2014-15 in Review: Cory Jefferson

Selected with the last pick of the 2014 NBA Draft, Cory Jefferson has already shown the potential and flashes of big play ability in his rookie season that could lead to an expanded role for the Brooklyn Nets in 2015-16. His five-year career at Baylor University ended with him ranked fifth in the Big 12’s history in defensive rebounds, eighth in offensive rebounds, and 12th in Player Efficiency Rating, but a shaky jumper and some stagnant development in his senior season caused him to slip to the 60th pick in the draft. While the organization’s philosophy on draft picks in recent seasons has been to use them as currency or assets by which to acquire experienced NBA talent, Nets general manager Billy King instead used actual currency to trade into the second round of the 2014 Draft on three separate occasions to add experienced college talent to the back end of the roster. Jefferson (and Markel Brown, a senior from Oklahoma State) promptly signed with the organization and began working his way in (and then out) of head coach Lionel Hollins’s rotation.

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Mason Plumlee On His Way Out?

It has been reported by ESPN’s Marc Stein that the Brooklyn Nets have started taking trade offers for big man Mason Plumlee.

The Nets had high expectations for Plumlee coming into the season after making the All Rookie First team and a selection to Team USA squad last summer. His selection was a surprise, but Plumlee showed signs of what he could do in limited minutes. His stock couldn’t have been higher than it was at the beginning of the season.

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2014-15 in Review: Thaddeus Young

Prior to this season’s February 19th trade deadline, the Brooklyn Nets were an inconsistent, unathletic mess. Their 21-31 record was buoyed only by the Eastern Conference, with the team ranking at the time as bottom-ten in offensive and defensive rating, true shooting percentage, pace, assist-to-turnover ratio, and offensive rebounding percentage (just missing the cut at 19th in the league in defensive rebounding). A playoff spot always appeared attainable thanks to the East, but with a 5-15 record in their previous 20 games and the team in the middle of an eight-game road trip as they entered the trade deadline, a significant shakeup seemed not only necessary but imminent.

After months of speculation surrounding Brooklyn’s core of high-priced talent, it was surprising to see Brook Lopez, Deron Williams, and Joe Johnson remain with the organization post-trade deadline, and Kevin Garnett as the sole Net traded. Perhaps even more surprising was the return for the 38-year old, 15-time All Star, as the Minnesota Timberwolves were in the market for veteran leadership and had lanky, young forwards to spare as they continued to rebuild their team after the Kevin Love trade last summer. Thaddeus Young’s advanced age and salary relative to some of his peers deemed him expendable to the Wolves, while the Nets eagerly swapped the effective (if limited) KG for another power forward 12 years his junior, who possessed some of the qualities the Nets needed to break out of their season-long malaise.

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Long-time Nets Assistant GM Bobby Marks parts ways with organization

Bobby Marks, after 20 years with the Brooklyn Nets, has announced via Twitter that he and the Nets will go their separate ways:

According to Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, Marks’s departure was a financial move for the franchise:

ESPN’s Mike Mazzeo reported earlier this month that the Nets missed the deadline for picking up Marks’s option, though it wasn’t clear then whether or not this meant he’d leave the franchise.

According to his bio on the Nets website, marks served as Brooklyn’s vice president of basketball operations before being promoted to assistant GM in 2010. “Marks [assisted] Nets General Manager Billy King in the areas of salary cap management, scouting, player personnel, preseason and regular season scheduling and the day to day business of basketball operations.”




2014-15 in Review: Brook Lopez

When Brook Lopez’s career is over, his tenure as a New Jersey/Brooklyn Net will likely go down as one of the most interesting in team history whether or not it encapsulates his entire NBA lifespan. This season was no different than Lopez’s previous six in how it puzzled us with the many turns it took to skew our perception of Lopez as a basketball player. This is a guy who was the best prospect the Nets drafted in the current millennium, yet was held back consistently due to injury. Yet he still managed to put up All-Star numbers and show flashes of stardom in a league evolving away from his play style. In 2014-15, it seemed there was a likelihood that Lopez’s wild tale would be put to bed for good, but we should have known better than to expect as such.

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2014-15 in Review: Jerome Jordan

After bouncing around the basketball globe playing in Serbia, Slovenia, Erie, Reno, the Philippines and Italy, this season was the first in which Jerome Jordan actually looked like he possessed the tools to be an NBA player. Jordan was originally drafted by the New York Knicks as a second-rounder in 2010, but couldn’t make the team until the season after and even then failed to crack the rotation. His upside began and ended with “he’s 7’1″ with a 7’5″ wingspan.” Coordination? Nope. NBA-level skillset? Nada. Jordan fell right back off the map.

Fast forward to 2014-15, and Jordan’s back in the league as a Brooklyn Net, new and improved. It wasn’t a ginormous sample - rightfully so given Brooklyn’s depth at the five and Jordan still not quite a second-string player - but he impressed in limited minutes this season, teasing that he could be on a tangible rise. Jordan appeared in 44 games, playing 8.7 minutes a night, giving us little to work with.

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2014-15 in Review: Alan Anderson

Alan Anderson only played the seventh-most minutes per game for Brooklyn in 2014-15, but he was generally effective in those minutes and found his nightly niche as a “3-and-D” swingman. Perhaps the most inconsistent aspect of his game has been his nicknames. That’s mostly been on us, the loyal viewers, but it’s bordering on ridiculous at this point: Double, A Squared, Double A Battery… We’re going to have to settle this before he either leaves the Nets or retires, one would think.

But back to Anderson’s basketball. Although he’s no more than a slightly above average player, Anderson’s steady hand was reassuring in a season of major ups and downs (mostly downs) for the Nets. Take a look at his three-point shooting, by month:

November: 37.5%

December: 38.6%

January: 27.3%

February: 38.5%

March: 36.6%

Outside of his rough January (a month in which Brooklyn as a team fell off a cliff) Anderson stroked it from deep at a decent rate year-round. He mostly thrived on catch-and-shoots and the corner three:


The three wasn’t his only offensive weapon. As made obvious by the shot chart, Anderson had a knack for getting to the rim. He put up .84 points per play in isolations, a modest number but one that may surprise folks. He has a little jab step in his repertoire that he uses to break into a strong drive straight to the cup, and he was willing to pass the rock when the offense around him was as well.

On the defensive end, it could be argued that Anderson was the Nets’ best perimeter defender, short of maybe Markel Brown. That sentence should tell you all you need to know about how poor Brooklyn’s defense was, but Anderson presence was definitely a plus. During the regular season, the Nets gave up 6.6 fewer points per 100 possessions with Anderson in the contest. He’s no home run defender, with very few steals and blocks, but he understands the system and has the athleticism to be an annoyance in one-on-one situations.

These are all reasons why some believed that Anderson should have held a permanent starting spot on the squad. Anderson did start 19 games, including a 15-game stretch spanning the month of February, and his stats actually took a bump. His true-shooting clip increased from 54.8% to 59.2%, though with the same usage rate.

Speaking of stat bumps, his Playoffs performance was… unexpected, to say the least. Anderson came off the bench to hit 10 of his 16 three-point attempts (62.5%) and do a solid job chasing Kyle Korver around the court against the No. 1 seed Hawks. It seemed every shot Anderson put up was going through the rim, and he was major in Brooklyn securing two wins in what looked like a hopeless series.

As for Anderson’s future with the Nets, it seems unclear. He has a player option to remain in Brooklyn for the 2015-16 season worth $1.3 million. There’s no telling which way he’s leaning, with the chance at securing bigger deal this summer or waiting until the cap explodes in the summer of 2016 to shoot for an even greater payout. Anderson’s definitely a player Brooklyn wants to try and keep, for no matter how rocky the path ahead is, Anderson is able to steady the ship in his limited role.


2014-15 in Review: Earl Clark

The key to the Brooklyn Nets’ playoff push to end their 2014-15 season was clearly Earl Clark all along. Since signing a ten-day contract on March 27th - two days after Thaddeus Young hyper-extended his left knee against the Charlotte Hornets - the Nets won eight of their remaining 12 games and prolonged their season another couple of weeks by claiming the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot. Clark appeared in just 93 minutes across 10 regular season games, but the Brooklyn offense jumped to the seventh-best in the league once he joined the team. Since correlation obviously indicates causation, we have no choice but to attribute the offensive boost soley to Clark’s presence.

Earl Clark’s impact was less tangible on the court, at least from his traditional statistics and on-/off-court numbers. Hampered by the limited playing time, he averaged 2.7 points and 2.3 rebounds per game on 43.8/28.6/25 triple-slash shooting percentages (on two-point field goals, threes, and free throws), which look a little better translated per 36 minutes, with 10.5 points, 8.9 boards, 1.5 blocks, and 1.2 steals per game. In his 106 minutes on the court (including the regular season and playoffs), the Nets were outscored 193-231, and the team shot 6.5 percentage points better overall with Earl Clark off the court but over six points better from three with him on the floor, per NBA Wowy.

Earl Clark's 2014-15 shot cart, courtesy of

Earl Clark’s 2014-15 shot cart, courtesy of

Clark wouldn’t exactly get his opportunity to showcase his skills in the playoffs. His most substantial showing was his 1/6 shooting performance over eight minutes in Game 1 in Atlanta, where he made a three-pointer, collected a rebound and a steal, and finished with a single-game plus-minus of -10 in a 92-99 loss. Clark would play again in the closing minutes of a deciding Game 6, bringing his postseason totals to 13 minutes, six points (on 2/10 field goals and 2/3 from three), two rebounds, and a steal.

Given Earl Clark’s pedigree and positional versatility, and the Nets’ needs in the frontcourt after the Young injury, his signing to a ten-day contract was a nice buy-low audition. Young’s knee injury resulted in a minor absence from the starting lineup, which head coach Lionel Hollins countered by promoting Mason Plumlee to the starting power forward position alongside Brook Lopez. Hollins experimented with some small-ball lineups all season but lacked a true backup power forward once Mirza Teletovic was ruled inactive in January, while Clark put up big numbers with stops in the NBA Developmental League and in China. Of Clark’s 106 minutes with Brooklyn, 94% came at (backup) power forward, by Basketball-Reference’s numbers, with the other 6% at center.

Earl Clark’s ability to play either big man position results in plenty of open jumpers and gives the offense a spacing and pick-and-pop option. Not a natural three-point shooter early in his career, Clark increased his output in his last two seasons, taking 46.7% of his nearly 300 shot attempts from beyond the arc. He connected on 33.6% of his 122 three-point shots last season with the Cleveland Cavaliers and New York Knicks and 4/14 (28.6%) with the Nets, and is much more comfortable spotting up than slashing to the basket or playing in the post (just 38 free throw attempts over the last two seasons).

It’s tough to draw too much significance into Clark’s 2014-15 stats, considering the extremely small sample size. Perhaps his upward trend in defensive rebounding rate (to 26.5% of rebounding opportunities last season) is sustainable, as he ages and adds muscle to his 6’10” frame. He’ll need to continue to work on his jumper at the NBA level after suffering a 4-point drop in true shooting percentage in each of the last three seasons, and he’ll enter his age-28 season on a partially-guaranteed contract.

According to Basketball Insider’s Eric Pincus, the second year of Earl Clark’s contract includes a guarantee of $200,000 if he remains on the roster past October 26th, and a $1.185 million salary if he lasts the season. The fact that Brooklyn Nets general manager Billy King included a non-guaranteed second year on the deal could represent an interest in developing the New Jersey native over an offseason at the cost of the NBA minimum, or he could see Clark as a potential trade attachment in a larger deal and to a team that needs to trim cap space. More likely is that Clark ends up waived or traded (and then waived) before he even sees that $200k check.

The Nets could upgrade the backup power forward position through free agency or with some in-house, younger options. Clark’s signing to his first ten day was a necessity with the Nets down to just one healthy power forward at the time (rookie Cory Jefferson), and gave Lionel Hollins a more experienced option who could help on the glass and stretch the floor a bit. The flip side is that it gave Hollins a more experienced option, who helped to steal playing time away from fan favorites Jerome “Preseason Kareem” Jordan and plus-minus prodigy Cory Jefferson.

That’s not to say that the inexperienced Jefferson could have raised the Nets’ playoff ceiling, either, but his particular brand of bouncy, kinetic energy and desire to dunk all over his opponents were qualities that Earl Clark couldn’t replicate. Though he’s a solid mid-range shooter thus far into his career (51.9% from 10-16 feet), Jefferson is unable to open up the court all the way to the three-point line like Clark can (2/15 from three in his rookie season) and would have probably driven his head coach crazy with his defensive lapses over extended minutes.

Once Clark joined the team on March 27th, Cory Jefferson played 8.1 minutes per game in six games down the stretch, which was down about three minutes a game from before the signing. He’ll have every opportunity to prove himself in training camp as he works to gain Lionel Hollins’s trust and minutes in the big man rotation, and to possibly make Earl Clark expendable.

Whether it’s with the Brooklyn Nets in 2015-16 or for another NBA organization, Clark will have to continue fighting for opportunities, minutes, and another guaranteed contract. His catch-and-shoot skills could make him an effective role player in today’s NBA, given a more consistent three-point stroke, and particularly if his rebounding continues to improve. It’ll be a summer (and training camp) spent sweating out his contract status with the Brooklyn Nets, but Earl Clark has been no stranger to the transitory nature of professional basketball in playing for six NBA teams in six seasons, and should have no problem fielding job offers both domestic and internationally, if not with the Nets, next season.


2014-15 In Review: Mason Plumlee

It was a bizarre season for the former Duke Blue Devil.  After a rookie year where he outperformed expectations and played a big part in the Nets’ emergence as a legitimate playoff team, the hopes were high for an even better sophomore campaign. He miraculously survived the wrath of Demarcus Cousins during the FIBA World Cup and seemed primed for a breakout season after winning a gold medal with that talented squad.

plum gold medal


While he showed sporadic flashes of brilliance this season, Plumlee failed to make a steady impact. His season was mired with inconsistency; benched for Jerome Jordan one game, ready to be the successor to Brook Lopez the next.

His athletic ability continued to be tantalizing. With his 36 inch vertical and impressive foot speed, there are few shots that he can’t contest and fewer lob passes that he can’t reign in. Right now, though, Plumlee is the owner of a Bugatti Super Sport, but has never driven a car.

On offense he would often make a spectacular pirouetting move towards the basket, only to end his heroic effort with a turnover or a poor shot. On the few occasions where his athleticism blended seamlessly with his skill, Plumlee was able to make plays that few bigs in the NBA can make; such as this Horford-esque pass-on-the-move and this spin-move into a dunk that would have Tommy Heinsohn paralleling him with Dwight Howard.

Mason’s shot is an even larger area of concern within his offensive game. He shot below 50 percent from the free throw line, making him a prime candidate for “Hack-a” - if it isn’t abolished in the offseason. He also has zero confidence in a mid-range jumper, as he attempted just 2 percent of his shots outside of 10 feet, connecting on only 16% of them.

On defense Plumlee’s largest issue seemed to be with his positioning. Often times he would find himself a few steps from where he should be, which led to him committing 4.3 fouls per 36 minutes during the regular season and over 7 fouls per 36 minutes in the playoffs. Mason lacks the elite wingspan of the NBA’s premier rim protectors but is still able to make spectacular plays on the ball thanks to the springs in his feet. Gaining an eye for noticing popular NBA sets and having a better understanding for defensive schemes will hopefully allow plays like this one to become more commonplace.


The Good?

-14.6 points, 10.6 rebounds per 36 minutes

-12 double-doubles

-Top-20 in offensive rebound percentage (11.3%) and just outside the top-20 in total rebound percentage (16.5%)

-Chosen to participate in the All-Star Weekend Slam Dunk Contest and Rising Stars Challenge

The Bad?

 -Large drop-off in true shooting percentage from his rookie to sophomore season (.670 to .570)

-High foul rate (4.3/36 mins.)

-Free throw percentage of just 49.5% (Ewwwwww)

-98% of shots came from within 10 feet

-Struggled to play alongside Brook Lopez, as the team had a net rating of -13.7 when the two shared the court

The Verdict?

Mason has boatloads of talent. He can compete athletically with almost any big-man in the league. But he also has a ton of room for improvement. Adding strength, developing a go-to post move, mastering defensive schemes and improving his shooting mechanics are all areas for Plumlee to focus on before next season.

The Nets have a big decision to make this offseason. If Brook Lopez declines his player option, will the Nets keep their starting center around? If not, do they pursue another starter, or will they roll with an in-house option in Plumlee? If Mason dedicates himself to his craft and spends hours in the film room, he can make the decision easier for the Nets. His cap hit is significantly less than Lopez’s would be and he has proven his durability, playing in all 82 games this past season. A giant third-year leap should be an aspiration for the gangly, energetic Plumlee; can he do what it takes to make it a reality?


2014-15 in Review: Bojan Bogdanovic

Like most rookies, Bojan Bogdanovic had an extremely up-and-down first season in the NBA. Things started off promising as he was named the Nets starter to begin the year. After starting the first 19 games of the season and playing 30 minutes a game Bojan was demoted to the bench. He spent the next 16 games coming off the pine and only playing 11.5 minutes a game, a low point in the season for the neophyte. His rotation spot solidified after that, his minutes increasing to 20-25 a game, though mostly coming off the bench unless injuries gave him a rare start.

Bogdanovic ended the season on a high note, coming through as the Nets made their playoff push. In 28 MPG over nine regular season games in April, he averaged 14.4 PPG, his best monthly rate by a wide margin of 25.6 points per 100 possessions. Bojan shot a staggering 48.8% from three over this stretch, indicating he may have been more lucky than good.

Bojan had some interesting statistical splits on the season. Most noticeably, he shot way better at home than on the road. He shot better from the field, 48.3% vs. 41.2%, better from the free throw line, 86.3% vs. 78.2% and from 3-point range, 38.3% vs. 31.4%. It’s often easy, and many times wise to brush game splits off as more chance than anything, but in this case it seems like the difference might not just be variance. Bojan’s number of attempts was almost exactly equal in all three areas, but his effectiveness was drastically different. As a rookie adjusting to the NBA, Bogdanovic probably felt more comfortable at home, making his future slightly brighter considering he should, in theory, be able to improve in opposing arenas.

In the playoffs Bojan’s role shifted; after game 1 he was inserted into the starting lineup for the remainder of the series. He played great in the Nets two wins, shooting 46% from three and scoring 19 and 15 points in those games. Things were not so rosy the rest of the series. In losses Bojan shot 25% from three, and was worse in almost every single statistical category. Bojan’s playoff performance was still a positive on the whole. He started in a series against a good Hawks team and held his own on the court, earning the minutes he got.

Looking back on Bojan’s season we see an interesting player. His role on the team was essentially that of a spot-up shooter, and he wasn’t asked to create for himself. These 3-and-D players can be very valuable in today’s NBA, but Bojan struggled to be consistently impactful as one in his first season.

Any single one number metric obviously has its flaws, but if all available metrics paint the same picture it’s likely to be close to the truth. In Bojan’s case he was below-average to very bad in just about every all encompassing metric. Bojan was bad in terms of RPM, PER, WS/48, and BPM. Bojan was a rookie so expecting him to have been a very positive player would’ve been unrealistic, but it still would be nice to see him perform better. One cause for optimism is that his play did tick up towards the end of the season. He was more confident taking and making shots from both inside and outside the arc.


Bojan isn’t and was not a bad offensive player, he just isn’t a good one either. Yet. Bojan doesn’t have the athleticism or ball-handling to really be a creator for himself or others, but at times he can make things happen. The biggest and most obvious thing for Bojan is his shooting. On the year he shot a solid 35.5% from three, but if he wants to really draw defensive attention to himself he’s going to need to improve to a 38-40% clip. Bojan has a high and quick release that is hard to stop when he shoots it with confidence, and going forward he shouldn’t be afraid to shoot the ball whenever he has the opportunity.

The other area in which Bojan is already very successful is as a cutter. Bojan has great timing and instincts as a cutter and was first among all non-front court Nets in points off cuts according to synergy. Even without strong creation skills the combination of good shooting and almost elite cutting can make for a very useful offensive player. Bojan isn’t great at it yet, but as he continues to improve attacking closeouts he will only become more effective. Becoming a more consistent and efficient shooter will be important for his career, but the real questions lie on the defensive end.


By all accounts Bojan was a poor defensive player this year. Despite his great instincts cutting on offense he was really poor for most of the year at keeping track of players off the ball. In isolation situations Bojan often played on his heels, and against high-level wing scorers he was torn apart. Bojan was also poor closing out on shooters as he doesn’t have great length to contest shots and also possesses poor quickness recovering. Across the board Bojan lacks positives on the defensive end. He does a decent job navigating on-ball screens, but he’s subpar to bad in almost every other area.

The numbers back this up. According to synergy, Bojan gave up the second-most points of any Nets player in isolation, ranking in the 27th percentile on a per possession basis. Bojan’s defensive rating of 107.9 was the worst of any Nets rotation player. There is a lot of noise to DRTG, but Bojan being worst among the Nets is a pretty obvious sign he was hurting the Nets on the defensive end. Bojan can improve on the defensive end. He’s got a big frame that if he adds strength to will help him even more in screen-and-roll situations and help him in isolation. He also will just naturally get better with time. Picking up the speed and rotations of NBA basketball isn’t easy, and though Bojan might never be even average on the defensive end, he will almost certainly improve.

Next Year:

Bojan is one of the few young Nets, meaning he is likely to be a part of the team’s future. As he gets more comfortable at the NBA level he will inevitably improve on both ends of the court. If he can become a more consistent threat from 3-point range and bump up his defense he can be a valuable rotation piece for Brooklyn. It was fun watching him gain confidence over the course of the year, and he might be able to add to the little bit of off-the-bounce creation he flashed towards the end of the season.  Until next year, Prince William Bogdanovic.

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