Editor’s Note: This article is Jun Pang’s first for Shaky Ankles.
This summer held the most exciting NBA offseason since 2010, and one of the biggest changes took place in Brooklyn, where the Nets arrived with a completely revamped roster. Gone is 73% of the 22-44 2011-12 New Jersey Nets, with only Deron Williams, Keith Bogans, Brook Lopez, Gerald Wallace, MarShon Brooks, and Kris Humphries remaining. New additions include Joe Johnson, Reggie Evans, and Andray Blatche.
The Nets have a lot of new strengths and weaknesses, and coach Avery Johnson seems like he’ll finally have some talent that can work the system he wants to install. The Nets are as enigmatic as any team in the league, with a ceiling that could reach the Eastern Conference Finals and a basement that ends with a first-round exit. They should definitely be on your “teams to watch” list next year. Read more…
Keeping up on an ongoing miniseries, here’s in depth, incredibly important analysis on my fantasy basketball draft, which took place on December 17, 2011. A glorious evening it was. For more info on what’s going down here, go check out the initial entry.
Team L: Ray Allen
Team K: Nene Hilario
Team J: Brook Lopez
Team I: Joe Johnson
Team H: Tyreke Evans
Team G: Kevin Martin
Team F: Andrew Bogut
Team E: Raymond Felton
Team D: Marcin Gortat
Team C: Greg Monroe
Team B: Joakim Noah
Team A: DeAndre Jordan
Worst Value: Brook Lopez. The pick was taken before his unfortunate injury, but still, this just wasn’t a very efficient selection given the guys who were taken later in the same round; they do what Lopez does, only much, much better. More will be spoken of this in the Overall Reaction.
Best Value: Tyreke Evans. This might be based more on personal feelings than statistical analysis, but I’ve felt this entire offseason that Tyreke Evans was due for a monster comeback year. With his foot finally healthy, he should be motivated to prove his worth as Sacramento’s franchise player; the man ownership should be getting down on their knees for every day in thankful praise. I say “should” to describe both of those reasons because my mind tells me one thing, but my heart speaks another. Evans is as talented and athletic as any point guard in the league, but he may be playing out of position. Also, words from an assistant coach this offseason about Evans and Cousins needing to buckle down and study tape on a more consistent basis has me nervous. Is Tyreke really capable of wasting all those special gifts? I hope not. This season could go a long way as to dictating what kind of player he ends up being.
Overall Reaction: Round 4 was the round of big men. Of the 12 available picks, 8 of them were centers, but the order in which they were selected deserves a bit of digging. Technically, Brook Lopez’s eyes stand roughly 7-feet from the ground, but he rebounds worse than LeBron James. His name remains popular because of the embarrassing comparable talent and the fact that he’s a really tall lottery pick for a large market team, but Brook Lopez is nowhere near a better pick than Gortat, Noah, or Jordan. I hesitate in throwing Monroe in with that group because of the smaller sample size, but in all honesty he’ll probably surpass Lopez in several categories this season.Follow @ShakyAnkles
Rising: Greg Monroe
In college, he was the unselfish friendly big man, always hanging out at the high post making sure everyone’s comfortable, like a big brother who protects his little siblings by standing taller than everyone else in the neighborhood. His technical skills were vast, and the way he made the Princeton offense sing made every first time viewer aware of the team’s best player before a basket was even scored.
Either due to the depressing team he played for or the slow-but-steady-wins-the-race style he exudes, last year Greg Monroe went through one of the most delightful rookie seasons a center has had in years, and very few noticed. (Monroe was “awarded” sixth place in the running for Rookie of the Year.) Former coach John Kuester dialed up just a handful of plays for arguably his team’s best player—one of the many reasons he no longer works there (“I probably could count them on my hand, the plays that were called for me throughout the year,” Monroe said last May.) Read more…