From the way things are shaping up for the Brooklyn Nets, Jeremy Lin might be their most important player next season and further down the road. However, if anyone expected great success on a team level, it might be a bit exaggerated to expect contention, or perhaps even the playoffs, right away.
Needing a couple of years to recover from going all-in on winning a championship with expensive, over the top veterans, the Nets are finally entering a new stage. Besides Lin, they’ve signed Trevor Booker and Justin Hamilton. They have still cap space to work and add starters, but the stretch ‘4’ they really needed is no longer in the picture. The top dogs aren’t looking at them right now, and unless Dirk Nowitzki shockingly decides to leave the Dallas Mavericks and go to Brooklyn, they’re going to be weak with that role.
One name that might be interesting is that of Marreese Speights, who might be done with the Warriors. Speights isn’t exactly a 30-35 minutes starter, or hasn’t shown he can be, but he’s a big man who can score from all over the floor, and won’t be too expensive of a pickup for the Nets, who are going younger and more athletic than before. Thaddeus Young’s trade made people scratch some heads, but the Nets needed draft picks, and Young was the only assett they were willing to move. Brook Lopez is basically untouchable, and having him on $63 million for the next three years, unless an injury derails him again, is almost a steal considering the money flying around the league right now.
But back to Lin, who’ll share a backcourt and overall minutes with the surprising Sean Kilpatrick, the solid Bojan Bogdanovic and rookies Caris LeVert & Isaiah Whitehead. In short, the Nets need more help in the backcourt as well. Another veteran backup guard, maybe even a combo guy, could come in handy. But from the looks of things, the Nets plan of getting better has nothing to do with players over the age of 30.
From here, it’ll be interesting to see their approach. The Nets might have the young assets they want to develop right now, at least in the backcourt, and are counting on big spending in the next offseason while showing this year they’re taking a step in the right direction. Or, we’re going to see players being moved in order to acquire draft picks for the 2017 class. But the Nets didn’t seem like a team trying to shop everyone and build from scratch. They have pieces they like, and want to build in motion through them.
Signing Lin isn’t just a random veteran added to fill up the cap so they don’t end up under the cap floor. Lin fits a certain style and approach which the Nets are clearly going to adopt. He sholud have an excellent P & R game with Lopez. He did a good job of making athletic standouts like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist look better than usual, and he can do the same with Booker and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. The Nets need more depth, and preferrably a starter-quality player or two, although players who can make a significant impact are gone. For those who want immediate success, it might be disappointing. But there’s a plan in motion here, including one for Lin, who is in a position he’s never been before (was supposed to be in Houston until airship Harden landed), who has a team to grow with, as its built around him in a way.
With great power comes great responsibility? Not sure it fits here. Lin was looking for the responsibility all along. As his NBA career has shown, the more he gets and the bigger the stage, the better the outcome for him and his team.