The season is right around the corner, and fans and players are getting excited. The Nets, as you may know, are predicted to be pretty terrible this year. Randy Foye, though, thinks otherwise. He believes this team has good players who can win games and be competitive all season long. Foye did not mention a win total, but he seemed confident that it will be more than most outlets are giving us credit for. Foye motivated me to give a little season preview…
Below is our roster and predictions about each player’s contributions, as well as predictions for the Nets’ upcoming season. New head coach Kenny Atkinson will be discussed as well. Atkinson gets credit for just bringing in Jeremy Lin, but more on these guys later.
After that, each month of the Nets’ season is laid out, with predictions for how the team will do each month.
Lets start with the team’s point guard and headliner: Mr. Jeremy Lin.
Linsanity is back in the city! On top of the New York reunion, Jeremy Lin is reunited with the coach responsible for giving him a chance, Kenny Atkinson. Lin had a couple of rough years away from New York in Houston and Los Angeles, but got another chance last season with the Hornets and made their money worthwhile. He averaged almost 12 points and three assists per game in only 26 minutes of play.
Since Lin entered Brooklyn, he has started to take over the city and be a leader, along with his prefix, Brook Lopez. Together, they make a fitting duo named Brook-Lin. Brook-Lin will be all over the arena and the NBA this season. They will be a force and deserve respect. That being said, Lin will have a great year in Brooklyn. He will average around 16 points and six assists per game. Lin will be a vital part of the team, and he will embrace the role and run with it.
The Croatian had a great summer and looks to continue that great play into the regular NBA season. Fans should look forward to his 38 percent three-point percentage from last year to go upwards to near 40 percent. For another season, he will average around 12 points again. Bogdanovic will have a good year and will also, along with Lin, be a vital part of this team’s success.
In only 29 games played last season, RHJ showed his potential. He averaged six points, five rebounds and 1.3 steals. Coming off of a season-ending injury, RHJ may start off a little slow, but he will get back into top form pretty quickly. Randy Foye said that Hollis-Jefferson is one of the most impressive players on the roster so far into the preseason and training camp. This is not surprising, and he will keep the momentum going strong. Look for about eight to ten points per game and around five to six rebounds per game from Hollis-Jefferson. His steals should remain steady, but there will be a slight uptick to 1.5 steals per game. This kid will be a leader this year and will work alongside Lin to run this team.
Booker will be a force down low. To prove that, he has gotten starts this preseason and has performed pretty well. Booker did only average 6 points and 5 rebounds last season with Utah, but I look for that to float up to around 8 points and 8 rebounds at minimum this year. He should and will get a lot of playing time this season and his veteran presence with Brook down low will be essential.
The big man, the leader, the nerd, the twin, the Brook to Jeremy’s Lin. Brook-Lin baby. This duo will be dominant, and look for Lopez to have a massive year. He will be a force to be reckoned with down low offensively. While he may be a pushover on defense, Lopez did a solid job blocking shots last season, averaging 1.7 blocks per game. Offensively, he averaged nearly 21 points per game, and expect that to remain steady this season due to him likely being the Nets’ primary scorer. Everyone knows Lopez is a beast, and he will have yet another stellar year with great overall numbers.
Foye only played 27 games last season for the Thunder and averaged 5.6 points and 1.8 assists per game. He is a veteran presence on the team that can help the young players all over the team develop and learn how the league works. Do not have too high expectations for Foye aside from his leadership, but eight points and three assists per game is a reasonable expectation.
In a mere 24 games during his rookie season, McCullough showed flashes of the great player that he could be. He averaged 4.7 points, three rebounds, and half a block per game. Now that he is fully recovered from the injury he suffered in college, he will come back strong. His numbers may not be great, but he will be a great presence on the floor. Expect around eight points, five rebounds, and a block per game. This season should be a good developmental year for McCullough, who missed valuable time last season.
LeVert will be a slow starter this season due to the injury he sustained at Michigan last year. Before he went down, though, he averaged a whopping 16.5 points, five rebounds, five assists, and a steal per game. His numbers won’t get near this in the NBA, but look for him to slowly come along this season. He will finish with about six points per game with three assists, three rebounds, and a half steal per game.
The Argentinian is another great veteran signing by the Nets. He has had a good amount of success in his career in Houston, averaging more than 15 points per game in three seasons. Last season, though, he only averaged nine points per game in Toronto. Look for him to have another season like the past couple, as he has been a consistent player throughout his career. He will be a solid contributor on this team and brings experience and leadership with him.
The Venezuelan is yet another veteran presence that happens to come from South America. Vasquez has had moderate success in his career and I look for more of the same this season. He will keep steady with the 6 points a game on top of about 4 assists a game. A good veteran leader in the back court that could help this team get some momentum going when things are going rough.
The 2013 first overall pick has not quite panned out to say the least. He has averaged a minuscule 4.2 points and 3.1 rebounds a game in his career. He is getting a fresh start this season in Brooklyn and there is hope he could revitalize his career here. Whether or not he does is still a mystery, but here is to hoping he gets it back.
The late-season signing by Sean Marks really worked out well for both sides. Kilpatrick came in late in the season on ten-day contracts, eventually getting himself an actual contract. He ended up averaging 13.8 points a game in 23 games played. He should be an integral part of this team’s offense and I look for him to keep up the hot shooting into this season. I believe he will score 12 points a game this season.
The rookie out of Seton Hall and the hometown kid looks to make an impact. At Seton Hall, Whitehead averaged 18.2 points a game on top of 5.1 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.4 blocks a game. I do not believe he will be this dominant in the NBA, but I look for him to be a contributor at some point this season. He will be around six points a game and three assists a game, and maybe even a respectable steals average.
The rookie out of Indiana has had a pretty solid preseason thus far. He is averaging 6.5 points a game 2 assists a game. Ferrell has only played in 2 preseason games so far, but expect him to get more action as the preseason winds down. Ferrell may make the team to start, but it is more likely that he spends time in the D-League to start before coming to the NBA.
Joe Harris has had a stellar preseason by averaging 9.3 points a game and shooting 50% from the field and 53% from three-point range. The point guard has played good minutes with good production this preseason and he is making a strong case to make this team from the outset. If Harris keeps shooting like he has so far in the preseason, it will be hard for Atkinson to tell him he is not on the team; we need shooters.
Chase Budinger *
Chase Budinger has not had the best of preseasons. In three games he is averaging 0.7 points a game, but he has averaged 7.5 rebounds a game. Despite Budinger not scoring points so far, his rebounding ability keeps him in the picture as far as making the team goes. This team needs rebounders and Budinger looks like he could be one of those guys for us.
Jorge Gutierrez *
Jorge Gutierrez is back yet again in a Nets uniform and he has done not too great. He played two preseason games and played in only about eight minutes of each game. He has scored an average of three points a game and 1.5 steals a game. If Jorge wants to make the team he will need to score more points than this. He has been a man of 10-day contracts in his career in the NBA and that may seem to continue this season.
The big man has had a good showing this preseason by putting up respectable numbers. He is averaging 9.3 points and five rebounds a game while shooting 50% from the field. Hamilton has competition to make the team as Budinger is statistically a better rebounder, but Hamilton can score and shoot. Whether or not Hamilton makes the team is to be seen, but he has a strong case to do so.
Last but not least. The coach. Kenny Atkinson. Jeremy Lin came out and said straight up that Atkinson is the only reason why he signed with Brooklyn. Atkinson was Lin’s mentor and friend in New York with the Knicks allowing Insanity to occur. Lin took advantage of Linsanity and took a large contract with Houston, who practically wasted Lin’s skill set. Atkinson is a coach that could connect with his players and mentor them to be better people and better players, so look for better camaraderie this season than in years past despite the young lineup. Look for Atkinson to work his magic with our young players such as RHJ and McCullough and LeVert. I do not think he will have the best record, but he will have a decent first year in a rebuilding program.
*Player Cut 10/18/16
Now that the roster has had a slight preview, I will go over what I believe the Nets’ record to be this season.
I look for the only win of the short month to be against the Bucks. Everything else we will lose as the opponents are tough: Celtics, Bulls, and Pacers.
Overall Record 1-3
The first full month of the season will prove to be difficult. We have some really tough opponents, but some that give us a viable chance at victory. I look for five wins this month (Pistons, Hornets, Wolves, Lakers, and Kings). Since there is only five wins, there will be a total loss of 8.
Overall Record 6-11
As the season hits full stride, December is another month of challenges. This month sees another five wins (Bucks, Nuggets, 76ers, Lakers, Magic), but another 10 losses.
Overall Record 11-21
As the 2017 calendar year kicks off, the Nets are not in terrible shape considering where the experts thought they should be. No month in the NBA is an easy one and January proves no different. I see a total of five wins again (Raptors, 76ers, New Orleans, Hornets, and Wolves) and another 11 losses.
Overall Record 16-32
The halfway point is here and the All-Star break is upon us. This leaves for less games and some rest time for the players. I see a mere three wins (Knicks, Wizards, Bucks) to compare with 7 losses.
Overall Record 19-39
Nearing the coveted 21 win mark, the Nets embark on the last half of the season. Again, this month proves difficult with some tough match ups, but the wins are there somewhere. I see 7 wins (Kings, Jazz, Grizzlies, Mavericks, Celtics, Pistons, 76ers). Since there is only seven wins, there will be a total of 10 losses.
Overall Record 26-49
The last month of the season is a month to play spoiler. We already surpassed last season’s win total, and more will be added this month. I see a total of four wins (Magic, Hawks, Bulls, Celtics). Add that up with 3 losses and we have our first winning month of the season.
Overall Record 30-52
This Nets team will be floating around 30 wins. I do not think they are as terrible as the experts make them out to be. I see them fighting hard every game and developing as the year goes on. They will have tough losses, blowout losses, but some great moments along the way. They will lose to bad teams and beat good teams. This team is a lottery team, but progress is there.
We have the pieces in place with Coach Atkinson and Sean Marks. Marks is likely to make a move at some point this season to shake up the roster and maybe even acquire some draft picks. This will be a fun year to watch. There is no pressure. All the development to come about with these young players will be intriguing and fun to watch. Look out for the Nets this season; they will put up a fight.