Billy King is Still the GM?

Coming into this season, Billy King will be watched closely. Over the last couple of years, King has earned a “love him or hate him” relationship with the fans.

The Brooklyn Nets shoved all their chips into the middle of the table in a full breach to the NBA title with owner Mikhail Prokhorov issuing a blank check in 2010. They were spending money like a college kid who just got their first credit card.

For the last three years, it must have been so much fun being Billy King. He had full autonomy to build a team in his image without worrying about the salary cap. At the time Prokhorov wanted a NBA title no matter what the cost.

Billy King took full advantage of that situation.

After dropping a shade under $100 million dollars in a max deal contract to keep Deron Williams in town, the Nets helped Danny Ainge’s dream come true. Blow up the “Big Three” in Boston and build the franchise through the draft. Brooklyn gladly ushered draft picks for years to come to take on the aging Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry on draft night in 2013. Boston got younger, still made the playoffs and has a bright future. All the while Brooklyn got older and is looking at the lottery where they may have no pick.

Even though Pierce was amazing in the playoffs leading the Nets to their only series win over the Toronto Raptors, the Brooklyn Nets did not want him back.

Check out the conversation with David Aldridge of when he became a free agent…

“Obviously, this is my first time in free agency. I didn’t know where I’d end up. Truthfully, I thought I was going to end in Brooklyn, with Kevin [Garnett]. I told Kevin, if you are not going to retire, then I probably will come back. But when Brooklyn didn’t give me an offer, it was like, I talked to him, and I kind of started looking at my options then.”

Kevin Garnett was physically done by the time he came to Brooklyn. He was a true professional, but other than playing mentor and occasionally knocking down jumpers he wasn’t worth it. Billy King got lucky at the trade deadline and traded Garnett back to Minnesota for Thaddeus Young.

Jason Terry was in the trade but he was shipped out to Sacramento for Marcus Thornton. Thornton is long gone… along with all of the draft picks for these players.

Throw this deal along with the Joe Johnson contract, RealGM reports that the Nets possibly could go without a quality pick until 2019 because of pick swaps and unprotected draft picks. Now the Brooklyn Nets roster has to go under construction to gain anything close to salary cap flexibility for the future.

Now Lionel Hollins is in command and boy Hollins earned his paycheck this past year. He was rumored to be fired right along with the potential sale of the Nets by owner Mikhail Prokhorov. Infighting in the locker room, player beefs and all around bad basketball at times gave Hollins fits.

With all of these bad moves, bad contracts, dealt future picks and assets, Billy King is still the GM. After all of the coaching drama, King is the sixth longest tenured general manager in the Eastern Conference.

Most Brooklyn fans are asking why hasn’t Billy King got the ax?

They have a point on the surface. His moves have cost the franchise millions of dollars in salary cap penalties with a blueprint that is built around aging players that are on their last legs.

However there is a hidden talent in King that fans need to realize…

Billy King has an eye for talent that is very rare in GMs in the NBA. He has shown that positive example back to the Sixers days. Plus, it does look like he is trying to change his philosophy.

The first smart move is that King did not fire Lionel Hollins as Head Coach. Hollins is exactly what the Nets need right now going forward.

He has turned over to the youth movement as opposed to chasing aging superstars. Plus he is trying to build the Nets (wisely) in defensive mentality of Lionel Hollins.

The aforementioned Young for Garnett trade is a start. Looking over King’s entire tenure in Brooklyn it is his best trade as GM.

Signing Thomas Robinson on the cheap will be a big payoff for the Nets. For the life of me I can’t understand why this guy can’t stick with a team. He plays hard and will definitely take advantage of his possible last chance in the NBA.

The draft night trade Billy King swung shipping out Brooklyn’s 41st pick, Pat Connaughton and Mason Plumlee to the Portland Trailblazers for Rondae Hollis Jefferson the 23rd pick out of Arizona should buy him some time with Nets fans.

Then Billy King turned and traded the throw-in player in the Portland deal, Steve Blake, for Quincy Miller, whose contract is not guaranteed. A very wise move for a team on a budget.

Now the draft did not go without risk. King did select Chris McCollough with the 29th pick out of Syracuse. McCollough is rehabbing from an ACL tear. He may not even see the floor next season. However, if he can recover to full health, Nets fans could be looking at lottery level talent here.

Couple these moves with players on the team such as Markel Brown shows that Billy King has a philosophy of going after versatile athletic players who can defend as opposed to swinging for the fences with players acquired in the past.

The one thing Billy King did (which is amazing if you think about it) is get the Nets below the luxury tax line, which was done with the Deron Williams buyout.

Billy King has enjoyed a good offseason to offset a ton of mistakes he has made over the last few years. There wasn’t going to be much improvement over the 38 win campaign last year. The Nets were hamstrung financially from the gate.

But if Markel Brown can develop a jump shot, Hollis-Jefferson pans out and Robinson becomes the old school Buck Williams hard-hat type of player, the Nets can build for the future on the cheap.

With Joe Johnson’s contract coming off the books next year, and if Chris McCollough realizes the potential that scouts say he possesses, Brooklyn might be the biggest surprise stories in the NBA next year.

Then maybe I will jump on Billy King’s bandwagon.


What Deron Williams’s Contract Bought

Boy! What a difference three years makes! After signing a five-year, $98 million dollar max deal back in 2012, Deron Williams gets bought out at $27.5 million dollars out of the $43 million dollars remaining on his albatross… I mean contract. Read More


2015-16 Brooklyn Nets Schedule Breakdown

The NBA schedule dropped last Thursday, giving those of us who follow sports a brief respite from baseball games and NFL training camp brawls, as we can begin to analyze the form the upcoming season will take. Here at Brooklyn’s Finest, we took some time to breakdown the schedule and offer some things to keep an eye out for, as well as those games to circle on the calendar. Let’s start with some stray observations:

  • On The Road: Let’s just be upfront here, Lionel Hollins’ crew is looking at another long season. ESPN has them finishing 12th in the Eastern Conference with a 30-52 record. Not great Bob, indeed. Things get off to an intimidating start from opening day, which finds the Nets hosting the Chicago Bulls before playing 11 of their next 16 away from home. This gauntlet takes them through San Antonio, Memphis, Houston, Cleveland, Golden State and Oklahoma City. Let’s hope they brought some dramamine.
  • Beware the Ides of March… and the rest of the month, too: That opening stretch looks rough, sure. But no month looks as bad as a March that sees them play 10 out of 15 games on the road, starting with the back half of their annual circus-induced road trip, which stretches from Febraury 23rd to March 11th and adds six games to that road tally.
  • Unfriendly Confines: The schedule isn’t all doom and gloom, we promise. But when it rains, it pours, as even the Brooklyn homestands are just one elite squad after another. In December, defending champ Golden State kicks off a six-game homestand that includes the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers and Eastern Conference contender Miami stopping by. January 20th through the 26th sees Cleveland, Western Conference upstart Utah, Oklahoma City and Miami (again)  all come under the watchful eye of the Oculus.

And now, on to five regular season games (plus one preseason bonus!) to circle – assuming you still have a physical calendar on which to circle things. I’m a Google Calendar guy myself. But I digress:

  • Monday, October 5th, vs Fenerbahçe (Preseason): It may only be preseason, but Fenerbahçe is one of the top squads in Europe and features a fair share of NBA talent, including Ekpe Udoh, Jan Vesely (talent being used loosely here) and a familiar face from last year’s playoffs, Pero Antic. Nets SF Bojan Bagdanovic, a Fenerbahçe alum, gets to play his brother Bogdan, the 27th pick of the Phoenix Suns in last year’s draft.
  • Friday, December 4th, @ New York: The league’s marquee city lacks an equally marquee rivalry, as most of the heat surrounding the Battle for New York is generated by marketing departments and not fans or history. Still, New York’s solid, if not glamorous, moves this offseason are a step in the right direction. Even better, one such move involved signing the Other Lopez, giving fans of both squads a chance to watch twins Brook and Robin go at it in the post for the first time at the Garden.
  • Sunday, December 20th vs Minnesota: The Timberwolves have amassed a ridiculous amount of young, raw, athletic talent, between the past two overall No. 1 picks Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins (no, we’re not counting 2013 No. 1 Anthony Bennett, sorry) and 2014 13th overall pick Zach LaVine. If you haven’t heard, the Nets have a couple of dunkers themselves in best buds Markel Brown and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. There are worse ways to spend a cold Sunday afternoon than watching all of these guys try and outjump each other.
  • Wednesday, December 23rd, vs. Dallas: After four and a half years, the Nets and Point Guard Deron Williams finally called it quits on their rocky relationship, as they negotiated a buyout this summer so Williams could sign with the Dallas Mavericks. His only chance to get a glimpse of the visitor’s locker room at the Barclays Center comes a couple of days before Christmas. In the true holiday spirit, expect a few boos to rain down come player introductions.
  • Saturday, January 2nd @ Boston, Monday, January 4th vs. Boston, Wednesday, January 6th vs. Toronto: Any attempt to prove the doubters wrong and make a playoff push requires a competitive showing within the Atlantic Division. The Nets can start off 2016 on the right foot with a home-and-home tilt against Brad Stevens’ ever-improving Celtics before welcoming division heavyweights Toronto to the Barclays center. If the Nets can make some hay in this three game swing, it could provide them with some momentum for another playoff push. Side note: In an odd scheduling quirk, the Nets burn off their four games against the Celtics with two separate home-and-home series in December and January. Get your kicks in early.
  • Sunday, April 3rd, vs. New Orleans: The final days of the season can bear excitement in a number of different ways. Every game matters for a handful of teams, whether they’re battling for playoff seeding or draft lottery odds. For Brooklyn fans, this is their one chance to see Anthony Davis as he continues his ascension into the stratosphere occupied by LeBron, Kevin Durant and…not much else. Whether or not the Nets still have anything to play for at this juncture of the season, welcoming The Brow to Barclays will move some tickets.


Nets Sign Donald Sloan, Waive Earl Clark

The Brooklyn Nets’ offseason isn’t quite yet completed, as they announced Monday that they’ve agreed to terms on a contract with free agent guard Donald Sloan. Terms of the deal were not announced, as per team policy, but Spotrac lists it as a one-year deal for $1.015 million that could be partially guaranteed in 2015-16.

The 27-year old Sloan has spent time with four organizations over his four-year career; most recently with the Indiana Pacers last season where he started 21 games and averaged 7.4 points, 2.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.2 turnovers in 20.9 minutes per game and on 46.4/31.3/77.9 triple-slash percentages (on two-point field goals, three-pointers, and free throws).

At 6’3” and 205 lbs., Sloan is able to switch between both backcourt positions and is effective at using his size to get into the lane to draw free throws (career .203 free-throw rate, per Basketball-Reference) and generate easy baskets (43.8 percent of his shot attempts came within 10 feet of the basket, to which he converted at a 53.5-percent clip by’s data). He’s also a solid passer and playmaker, with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.55-to-1 in his 157-game NBA career, but Sloan struggles with his long-range accuracy and shot under 30 percent from deep in his two seasons with Indiana, despite an increase in attempts from beyond the arc (up to 36.6 percent of his total shots).

Donald Sloan will join the reshuffled Brooklyn point guard rotation along with incumbent veteran Jarrett Jack and fellow new additions Shane Larkin and rookie Ryan Boatright, as they attempt to replace the production of former-”stretched” starter Deron Williams in ‘15-16. Jack will be given every opportunity to seize the starting job once training camp opens on October 1st, barring any major trades, while Sloan’s size and NBA experience could endear him to head coach Lionel Hollins and provide an advantage in the battle for the back-up point guard position over his younger teammates.


This story just keeps on getting more and more interesting I’m guessing this chapter is called…

— Donald Sloan (@dsloan15) August 10, 2015

The opportunity to bring Donald Sloan in as a point guard option will cost the Nets a relatively minor financial commitment (that could be mitigated by any partial guarantees), but also the services of forward Earl Clark, who was signed to a guaranteed extension after a couple of 10-day contracts with the team in March. Clark’s contract included a non-guaranteed second season and a $200,000 roster bonus due on October 26th that would have probably sealed his fate regardless of Sloan’s presence, and perhaps the early decision on his Nets status will allow him to field other offers either domestically or overseas.

The Brooklyn Nets career of Earl Clark lasted 10 games (12, counting playoffs), in which he averaged 2.7 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 9.3 minutes per game, and (somehow) accumulated an offensive rating of 76 compared to a 102 defensive rating in his 93 total minutes as a Net.


Brook Lopez Should Shoot Threes

Following their fairly dramatic overhaul this summer, the Brooklyn Nets roster seems to be a few cuts away from being finalized. As it’s currently assembled, one major flaw stands out – the lack of serviceable three-point shooting. No player on the Nets shot 36% from deep (the league average) on at least 100 attempts last season and only the aging Joe Johnson, Wayne Ellington and erratic Jarrett Jack have done it in the past three years. Last year, Brooklyn ranked among the bottom ten teams in three-point percentage and attempt rate in a league where the three-pointer plays a key role in any good offense. Although the Nets shot better from three following the Thaddeus Young deal, they’ve lost some key shooters heading into this season and don’t have room to bring in new ones. A solution? Have their best offensive player shoot threes.

Brook Lopez has attempted 17 threes in his seven-year NBA career, making just one of them, so the idea seems foolhardy off the bat. But Lopez certainly has the range, and given the green light could prove that with a bigger sample size. Lopez has shot a good number of long twos over his career, so delving into those numbers could give us an idea of how he would fare shooting from three. Last season, Lopez shot 41.7% from 20-24 feet on 60 attempts. In 2013, he connected on 36.8% on 38 of those attempts and did the same in 2011. If teams choose to chase Lopez off the arc and make him create off the dribble, Lopez would still be able to thrive. Lopez shot just shy of 42% on off-the-dribble attempts from 8-24 feet last season, per NBASavant. He also got whistled for only five charges.

There’s also the offensive rebounding factor, which is a trade-off for bigs stepping out behind the arc. This isn’t much of a factor though, given the Nets are already a poor offensive rebounding team (23rd in the league) and the idea is Lopez would be taking a step back on his long twos, not shooting more jumpers in general.

The question quickly goes from “can he” to “will he” after consuming these numbers, Lopez’s fundamentally sound stroke and that according to TheBrooklynGame’s Devin Kharpertian he knocks them down in warm-ups. Mike Mazzeo of ESPN wrote a story last month suggesting Lopez could be working on adding the three-point shot to his game, but it doesn’t include any assurances from Lopez or his coaches. Here’s some video of Lopez working on his threes in a recent workout with the Nets:

Heading into his prime, Lopez is a throwback to old school NBA centers that hasn’t needed to adapt to this point. But with his team shallow in the three-point shooting department, now may be the time to add a new era big man’s skill to his game.


Nets trade Steve Blake, Waive Cory Jefferson

More Nets news on the way, as Brooklyn has waived Cory Jefferson (as announced by the Nets earlier today) and traded Steve Blake for Quincy Miller, who will also be cut, according to RealGM’s Shams Charania.

This brings Brooklyn’s roster count down to 16 as Summer League continues. Blake was acquired in the Rondae Hollis-Jefferson trade. Jefferson averaged 3.7 points and 2.9 rebounds in 10.6 minutes a night last season.


Nets Sign Andrea Bargnani for No Good Reason

The Nets announced today that they have signed Andrea Bargnani to a two-year deal for the veteran’s minimum, with a player’s option for the latter season. This move won’t kill the Nets, but it is 100% indisputably absurd, given Bargnani’s lack of skill, upside, durability, fit and basketball I.Q. among many other things. 99 out of every 100 days I will be reasoned, search for nuance, explore every side to every story. That one day is when the team I cover signs Andrea Bargnani against all that is logical and sacred in this beautiful game.

Clearly, I’m not happy. I made that evident when I first learned about the news and took to Twitter. But because I’m proud to say this blog carries with it strong analysis and owes it’s readers in-depth coverage, I’m going to share both my hasty (though accurate) all-caps tweets and an explanation of why I said those things. Let’s begin.

The Nets were having a really good offseason, at least considering where they stood coming in. Billy King got rid of Deron Williams’s contract and crafted a much younger and more athletic roster. This is especially the case in the frontcourt, where through the draft the Nets picked up uber-athletic power forwards Cory Jefferson and Chris McCullough in back-to-back years. Brooklyn has also taken fliers on Thomas Robinson and Willie Reed, two relatively young big men with upside.

Despite all this, they signed Andrea Bargnani. Let’s continue.

Old? Bargnani is going to be 30 once the season begins.

Injury-prone? He hasn’t played a 70-game season since 2010. He played in 29 games last season, 42 the year before.

Can’t jump over a credit card? Okay, maybe this one was harsh.

Seriously, though, Bargnani moves like he’s in quicksand and doesn’t have much verticality in him anymore.

Lionel Hollins likes defense. Bargnani doesn’t play any. As for taking minutes from young bigs, well, the Nets have trailed behind nearly every other team in the “young, developing player” department for years now. After collecting a great deal of them this summer and possibly moving towards rebuilding, it’s really not the time to be giving a washed up veteran minutes that could be going to raw, young big men that need development through in-game experience.

Bargnani’s not a good basketball player. Maybe two years ago it made a little sense for Knicks fans to be saying that he could bounce back from some down years, but it’s become the norm now.

He’s averaged over two assists per-36 minutes just twice in his career. His vision is atrocious and he simply doesn’t look to move the ball. His rebounding rate has eclipsed 10% three times in his career, he’s not going to help on the glass at all. He’s primarily a “floor spacer” on offense, but three-pointers have made up under 25% of his field goal attempts in four of the last five seasons. When he shoots from deep, he connects on 30.2% of them over the past four seasons. Half the time he can’t even threaten defenses with the long ball because he stands around in the long-two area. His usage rate over the past four seasons, and throughout his career, is consistent with that of a team’s secondary scorer. Defensively, he doesn’t move, can’t do much when he gets to his spots and doesn’t communicate. The only good he’s done on the defensive end is allow centers to try and post him up and stand his ground pretty well.

The. Freaking. Kings.

Silver linings, folks.

We went over that.

More positives!

Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention his +/- numbers. The Knicks were outscored by 17.5 points per 100 possessions with Bargnani on the floor last season. They only got outscored by 8.2 with him on the bench. No other Knick had worse numbers. Note, this is the team that won 17 games last season and consistently played: Travis Wear, Lou Amundson, Ricky Ledo, Cole Aldrich, Jason Smith, Lance Thomas, Quincy Acy… you get the picture.

His 2014 numbers weren’t much better. Opponents had a 6.2-point leg up on the Knicks per 100 possessions with Bargnani in the game. The Knicks had the advantage by 1.4 points with him out. Bargnani wasn’t the absolute worst in this occasion, but still at the very bottom alongside Shannon Brown and Beno Udrih.

A partially guaranteed one-year deal would have made this easier to swallow.

That would have made sense.

I think we should wrap up there. Again, this won’t destroy Brooklyn’s season so long as Hollins doesn’t play him 30 20 10 any minutes a night. But boy is this a humbling way for King to end an otherwise positive and fruitful offseason.


Deron Williams Agrees to Contract Buyout

The Brooklyn Nets and point guard Deron Williams have agreed to terms on a contract buyout, as reported by David Aldridge. The 31-year old Williams, who signed his five-year, $99 million dollar deal in 2012, will receive $27.5 million from the Nets organization in his release (of the $43.1 million remaining over the next two seasons) and then hit waivers, where he’s expected to sign for $10 million over two years with the Dallas Mavericks.

Leaks of a potential buyout between Williams and the Nets filtered out late Thursday night, with Stein’s sources attributing the activity to the Dallas Mavericks’ failed pursuit of DeAndre Jordan in free agency and the organization’s desire to sign Williams with their unexpected cap space after courting him in the summer of 2012. Williams appeared in 68 games for the Nets in 2014-15 and averaged 13 points, 6.6 assists, and 3.1 rebounds in 31.1 minutes per game, shooting a career-low 38.7% from the field, and reportedly clashed with head coach Lionel Hollins last season during a meeting around the All-Star break.

Deron Williams’s Nets career was affected early by ankle issues which limited him on the court and sapped him of his former athleticism and lift on his jumper, but he was still capable of the occasional throwback performance, like with his 35-point outburst against the Atlanta Hawks in Game 4 of their first-round playoff series. Off the court, Williams struggled to adjust to a leadership role with the team and as the face of the organization’s move to Brooklyn, which former teammate Paul Pierce addressed this postseason. He should be expected to compete for a starting role with the Dallas Mavericks next season, while the Nets will fill his point guard position through their numerous internal options.

Losing Williams’s on-court production and shooting ability will be a loss for a Brooklyn Nets team that hopes to return to the postseason again next season, but the financial savings on Deron’s deal will help the organization in the long-term by trimming their luxury tax commitments and removing a near-max salary slot from next season’s payroll. Brooklyn general manager Billy King will then utilize the NBA’s stretch provision to spread Williams’s remaining $27.5 million over the next five years, effectively eliminating his luxury tax anxieties and any potential Joe Johnson trade rumors going forward.

Deron Williams’s Brooklyn Nets career spanned five years and 277 games, and he ranks fourth in assists (2,078) in the franchise’s history.


Brooklyn has Five Point Guards, and That’s Okay

In a quietly impressive offseason, the Brooklyn Nets raised eyebrows by amassing a total of four point guards as their final roster nears completion. Deron Williams and Jarrett Jack are returning from last year, Steve Blake was picked up in Brooklyn’s draft day deal with Portland, Shane Larkin was signed to a two-year deal and Ryan Boatright was signed to a partially-guaranteed deal.

Five is an unusually high number of players for one position on an NBA roster. With 15 available spots and qualities like balance and diversity in roster creation considered pivotal, it’s easy to see why some are skeptical of this impartial construction. But it’s really no big deal, in fact it’ll likely bear out to be a positive.

Last season, the Nets came into the season with four point guards, but just two of them offered NBA-level production. Outside of Williams and Jack were Darius Morris, who has played for five NBA and two D-League teams in his four years of pro ball and Jorge Gutierrez, who played sparingly before being traded to the Bucks early in the season.

This wouldn’t be an issue if these two stayed relegated to the pine, but beyond the scope of anticipation, the Nets saw Williams sit out games due to soreness, only to come back, struggle and get seated for a lengthier stretch thanks to a rib injury. In his absence, Jack was forced to play a host of 38-minute plus games with Morris has his backup. The Nets were outscored by double-digits per 100 possessions with Morris on the floor, yet he was forced to play over 12 minutes a night in January.

Williams is 31 now, hasn’t played an 80-game season since 2008 and has only played one 70-game season in the past five. Jack has remained relatively injury-free, but is turning 32 in October. Coach Hollins could try to prevent future injuries by resting his elder statesmen, but he doesn’t believe in the practice. So naturally, signing more point guards (that can hold their own) is a smart way of avoiding this issue down the line. And so GM Billy King did, with Blake still capable as a third guard despite his age and Larkin showing promising signs with the Knicks last year. Boatright’s a project, a low-risk high-reward acquisition, so short of a massive, unprecedented injury plague or Linsanity-esque surprise he likely won’t be a factor.

Insurance isn’t the only reason obtaining these points guards makes sense. Last season, Hollins experimented heavily with a Williams-Jack backcourt. Dual point guard pairings have become increasingly popular in today’s NBA, so watching Hollins try out a modern basketball development was a pleasant sight. What wasn’t pleasant was the combo’s performance. Brooklyn was outscored by 10.3 points per 100 possessions in 661 minutes when Williams and Jack shared the floor.

Hopefully this doesn’t dissuade Hollins from trying out more two point guard lineups, because they can be effective with the right personnel. And the Nets might just have that. Larkin is quick enough to match strides with the many blistering ones the league has to offer, which can’t be said of Williams, Jack or Blake. Pair him with Williams or Blake – someone who can spread the floor and hide defensively on a shooting guard – and we could see positive results.

The Nets still have holes at other positions, namely the backup five spot, but one trade can easily amend those. At the end of the day, if Brooklyn’s worst problem this summer was stockpiling one too many players at a position held back by injury and poor play, as opposed to gifting assets in a delusional pursuit of a championship, there shouldn’t be much opposition to chalking this up as a win.


Summer League Shorthand: Nets vs. Heat

The first win of the summer for the Brooklyn Nets was snatched away by a game-winning layup by Miami’s Tyler Johnson with 0.4 seconds left. The winless summer league squad showed an expected lack of cohesion, but there were some interesting moments for Brooklyn fans to take note of.

  • Earl Clark continues to struggle as the veteran on the roster. After playing 14 minutes yesterday, Clark lost his starting spot and had just two field goals against Miami.
  • Rondae Hollis-Jefferson showed off some unexpected offense with a few mid-range jumpers and some ball handling off pick-and-roll situations. As the 23rd pick, we knew that he was an elite defender, but the shooting and confidence on the ball bodes well for his chances in the NBA.
  • The summer is usually a tough time for frontcourt players to stand out in front of scouts and coaches because of the fast pace, but the Nets were outplayed down low. Miami’s Willie Reed scored 17 points on 8-of-12 shooting while also outperforming Brooklyn’s bigs on the boards.
  • Jonathon Simmons, a swingman from the Austin Spurs in the D-League, earned the most minutes for the Nets, despite not playing on Saturday or starting against Miami. He scored 13 points and grabbed six rebounds, but his moments of athleticism were what stood out, including a devastating block on Justice Winslow that was unfortunately ruled a foul.
  • Ryan Boatright can score in bunches. The Connecticut rookie lit up the Heat to start the third quarter with three straight 3-pointers to get the Nets back in the game. He finished with 23 points on 50 percent shooting while also picking up four assists. As one of the only players on the team that can create his own shot, he could continue to impress.
  • Outside of Boatright, the Nets have struggled to score in the halfcourt. Without a pass-first point guard or multiple shot creators, this summer’s team has relied on hustle and athleticism to stay in games so far.

The Nets continue the Orlando Summer League when they take on the Hornets on Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET.