Brooklyn Nets must improve depth this NBA off-season

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jason kidd nets

Even with the Brooklyn Nets being the NBA’s most improved team this past season, there has already been some major moves made by the team since they were bounced from the first round of the playoffs.  Head coach P.J. Carlesimo was not retained this off-season and the franchise instead will turn to the recently retired, former Net Jason Kidd to take over.  Jay-z also had to sell his stake in the team as he tries his hand at being a NBA player agent.

As for the on-the-court product, with their crazy expensive core intact, the Brooklyn nets need to add some better role players to their bench if they are going to take another step forward in the Eastern Conference.

Brooklyn Nets (49-33 last year)

2012-13 Season Summary:
It is really no surprise that the Brooklyn Nets were the NBA’s most improved team this past season. Deron Williams and Brook Lopez were healthy for the entire year and the acquisition of Joe Johnson provided the Nets with a very solid trio of star caliber players.  Gerald Wallace was considered to be another key cog in the machine but actually had his worst statistical season in nearly a decade as his opportunities diminished on the offensive end.

First year Net Reggie Evans did all the dirty work down low averaging 11.1 rebounds per game and replacing Kris Humphries as the team’s starting power forward.  Humphries, fresh off a two-year, $24 million extension was a massive disappointment for Brooklyn.  The Nets did however find a terrific value in free agent Andray Blatche who added some needed offensive punch off the bench.

Outside of Blatche, the bench was rather ineffective.  Like Wallace, second year pro MarShon Brooks saw his minutes and productivity dip due to the acquisition of Johnson.  From there Brooklyn relied on journeymen veterans like C.J. Watson, Keith Bogans, and even Jerry Stackhouse to round out their rotation.

2013-14 Projected Depth Chart:
C: Brook Lopez
PF: Reggie Evans/Kris Humphries/Mirza Teletovic
SF: Gerald Wallace/Tornike Shengelia/Kris Joseph
SG: Joe Johnson/MarShon Brooks
PG: Deron Williams/^C.J. Watson/Tyshawn Taylor

NBA Free Agents:
^PG-C.J. Watson (PO)
PF-Andray Blatche (UFA)
G/F-Keith Bogans (UFA)
SF-Jerry Stackhouse (UFA)
*SF-Kris Joseph (TO)

2013-14 Team Salary: Approximately $84.5 million

Team Needs:
1. Depth: The Brooklyn Nets bench was marginal at best last season and their best reserve, Andray Blatche is a free agent this summer.  If he is not re-signed, then the Nets need to find another back-up big capable of scoring on the low block.  Adding another wing threat, ideally someone who can consistently knock down outside shots, should also be a priority so that Brooklyn won’t need to consider bringing back the ageless Stackhouse or Bogans.

2. Shop Humphries: Since the Nets will have zero cap flexibility until the 2016-17 season, there are three ways to improve their roster; through the draft, their midlevel exception, or by trade.  The easiest way for the Nets to fill team need #1 is by accomplishing team need #2.  Humphries is due $12 million and is the final year of his contract so he could be attractive to a team looking to unload some salary.  If the Nets were able to deal the former Mr. Kim Kardashian and perhaps a first round pick, they could get a couple of pieces to upgrade their bench.

3. No Kidding Around: Throughout his career, Jason Kidd has been a terrific leader and well respected by the players in the league, but how will that transition to his coaching style?  Kidd will likely be a player’s coach which is important but must also build a level of authority to make tough decisions and get the Nets to buy into his coaching if the team is going to be a true contender in the East.

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David Kay is a senior feature NBA DraftNBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)

You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.

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