The Nets have maybe the most stacked starting lineup in the entire league, after adding Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to a roster that already has Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez firmly in place.
Making major offseason moves and spending close to $200 million on payroll and luxury tax penalties for a single season will get you a “championship or bust” vibe surrounding the franchise, and Nets GM Billy King said as much when asked if he felt his team had a two-year window to try win a title.
From Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN New York:
Billy King believes the Brooklyn Nets’ window to win a title is this season.
“Now, this is the window — this season,” the Nets’ general manager said Wednesday at Duke University, where the team is holding its training camp. “We’re going to see what we can do with this season, and then we’ll see what next season brings.”
The goal makes sense, considering the aging talent on the roster. But barring significant injuries to star players on the other contenders in both the East and the West, it probably isn’t happening.
Jason Kidd is in his first season as head coach, and despite his years as a floor general during a Hall of Fame career, he’s likely to be overmatched in a long playoff series. Then you look at the bench, and it’s tough to see where the production will be coming from. Is Jason Terry going to relocate his shooting stroke? How much does Andrei Kirilenko have left? What, exactly, is the expectation from guys like Andray Blatche and Reggie Evans?
The reserve unit is the biggest red flag when looking at the Nets and their title hopes. With a veteran starting five, they can’t afford to wear down guys like Pierce and Garnett over the long regular season. But the reality is, the salary being spent and the lack of future cap flexibility does put pressure on the team to win now — and King realizes it.
A new Collective Bargaining Agreement is expected to be finished soon, but with months until the current deal expires, both the owners and players can afford to take their time and get the details right.
Both sides reportedly agreed to keep the age minimum – which requires players to be 19 and one year removed from their high school class’ graduation – in place.
David Aldridge of NBA.com:
Other issues, like the age limit for players entering the league, are still on the table. The league has long sought to increase the age limit from its current 19, and at least one year removed from one’s high school class, to at least 20 years of age. The union has talked about a “zero and two” setup, similar to that used by baseball — players can enter the Draft out of high school, but if they choose to go to college, they have to stay in college at least two years (in baseball, it’s three years) before declaring for the Draft.
The union wants to lower the age minimum. Adam Silver wants to raise it.
Most likely, the current one-and-done rule remains in place.
But a zero-or-two setup could be an interesting compromise. That would allow players certain they’re ready for the pros out of high school to declare for the NBA draft. In all other cases, Silver would get his wish.
Again, the status quo likely remains in tact. But it’s good both sides are discussing the issue to see whether there’s a better solution.
Take comfort, chairs and staffers.
The 76ers have raised Joel Embiid‘s minute limit from 24 to 28.
Jessica Camerato of CSN Philly:
This was never a hard limit. Embiid played more than 24 minutes in five of his 12 games with a high of 27 in an overtime contest. Presumably, the new “limit” will also allow for Embiid to sometimes it.
Embiid’s numbers per 36 minutes are eye-popping: 28.6 points, 12.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 3.8 blocks and 6.4 turnovers. A small workload likely factors into his per-minute dominance, and he’s still a long way from typical starter minutes. But I’m interested to see how his production translates over a larger sample.
The 76ers, in their mission to be less bad this season, will also appreciate a few more minutes of Embiid. They defend like the NBA’s second-best defense with him on the floor and the league’s second-worst defense without him. They also score a little better with him. Overall, they get outscored by just 2.2 points per 100 possessions with him and a whopping 14.2 points per 100 possessions without him.
This could give Philadelphia a couple extra wins over the rest of the season. At minimum, it’ll make the 76ers more enjoyable to watch for a few more minutes each game.
Opponents shoot just 41.8% at the rim with Rudy Gobert defending it – which is now second to Hassan Whiteside among the 50 players who defend the most shots at the rim per game.
But James Johnson went up with no fear, scoring two of his 24 points in the Heat’s 111-110 win over the Jazz last night.
The Hornets didn’t just beat the Mavericks, 97-87, last night.
Nicolas Batum got Charlotte style points with this pass through Dwight Powell‘s legs, assisting Cody Zeller.