The Nets did the most by just bringing back the guys they already had. Re-signing Brook Lopez, Deron Williams, and Gerald Wallace showed a serious commitment towards winning. Then they went and obtained Joe Johnson, a consistent 20/5/5 threat.
The Nets have one of the best starting fives in the league:
Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, Brook Lopez
Throw in, 6th man: MarShon Brooks
They re-signed Deron Williams, Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, and Brook Lopez, and dealt Atlanta a cap-clearing package to obtain the pricey Joe Johnson in return.
That line up can make some real waves and give every team in the East, Miami included, problems. They are a legitimate threat to the Celtics and 76ers in the Atlantic Divison, and the Vegas futures on Atlantic Division should be as close as they are interesting.
Philadelphia is likely the greatest work in progress, with both the most potential and the most room for disaster. The Celtics are always going to be formidable as long as they have Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, and Paul Pierce, and it will be between the76ers, C’s, and Nets for the Atlantic Division crown.
Gerald Wallace is an All-NBA defender, and the backcourt of WIlliams and Johnson is about as deadly as any in the league. Nash and Kobe, Westbrook and Harden, Parker and Ginobili; they are up there in that class. Marshon Brooks has sixth man of the year potential.
The lineup is just good at the top, and the rest of bench isn’t too shabby either…with guys like Jerry Stackhouse able to come in and score in a pinch, and good role players like C.J. Watson, Kansas rookie Tyshawn Taylor, and the corner three/defender specialist Keith Bogans…Not to mention the back up bigs Reggie Evans and Mirza Teletovic (more on them later).
Humphries is the glue guy that the Nets need and was a crucial re-signing. He boards and finishes well around the hoop. He allows Brook Lopez to wander offensively and not stick to the interior.
And this is a Nets franchise that has needed that type of talent since the departure of Jason Kidd almost a decade ago. They’ve had some good teams since then, but those were their last Finals appearances, and now they have a chance to get back there again. Are they going to be the favorite? Hardly. But if they can gel things could get very interesting in Brooklyn.
With a rich Russian in charge in Mikhail Prokhorov and Jay-Z as head of recruitment and minority owner, the Nets just have a lot going for them, including a new arena. Players will want to play there, and the ones that are there already want to stay there. Lopez got a max contract, yes, but he can at least put up max contract level scoring.
As long as Humphries is on the team, they won’t need as much from Lopez on the boards, or even defensively, and they bring banger Reggie Evans and the 6’9″ Bosnian Mirza Teletovic off the bench, and the Nets should field a strong backup front court rotation.
Evans has a lot of toughness and is a rock solid rebounder, like Humphries.
Teletovic put up big number in the Euro league for Vitoria last year, averaging 21.7 points per game and 6 rebounds per game in 34.4 minutes per night. He’s averaged double figures in scoring for Vitoria since he was 21 and now at age 26 is entering his prime.
Teletovic can play both forward slots and his biggest question mark is his defense. If he can learn from the talented defenders on the Nets (Wallace specifically) in practice, he could be a big steal for the team.
I think even though the Nets struck out on Dwight Howard, they are one of the big winners of the offseason. They just managed to assemble one of the best and most well rounded starting fives in the league.