The party line in the Brooklyn Nets camp is to consider 2015-16 a "bridge year", which is reasonable considering their middling roster and lofty heights from which the franchise's expectations have fallen over the years. As a result of the moves made when going for broke with a core of aging superstars, Brooklyn enters this season cleanly removed from both the delusions of contending and, for better or worse, the incentives of tanking.
Unfortunately the idea of transitioning towards something brighter overlooks the ghastly situation with their future draft picks and the definitive lack of promising youth to build around. With no clear path to acquiring elite talent for another three or four years, Brooklyn will simply have to make do with Brook Lopez, Thad Young and what other bodies help fill out in the interim.
But even a lame duck can fly, bite, or at least flap its wings in a mildly threatening manner, and Brooklyn, like any team in the league, shouldn't be underestimated. The Nets will look to work their offense through Lopez and Johnson, with Young producing on the periphery, scrapping and taking open looks when he gets them. It's where it gets the other 50 or so points that rest of the roster leaves much to be desired.
Starting point guard Jarrett Jack sat out their season-opening loss against the Bulls with a hamstring injury, and we'll see if he suits up tonight. Jack's not a great player, but he seems to save some of his better games for the Spurs, and we watched Thunder guards have success going at Tony Parker. Any outside shooting will be welcome for Brooklyn after going 0 for 9 on Wednesday, and will likely come from some combination of Wayne Ellington, Shane Larkin and Bojan Bogdanovic.
Really, tonight should be about San Antonio continuing to figure out its frontcourt play. Aldridge, for all the effort he made in OKC to hit cutters and move the ball around, didn't seem all too comfortable in the offense, and it might be a few months before we see any version of what the final product will be. West and Boris seemed to coexist well in the second unit, but the preseason worries about rim protection appeared somewhat validated, as Oklahoma City was efficient scoring around the rim and active working the offensive glass. Boban Marjanovic won't solve all problems, but it'll be interesting to see him get some burn and start to give an idea of whether or not he'll be more than this season's human victory cigar.
In 13 minutes against the Thunder, I thought Kyle Anderson looked alright. It's hard to see his fit as a facilitator in a second unit that already has Manu and Boris, but it's early in the year and I think Pop is prepared to see where things go with Slow Mo. Plus, there's like a .05% chance he's playing the ultimate long con and saves his actual speed for the closing seconds of some Finals game years from now (no one will see it coming!). I would expect to see more of Anderson tonight, as well as Ray McCallum if the Spurs build a comfortable lead.
Oh, and there's Kawhi Leonard, who doesn't care how many scoring titles you've won or how long your arms are. He looks great:
The Nets look like the worst team in New York and could be one of the worst in the NBA by season's end. There will be trap games this season, but I don't see this as one of them.
Matchup to watch: Every starter holds a bit of intrigue, but I want to see how Tony Parker holds up against an easier opponent (whoever it is that starts for Brooklyn). Tony had some success getting into the paint against the Thunder and it'd be nice to see that continue.
|Spurs vs. Nets|
|October 30, 2015|
|AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX|
|7:30 pm CST|
|Tony Parker||PG||Jarrett Jack*|
|Danny Green||SG||Bojan Bogdanovic*|
|Kawhi Leonard||SF||Joe Johnson|
|LaMarcus Aldridge||PF||Thaddeus Young|
|Tim Duncan||C||Brook Lopez|
The Nets fans' perspective can be found at Nets Daily.
Game Prediction: Spurs by 15.
As always Tony must dominate Fisher.