Brooklyn Nets Midseason Reports: The Bench

The Brooklyn Nets coughed and wheezed their way to the halfway point of the season receiving a 114-86 beatdown at the hands of the Atlanta Hawks. The game basically was a microcosm of the season. Strange rotation patterns, players not performing for the full 48 minutes and most alarming, the Nets playing the fourth quarter like they were ready for a shower.

The most criticisms left in this game were left for the bench, who left the starting lineup out to dry with their poor performance.

The bench for the Brooklyn Nets is basically a revolving door of sorts. With the injuries to Jarrett Jack and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, the bench really added to the moniker “Next man up”. Let’s be honest here, this bench was not put together for a playoff run (no matter what Mikhail Prokhorov says!) it was put together to keep the Nets under the luxury tax penalty line. Billy King assembled this squad (correctly I might add) with that in mind. The only problem with that is players like the Nets have are playing for their next contract. Some have one foot on the Brooklyn Nets bench and the other overseas.

The “reset” Brooklyn Nets front office did get this right financially. But let’s see if they got it right on the floor…

Here are Brooklyn’s Finest’s midseason grades for the bench.

Rondae Hollis Jefferson: C+

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was having a solid season before breaking his ankle on December 5th. Hollis-Jefferson at times looked like he was the only player on the Nets squad that seemed to know that defense was stopping your opponent from scoring and not a metal screen that surrounds someone’s property. He played 19 games before he went down and was in the starting lineup for 14.

Why is he considered a bench player?

There is no time table on when Hollis-Jefferson will be back. If he does, it would be a good idea to put him back on the bench so he can get his rhythm for next season. More likely than not, I would think Tony Brown would follow this scenario.

The Nets really lost a lot on the defensive end when Hollis Jefferson went down. When he got hurt, it forced Joe Johnson to extend himself on the defensive end which ultimately hurt him on the offensive end. Hollis-Jefferson was a WILLING defender, which protected Brook Lopez to a point that he wasn’t exposed on the constant penetration. The team really needed his energy on the floor. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson looked like he was having fun on the floor. That’s what made the injury so sad.

If you haven’t seen this dude jump, GET ON YOUTUBE! The Nets don’t usually have highlights going to commercial breaks, but that wasn’t the case when Hollis Jefferson caught alley-oops. Plus if you came to the basket with something weak, Hollis-Jefferson would send it to the parking lot. Speaking of the parking lot…

Hopefully there is a vendor selling jump shots. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson definitely needs one.

Shane Larkin: C-

Shane Larkin is this year’s Jarrett Jack. When Deron Williams was checking his watch to see when it was time to go, Jarrett Jack was everyone’s favorite point guard. When Jarrett jack struggled this season, Shane Larkin was popular (especially by me!) when he was the back up. Then something happened…

Jarrett Jack blew his ACL and Shane Larkin was thrust into the spotlight.

Larkin has struggled filling in for Jack and has lost his rhythm (or confidence) after going back to the bench. Shane Larkin was huge in the win over New York, but his play has basically fallen off the cliff as of late.

But this period does not take away the hard work that he has put in this season. Look, he was never get the triangle offense in New York. He was terrible. But you know what? So was Carmelo Anthony. The only difference is Phil Jackson can’t say it publicly about the face of the New York Knicks. He will be better in the up-tempo style that Tony Brown is trying to implement instead of that “slow it up and let Jarrett Jack shoot” offense of Lionel Hollins. No matter what happens, Shane Larkin was a success story of former New York Knicks.

However Shane Larkin did not come across town alone… although some Brooklyn Nets fans wish he did.

For every success story, you always have the OTHER side of the story. Everyone meet…

Andrea Bargnani: F- down to maybe a Z+

Okay, this is basically Andrea Bargnani’s season…

He basically spent the ENTIRE preseason in street clothes.

Barely practiced in the preseason.

Somehow got some time on the floor. Didn’t play a lick of defense and shot from one or two spots on the floor with maddening inconsistency.

Got hurt… again.

Now he is behind Thomas Robinson and Willie Reed.

Andrea Bargnani really should have never made this team. With no big bodies behind Brook Lopez, there is a phrase that applies here that says…”You can’t coach seven feet.”  This guy is a bust. He is a colossal bust in Brooklyn and he was a bust in Toronto when he was drafted by Bryan Colangelo, one of the GMs that Nets are looking at. Hopefully if the Nets land him, he’ll make better number one overall draft choices. Oh that’s right, the Nets don’t have one.

Wayne Ellington: D

He dropped 26 points against Miami on the road. Remember anything else? I’ll wait. Wayne Ellington is the best shooter on this squad. The problem is every team has this scouting system that reminds them of that fact. Ergo, Wayne Ellington has struggled mightily when he has defensive attention.

Wayne Ellington is a one trick pony. He shoots very well. The problem is that he struggles on the defensive end and doesn’t rebound well. If that shot does not fall, he’s doesn’t have other ways to help the team on a consistent basis.

Donald Sloan: INC

Donald Sloan was a model of NBA warm up gear under Lionel Hollins. Under Tony Brown, he has a chance to play. Sloan has the ability to be a great facilitator in the Nets offense. One glaring problem… Sloan can’t shoot. He played last year in Indiana and got a contract. Maybe he can do the same here.

Willie Reed/Markel Brown/Sergey Karasev:

Here’s some fun facts…because you can’t grade players who barely plays.

Jeopardy answer: Markel Brown. What is the question? Who is the last point guard to start under Lionel Hollins? Mikhail Prokhorov mentioned him twice in his press conference as part of the future of the Brooklyn Nets. Then he didn’t play against the Knicks.

Who says things won’t change in Brooklyn?

Sergey Karasev:

The loose cannon of the bunch. When Karasev’s father complained about his son’s playing time, the jokes about dysfunction started. The elder Karasev popped off about his son hating playing in Brooklyn and wanting to be traded, the younger Karasev denying it. It made for good drama. Here’s some real drama for you… the next time he plays.

Willie Reed:

Anyone know his number? I’m just playing Willie, nothing but love here. No seriously what’s his number?