men shot around 70% from the line this passing season. Now add the potential of a jump shot that Jarrett Allen hasn’t figured out yet, we might be looking at yet another category in which DJ proves he has the edge over Jarrett Allen in. Hopefully, Jarrett Allen is also working on his jumper to bounce back from a less than stellar year from beyond. Either way, we are lucky to have both these guys.

Brooklyn Nets: Why Ryan Anderson would fit in perfect with the Nets

Should the Brooklyn Nets bring back Ryan Anderson?

Brooklyn Nets free agency fun, part 4 – Ryan Anderson edition

Well, it’s the off-season. The Finals are a thing of the increasingly distant past, the NBA Draft is right on its heels, and every major player has pretty much left the free agency boards. Things are more or less set in stone with just a few loose ends needing to tied.

So with this series, I’m going to just throw out some names that remain out there in the Free Agency Pool. I don’t truly believe that Sean Marks and the Brooklyn Nets brass are looking at these players, but these are players I wouldn’t mind the organization taking a chance on.

Now keeping this in mind, maybe it’s time for Ryan Anderson to come home. The Brooklyn Nets drafted Anderson back in 2008 with the 21st overall pick. From that moment, he has bounced around the league proving his talents as a stretch big. Although he’s hit a rough patch, maybe some home cooking is what would get him back on the right track.

As a professional, Ryan fits right in with the culture that has been established. He’d be a happy sight for the New Jersey faithful, albeit he only had a one-season stay with the organization. Although Ryan has never been sought after for his defense, he probably would give the Nets their only legitimate power forward.

At 6’10” and 240lbs, Anderson has the body of an actual 4 versus being a small forward that can play the position. He can also play some small forward (but it isn’t needed) and some center. His 3pt acumen will give Coach Kenny Atkinson yet another player who can stretch the floor. At a career 38% clip from beyond, Ryan is a proven shooter, hitting 40% of his 3s every season in which he attempted at least seven 3s a game.

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In Kenny’s system which relies heavily on the 3 ball, Ryan would fit perfectly. He’d be a great player to stand out for the kick out when defenses collapse off penetration or a plausible person to take advantage of a pick and pop scenario. As stated earlier, Ryan Anderson hit a rough patch as far as his shooting goes, but you can almost guarantee him bouncing back under Kenny  Atkinson and the Nets development staff.

Brooklyn Nets: Free Agency Fun Part 3 – Iso Joe Johnson

Brooklyn Nets, Joe Johnson

Well, it’s the off-season. The Finals are a thing of the increasingly distant past, the NBA Draft is right on its heels, and every major player has pretty much left the free agency boards. Things are more or less set in stone with just a few loose ends needing to tied. So with this series, I’m going to just throw out some names that remain out there in the Free Agency Pool. I don’t truly believe that Sean Marks and the Brooklyn Nets brass are looking at these players, but these are players I wouldn’t mind the organization taking a chance on.

Despite the roster for the 2019-20 season being already established, I for one wouldn’t mind seeing a familiar face back in Brooklyn. Joe “Jesus” Johnson, Brooklyn’s original Number 7. Joe Johnson is supremely loved and a fan favorite for the many heroics and years of carrying a burden he wasn’t supposed to with the Brooklyn Nets.

When his running mate Deron Williams declined before our eyes and Brook Lopez struggled with his health as well as play at times, Johnson was asked to shoulder the franchise that he was supposed to play more of a supporting role. From big games to clutch moments, Joe did all he could for us and it’s greatly appreciated.

Adding Joe Johnson brings another professional NBA veteran. Having already played here, he’ll be familiar with the setting and many of the things that the organization tries to do. Joe can help continue to be an example to the younger players, showing them how to maneuver in the NBA and how to carry themselves. This is a common theme throughout the Free Agency Fun because of how important the culture that Sean Marks has established is.

Although upholding the culture is important, Joe Johnson can still contribute with good play. He struggled from 3 his last stint in the NBA, but the season prior he shot 41% from outside the arch.

In Brooklyn and Miami the year before that, he shot about 37% and 42% respectively from deep. Joe has even said he wouldn’t mind returning to the NBA given the chance, as he continues to put on a show and dominate in Ice Cube’s Big 3 league. Albeit against older retired players, Iso Joe shows that he still has it.

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Signing Joe Johnson address a need for the Nets to get another shot creator. The Brooklyn Nets don’t have too many of those in abundance. Kyrie Irving, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Caris Levert would probably be the ones that come to mind. After that, much of the roster are probably better suited as catch and shoot or pick and roll players.

Johnson is a player well known for being able to create space for his own shot. His ability to have the rock on a string is one way he does that. Another way is in the post. At roughly 240lbs, Joe Johnson may be in the body of a two-guard or small forward, but he has the weight of a power forward. When Joe goes into the post, many times it is pure bully ball. Don’t get it twisted, he can operate extremely well in there with a wide variety of moves, but he also has the ability to overpower those guarding him. Him also giving the Nets a post player creates the option of him potentially being doubled in the post as he has been throughout the course of his career.

With that, he has plenty of shooters he can kick it out to so that defenses pay. Joe’s weight and frame also gives Kenny Atkinson and the Brooklyn Nets a player who can and has played four positions. He can run point for stretches, the off guard, but it’s probably best he play majority small forward and power forward, where he can better utilize his advantages on both sides of the ball.

Lastly, outside of fanfare and a good story, Joe Johnson can help players such as Caris Levert grow their game. Teaching the younger guys various dribble moves or help them get a better grasp and feel for the game would do wonder. Levert started coming into his own last season and with Joe’s help, he could reach even greater heights. I know America is pro keeping religion out of school, but I wouldn’t mind having Joe Jesus bless us in the Barclays one last time.

Brooklyn Nets: Kyrie Irving brings a consistency to the point guard position

Brooklyn Nets, Boston Celtics, Kyrie Irving

The Brooklyn Nets enjoyed elite point guard play for the first time since 2012 when Deron Williams was still on the team and the organization was just relocated from New Jersey to Brooklyn. Fast forward seven years and the entire concept of Brooklyn lured both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant to the smaller team in New York.

Irving, though, brings a consistency to the point guard position the Nets haven’t seen in quite a while. D’Angelo Russell was fantastic in 2018, averaging 21.1 points per game and 7.0 assists. He was an All-Star and helped carry the Nets into a playoff appearance, despite losing in the first round to the Philadelphia 76ers.

The influence of an everyday premium point guard is significant, and the team will see the benefits this year. Irving has only dipped below 20 points per game (season average) twice in his eight-year career, the last being in 2015-16 with 19.6.

The primary issue with Irving is that to be quite frank, he’s a little crazy, and players have a hard time developing chemistry with him. He’s a very self-centered player, never averaging over 6.9 assists per game throughout his entire career (has never been top 10 in this category). While a number of Nets players were actively recruiting Irving to the Brooklyn, including Spencer Dinwiddie, it seemed as if he was coming all along.

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Irving is more offensively gifted than D’Lo, recording fewer turnovers and more points per game consistently. But while Russell seemed to elevate the players around him, at times Kyrie only helps himself. With Durant not on the floor for a majority of 2019, we will see how influential Irving really is, and if he can will the newly built team to a second consecutive playoff appearance.

A question arises — should the Nets have kept the youthful D’Angelo Russell in favor of signing Irving to a max deal?

Brooklyn Nets: Free Agency Fun Part 2- Pau Gasol

Brooklyn Nets, San Antonio Spurs, Pau Gasol

Part two of Brooklyn Nets free agency fun!

Well, it’s the off-season. The Finals are a thing of the increasingly distant past, the NBA Draft is right on its heels, and every major player has pretty much left the free agency boards.

Things are more or less set in stone with just a few loose ends needing to tied. So with this series, I’m going to just throw out some names that remain out there in the Free Agency Pool. I don’t truly believe that Sean Marks and the Brooklyn Nets brass are looking at these players, but these are players I wouldn’t mind the organization taking a chance on.

Now I know the roster is more or less set and these are the guys we’re probably going into the season with. With that being said and understood, I would have loved if the Brooklyn Nets brought Pau Gasol in for a look. He checks many different boxes for the Nets.

For starters, Gasol is a professional’s professional. He has a long career with no problems. On the court and as far as we can tell off the court, he’s been a model citizen. These are the kind of high character guys Sean Marks and the Brooklyn Nets have brought in over the years to help create, establish, and solidify their culture.

The same culture that former Net Luis Scola said would grab the attention of star free agents down the line. The same culture that ended up doing just that and bringing in Kyrie Irving, as well as Kevin Durant. To help maintain this culture, you must continue to fill the roster with a player such as a Pau Gasol.

Secondly, Gasol fits a position of need. Last season, there were many games that the Brooklyn Nets got crushed on the boards and dominated on the paint. Overall, we had a small team. Our tallest guy was only 6’11” who was at the center position.

The power forward position was in great need of size, muscle, and experience while the center position was in need of depth. We saw this when Ed Davis went down right before the playoffs and the struggling that ensued because of it. Pau brings a player who can solve both these dilemmas. A player who’s spent a lengthy part of his career at the four and then played more of the five as he aged, Pau brings depth and experience to both positions. Although at this age it’s probably best for him to spend most of his time at the five, he could occasionally bring quality minutes to the power forward position.

Gasol brings a player who can shoot the three ball at a good enough clip and draw bigs away from the basket. For his career, he shots it at about a 37% clip. Ever since his departure from the Los Angles Lakers, Gasol has added the three ball with more regularity and consistency.

Mentorship is one of the final things that Gasol brings to the Brooklyn Nets. As a team with multiple champions and championship aspirations, Gasol brings another proven winner who knows what it takes to get to the big stage and win there multiple times.

He can be a leader for the team and help show them how to carry themselves towards the promised land. He also can tutor the younger players, specifically Jarrett Allen and Nic Claxton. He’d probably be the most skilled big on the roster, so teaching them how to maneuver and giving them a handful of post moves to master would be great. Not to mention helping them get a better feel and understanding of the game. Pau Gasol had the ability to do wonders for the Brooklyn Nets if we had signed him.

Why did Kevin Durant sign with the Brooklyn Nets after all?

Brooklyn Nets, Kevin Durant

Was it the fans, the arena, the vibes of Brooklyn? Rarely, a superstar let alone of the best basketball players to ever step on a court comes to a small-market team. But then again, the Brooklyn Nets are in the biggest market in the world and are quickly becoming more relevant than the lowly New York Knicks.

Maybe it’s because the Knicks have “New York” in their name that they consider themselves the big brother — the tables have now turned as the Nets acquired Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving this offseason period.

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Why did Kevin Durant elect to come to the Brooklyn Nets after all?

It’s quite interesting that Durant has so much power he essentially placed himself on the Nets without ever having a meeting with them. GM Sean Marks waited like the rest of us to find out where he was going — the utter influence Durant has amazes me. And he’s earned it.

According to Marks, Durant decided to come to Brooklyn for their system, and the fact that they played their hearts out the entire 2018 season to no avail.

Marks told WFAN on Tuesday that when he first talked with Durant, he stated “I love the system. I love how you guys play. I see how hard you guys play. … You were never out of games. We could never take you guys lightly.”

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Finishing 42-40 on the season after starting 8-18, the Nets rose the occasion and took control of their destiny, and it ultimately landed them Durant, who will surely help them to another playoff appearance in the near future. The team’s tenacity didn’t only convince Durant to come, but it was enough to land Irving as well.

The signing of the two superstars attests to the influence Marks and Kenny Atkinson have had over the past two years. The future is bright for the newly claimed “older brother” of the Knicks.

Brooklyn Nets: Defending D’Angelo Russell

Brooklyn Nets, D'Angelo Russell

Ric Bucher was on Colin Cowherd’s show, the Herd, a few weeks ago and he had some choice words concerning former Brooklyn Nets point guard, D’Angelo Russell.

In this clip, Bucher makes one outlandish statement after another. Honestly, I couldn’t believe some of the things I was hearing. Ric Bucher called D’Angelo Russell “a me guy”, a younger Nick Young, and said Russell can’t fit in with what the Golden State Warriors like doing.

Let’s address these one by one shall we?

Nick Younger?
It seems no matter what, people refuse to let D’Angelo Russell grow passed the debacle he had early in his career with Nick Young. For those unfamiliar, during his rookie year, Russell recorded what should’ve been a private conversation with fellow teammate, Young.

The conversation revealed that Young was being unfaithful to Iggy Azalea, who was Young’s partner at the time. Admittedly this was a dumb move, but Russell is a very different person today. Russell, shy of one situation, has been a model citizen since his arrival in Brooklyn.

He’s worked hard, he’s been a leader, he’s led by example. Sean Marks and the Nets organization could hardly ask for more out of their former player. As far as personalities and behaviors go, since coming to Brooklyn, Russell and Young couldn’t be further apart.

Nick Young is a vibrant fun personality, but for his career, he was the class clown. He never quite knew when to take things seriously. Russell displayed a fun natured attitude, but in the right place and right time. That side of him usually showed while he celebrated his team on the bench or during the waterboarding of post-game wins. No shot at Nick Young whatsoever, but the culture in Brooklyn is built to withstand a character like Young, not built with or by said character.

D’Lo a Fit For Golden State?

How can someone look at D’Angelo Russell’s game and not think he was perfectly crafted for playing in the Warriors’ system. Let’s start with the fact that Russell had career-best shooting splits. He hit roughly 37% from distance.

On a team like that, where the 3 has really been their thing, you would be hard-pressed to find a shooter that wouldn’t fit that team.
With Russell, the Golden State Warriors get a great shooter from the mid-range. I know with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, the world automatically think this team is all threes. What you may not know is that the Warriors have shot more and more mid-range shots.

D’Angelo actually has a mid-range game and he pulls it out often. With the opposition worried about Russell’s 3 ball, he is often able to pump fake or breakdown a defender. This leaves him for many mid-range jumpers for the taken. And he feels comfortable shooting them, even with some being more contested than the others.

Breaking down the defense has an added effect. It puts stress on the defense. Its puts D’Angelo Russell in position to use his vision and playmaking, both of which are things he’s known for doing more than well. Breaking down the defense gets shooters open and Russell has the size, vision, and playmaking ability to distribute the ball to teammates on time. He’ll be a good replacement for the team losing some playmaking in Andre Iguodala and probably Shaun Livingston. That, by the way, is another big difference between Swaggy P and D’Lo. Russell is a much more willing to distribute the ball.

Me’Lo

And that brings me to my next point, Ric Bucher called Russell a “Me Guy”. Now I’m not sure if Ric Bucher has a source that tells him Russell is a totally different person behind closed doors, but Russell is anything but a me guy. He loves playmaking for teammates.

After post-game-winning waterboarding, Russell would always give teammates credit. Russell always thanked Coach Kenny Atkinson and the developmental coaching staff. He never lets the veterans become forgotten in the wake of his success. When the Brooklyn Nets clinched a playoff spot and we beat the Miami Heat towards the end of the season, D’Angelo did not allow too much time be spent on him and his team. He immediately changed the topic to the newly retired NBA legend, Dwayne Wade.

Early in the season when Russell would get benched for mistakes, he never showed signs up frustration or attitude for losing time to teammates. You can’t build a foundation and a culture such as the one the Brooklyn Nets has built over the years with a “Me Guy” as a leader. It’s built to be able to absorb guys like that without hitches, not to use guys like that as the first brick being laid.

It really seems like the NBA and its media won’t give D’Angelo Russell his just dues outside of Brooklyn. Slightly before, during, and after the Warriors acquired Russell, he was already in trade rumors.

Now we have Ric Bucher’s unchallenged opinion that he’s completely entitled to. But Russell has grown too much as a player and a man for people to downplay or ignore that growth. And just because he is no longer a member of the Brooklyn Nets, doesn’t mean I should turn an eye to him if someone is doing him a disservice. D’Angelo Russell has a lot to do with the Nets having the off-season they did this year. D’Lo will always have a home here.

Brooklyn Nets: What does David Nwaba bring to the team in 2019?

Brooklyn Nets sign David Nwaba.

On Sunday, Sean Marks and the Brooklyn Nets brass quietly added David Nwaba to the roster. With that signing, it seems the off-season is over for Marks as far as signings. The established 15 seem to be signed and Nwaba makes the cut last second, signing a two year deal with a team option in the second year.

This will be Nwaba’s fourth team in as many years. His first three years were spent with the Los Angeles Lakers, the Chicago Bulls, and the Cleveland Cavaliers, in that order. He had his career high against the Nets so I’m sure he is hoping to find a home in Brooklyn.

What Does He Bring?

David Nwaba, despite only being 6’4″, has built somewhat of a reputation as being a good defender. As far as defensive rating goes, last year the Brooklyn Nets were middle of the pack. Coach Kenny Atkinson and Sean Marks definitely would like to change this.

Nwaba helps them step in the right direction of defense. His 7’0″ wingspan allows Nwaba to contest shots, get steals, and play the passing lanes. He also is a strong statured player who can get physical with his assignment. There isn’t a worry of him being overpowered by most players at his position. He will be able to hold his own and will be able to cover point guards as well as shooting guards. On occasion, we may see him guard some small forwards.

On offense, David Nwaba is an overall efficient scorer. Most of his shots come inside the arch, specifically in the paint. His first year in college, Nwaba shot 53% from the field his first year and 47% from the field throughout his three years.

Although these are good shooting percentages, Nwaba was putrid from beyond, shooting below 17% from out there. He didn’t venture out there too often which is the good thing, but when he did it wasn’t pretty. The same goes from his shooting at the foul line which was below 70% each of his three years.

In the NBA, Nwaba has been much improved from behind the arch, starting at a putrid  20% and now for his short career shooting around a half-way decent 33%. The problems from the line persist, but his touch at and around the rim hasn’t dissipated.

His first year in the league, albeit only a 20 game sample, he shot 58% from the floor. For his career total, he averages 49% from the floor. He uses that same 7’0″ wingspan that makes him a pesky defender to get high floaters up over the outstretched arms of opposing rim protectors and then to shoot over defenders smaller or who don’t jump with him.

Nwaba also has some bounce and hang time, which allows him to better change his shot while in the air. His powerful frame is good for drawing and absorbing contact that he historically has shown he finishes through. And lastly, as a player with a decent enough handle and passing ability, he could be one of the players who Kenny Atkinson allows to handle the rock in that third point guard role.

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Where Can He Improve?

So I brought this up just now, but the main things David probably needs to improve are his free throw shooting and catch and shoot ability. In about 22 minutes a game for his career, he averages a little more than two free throws a game. With his heavy attack the basket style and mentality, he’ll need to improve in that area of his game.

Not even being able to hit 69% of your free throws in college or the league as a guard is unacceptable and he should work to at least get it up to a respectable 75%. He’s already shown great improvement on his three balls and he should keep trending in that direction.

Most players who play under Kenny Atkinson have career years from beyond and with the Nets development staff, there shouldn’t be much worry that Nwaba will do just that. Improving both these things will help Nwaba stay on the floor in case he’s needed in big moments. Welcome to Brooklyn David! Work hard and ball out.

Brooklyn Nets: Free Agency Fun Part 1 – What about Andray Blatche?

Brooklyn Nets, Sean Marks

Well, it’s the off-season. The Finals are a thing of the increasingly distant past, the NBA Draft is right on its heels, and every major player has pretty much left the free agency boards. Things are more or less set in stone with just a few loose ends needing to tied. So with this series, I’m going to just throw out some names that remain out there in the Free Agency Pool. I don’t truly believe that Sean Marks and the Brooklyn Nets brass are looking at these players, but these are players I wouldn’t mind the organization taking a chance on.

So let me get this player out the way quick, fast, and in a hurry. I would love it if Andray Blatche found his way back to Brooklyn, New York. The native-born New Yorker had his ups and downs throughout his career, but he easily had the best stretch of his career in Brooklyn, which has become somewhat of a place to resurrect your career.

You can ask D’Angelo Russell, who is gone, but not forgotten. During his tenure in Brooklyn, Blatche basically averaged 11 PPG and 5 RPG in the 20 minutes of play he was given a game. Blatche loved Brooklyn and became a fan favorite of sorts. He even wished to be brought back, but management seemed to want to go in a different direction.

What would make Andray Blatche such a key addition? Similar things to why he was a good role-playing piece with the Nets from 2012-2014. Blatche isn’t one of those bigs who can kind of dribble and then get the moniker of being able to handle the rock. He legit looks like he has the ball on a string. Plenty of times he’s used a wide array of crossovers, behind the back moves, step backs, in and out, and whatever else that was in his arsenal to create open space and attack the basket.

He’s a highly skilled big man off the dribble and is a capable passer. His time spent in the NBA wasn’t a great one from beyond the arch, but Blatche is more than capable from mid-range. His handle was good enough to shift bigs out of position and get to the rack while he had the size to still be effective in the post.

Blatche fits one of Brooklyn’s two needs. That being a legitimate power forward. While we have players who can play the 4 (Wilson Chandler, Kurucs, Nic Claxton, and maybe Prince), Blatche brings size to fit both the 4 and 5 without worrying about giving up size, weight, or experience at the position.

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Blatche also brings another veteran scoring option off the bench who can be a mentor to the youth, specifically Nic Claxton. Claxton was a point guard until he had a growth spurt and aspired to be like Kevin Durant. So with a similar skill set as Claxton, Blatche can teach the youth how to better utilize his skills along with possibly showing him a few of his own tricks.

And lastly, Blatche is a goofy (and I mean this in the most respectful way possible), fun loving guy. He’s a great energy guy and that is why he was a fan favorite. He’d fit right in with Brooklyn’s fun-loving, energetic, dance-crazed bench. Him, DeAndre Jordan, and Theo Pinson would all bring laughs, smiles, and positive energy to this team.

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That’s one thing I’d love to have, our bench from 2013-14 and 2018-19 together. Nothing, but pure energy. So although Andray Blatche is probably content to finish out his career overseas and the Brooklyn Nets probably don’t have him on the radar, I for one would love to see him back in black.

How will Kevin Durant play into the Brooklyn Nets plans in 2019?

Brooklyn Nets, Kenny Atkinson

If there’s anything the Brooklyn Nets can guarantee, it’s that they’re not sure whether superstar signing Kevin Durant will play during the 2019 season. The question is — how will he influence the team from the sideline?

On an interview with WFAN’s Mike Francesa, Kenny Atkinson stated “It’s way too early” to tell when Durant will return. The evaluation process is still in progress and a timetable for a potential return is not yet set.

However, the New York Nets’ head coach commented on the role Durant will play next season:

“I know I need his basketball acumen around and his leadership. First and foremost is his rehab and getting that right. We are going to use him. We might have to give him an assistant coach’s salary.”

“You need to use guys like that. We’re going to need his leadership this year. I know I have talked to him about it. He’s excited about that. We have already started our conversations.”

With some younger players still looking to break out and make a bigger impact, Durant is the perfect mentor and leader to help them reach their potential and make the most out of the boat-load of money Brooklyn dropped on Kevin and Kyrie Irving.

Using Durant once he returns has Atkinson staying up at night:

”I have a ton of things in my mind how we can use Kevin to his best abilities. He can play all five positions. When Kyrie is out, you can play him at the point. He’s maybe the best wing scorer, him and LeBron, in our era. It’s going to be exciting to try and fit him in into these different spots and use him as well as we can…”

Convincing one of the best basketball players of all time to skip over the New York Knicks and come to a smaller team in Brooklyn is the male version of the “Notebook.” While sitting out injured is unfortunate, his return will be something special for an organization preparing to take the leap to big brother.