MLE Wishlist

2015 MLE Wishlist: Marreese Speights

With free agency about a month away, we at Brooklyn’s Finest are pitching in our collective wishlist of players around the league we’d like to see the Nets sign. Let’s see here… Kevin Love, Marc Gaso- what’s that? The Nets have no cap space? Hmm. Guess it’ll just be players that Brooklyn can try and sign with the annual mid-level exception. This year’s has a first-year salary of $3.376 million. Let’s get to it.

When July 1 comes around and free agency begins, the Brooklyn Nets will be looking at a roster that is thinner in the frontcourt than anywhere else. Mirza Teletovic needs a new deal, and Jerome Jordan will also be a free agent, leaving a potential void of role players to bolster Mason Plumlee and Brook Lopez.

Meanwhile, the Nets have over $59 million wrapped up in backcourt players next season. So instead of expanding a backcourt that already accounts for about 66 percent of the team’s salary next season, Brooklyn will likely look toward expanding its arsenal of big men.

Unfortunately for the Nets, there are not many frontcourt players in the mid-level exception salary range, especially if we take out aging big men that are likely looking for a championship contender to latch on to. From the thin list of players left, Marreese Speights has the potential to add toughness to the Brooklyn lineup as a sixth man that could play stints at both the power forward and center positions.


Marreese Speights’ shotchart from last season.

While Plumlee will likely post the majority of the minutes at power forward next season, Speights’ limited shooting is something that the former Duke standout has not added to his game yet. Although the sample size is small with Speights averaging just less than 16 minutes per game last season, he shot above the league average from the short corner for Golden State.

The problem with his shooting from last season is that he shot a less than impressive percentage from the rest of the court. The challenge for Hollins would be putting Speights in his more effective locations on the court and limiting his inefficient shooting near the top of the key. Still, as an effective finisher and competent shooter Speights can add short bursts of scoring to the Brooklyn lineup.

Speights will not be a free agent officially until Golden State decides what it will do with his team option. The Warriors are currently over the cap, meaning that they are likely to decline the option to help the team’s flexibility. Depending on his performance in the NBA Finals, it is possible that the Warriors will work to keep him if he has an impact on the team’s attempt to win a championship. He is currently making $3.5 million with Golden State, so the possibility of him signing with Brooklyn is likely intent on a long, multi-year deal.

With that said, it may be hard to convince Speights to join a middling Nets team after he played for the Warriors in the Finals and a tough Memphis team over the last three years. But this is a wishlist after all, and due to the limited frontcourt options in free agency, Speights is one of the best options for Brooklyn next season.

Plus, he did this last season, which was just one example of how he can be an exciting role player for a team hoping to have depth in the playoffs.