Brooklyn Nets Post All-Star Break Outlook

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WASHINGTON, USA - DECEMBER 14: Washington Wizards' Andrew Nicholson (44) goes up for a shot against the Charlotte Hornets during the NBA match between Washington Wizards and Charlotte Hornets at the Verizon Center in Washington, USA on December 14, 2016. The Hornets lead the Wizards 54-49 at half-time. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The All-Star break came and went, as did the NBA trade deadline. Many players changed teams. Every team tried to improve its roster, either immediately or in the future. Now that this period is complete, it’s back to basketball. For the Brooklyn Nets, the journey to respectability continues. This is the Brooklyn Nets post All-Star break outlook.

Brooklyn Nets Post All-Star Break Outlook

Changes to the Team

General manager Sean Marks was clear about his ambitions through the trade deadline. The goal was to try to improve the league’s least talented roster. With the off-season looming, Marks and all Nets fans were acutely aware that the Boston Celtics held the right to swap picks with the Nets in the upcoming draft. Furthermore, the roster badly needed an infusion of energy and hope for the future. With that in mind, Marks placed all Nets players on the trade market. His major goal was to secure at least two first-round selections for star center Brook Lopez. He also wanted to secure at least a first-round draft pick for any other starter.

Though it was sad to see fan favorite Bojan Bogdanovic go, this was a welcomed move by Marks. Bogdanovic was in the last year of his contract and would command a sizable salary increase. Andrew Nicholson, Bogdanovic’s replacement, will be under contract for the next few seasons. He is a power forward with the ability to shoot from long distance. After being a non-factor for the Wizards, Nicholson embraces the opportunity afforded to him.

At the proverbial buzzer of the trade deadline, Marks acquired another piece for a small price.

Both K.J. McDaniels and Nicholson will suit up immediately for the Nets. Hence, they are expected to contribute to the re-building effort. Marks seemed philosophical about the moves made. These moves did not happen in a vacuum. Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post graded the transactions as A and A-, respectively. Of the Wizards deal, Bontemps wrote: “getting another first-rounder in a good draft is reason alone to praise this deal for Brooklyn.”

More Good News

Jeremy Lin is fit and finally ready to go. Lin is thrilled to be back. He has been injury-plagued all season. Most of all, Lin is hopeful that his hamstring issues are behind him.

Coach Stays on Message

Especially relevant is the fact coach Kenny Atkinson has been on message throughout this campaign. It is most noteworthy that as a leader, Atkinson is process-driven as opposed to results-oriented in his approach. He continues to help mold this unit and forge its identity. Consequently, the oft over-matched Nets have played hard for him every night. Atkinson rarely shows his emotions to people outside the Nets’ inner circle. The results have not always shown that, but Atkinson’s work has not gone unnoticed.

The Stretch Run

As the team heads into the final stretch of the season, there is some good news for Nets fans. Lopez, their star center, was not traded, so he’ll remain a Net through the end of the season. Along with the return of Lin, Lopez will be expected to lead this team. Also, McDaniels and Nicholson will be key pieces in the stretch run. The bad news? The post-break schedule begins with a grueling eight-game road trip. This trip commences a mile high against the Denver Nuggets and ends with a stop in Dallas to face the Mavericks. The work and progress continue for the Nets.

 

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