Last season, the Brooklyn Nets were 24th in the NBA in pace (possessions per game) under old-school coach Lionel Hollins. Before than Hollins had been in Memphis and when he took them over for the 2009-10 season they were a top 10 team in pace, but by the time he was let go they were dead last in the league. He’s not seen as a running coach.
But the Nets are going to run this year if you ask Thaddeus Young.
Young was on SiriusXM NBA Radio and talked about the Nets playing faster this season under Hollins.
Look at the Brooklyn Nets likely starting five — Jarrett Jack, Bojan Bogdanovic, Joe Johnson, Thaddeus Young, Brook Lopez — and you see a group that can get out and run. Reserves such as Shane Larkin, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and even Andrea Bargnani (sprinting to the arc) would love to play more in transition. They are not going to be the Warriors, but the Nets don’t need to be slow.
But we’ll see what Hollins has in store for them. If he wants to pound it in to Lopez in the post or at the elbow, things will not be fast.
The Brooklyn Nets added more backcourt depth on Monday, signing veteran point guard Donald Sloan. The team announced the move in a press release:
The Brooklyn Nets have signed guard Donald Sloan, General Manager Billy King announced today. Per team policy, terms of the contract were not released.
Sloan (6’3”, 205) has appeared in 157 games (33 starts) in four seasons with the Atlanta Hawks (2011-12), New Orleans Hornets (2011-12, 2012-13), Cleveland Cavaliers (2011-13) and Indiana Pacers (2013-15), registering averages of 4.9 points, 1.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 15.5 minutes per game. Sloan also saw action in four playoff games with the Pacers during the 2014 postseason. The 27-year-old Sloan put together his best professional season in 2014-15 with Indiana, posting career-highs in games played (53), starts (21), points per game (7.4), rebounds per game (2.7) and assists per game (3.6). Sloan has also spent time in the D-League and has had brief stints in China and the Philippines.
Originally undrafted in the 2010 NBA Draft, the native of Shreveport, La. began his pro career after four years at Texas A&M. Sloan helped lead the Aggies to four NCAA Tournament appearances and was named All-Big 12 First Team following his senior season. He finished his collegiate career eighth on the school’s all-time points and assists lists.
This is a good depth move for Brooklyn. With Deron Williams out of the picture, Jarrett Jack is their likeliest choice to start at point guard, but between Sloan and fellow free agent addition Shane Larkin, they have some solid options off the bench. Under the radar, Brooklyn has made some nice moves this summer, taking a veteran’s-minimum flier on Thomas Robinson and signing a proven shooter in Wayne Ellington. Adding Sloan gives them another proven contributor at a position where they have a lot of stability but not a lot of top-level talent. He absolutely will have the opportunity to earn big minutes.
It’s not very often that Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov speaks publicly about his team. But after a largely successful offseason, the team posted a two-minute video to their official website in which the Russian billionaire praised the efforts of GM Billy King.
Via the New York Post‘s Tim Bontemps:
“First of all, we had a really good offseason – better than a lot of people expected,” Prokhorov said. “Without a lot of noise, we got a lot done. Brook and Thaddeus are staying with us, which gives us continuity in our frontcourt. Joe Johnson stays as a core player. We also have high expectations for Bojan Bogdanovic, who showed us real flashes of brilliance in his first year on the Nets.
“Some of you have noticed a shift in our approach. You’ll see a team that is younger and more athletic this season. Our approach has been more strategic. We are making all necessary moves to be set up well for the future. But one thing remains constant, and make no mistake about it: We are here to win, and we’ll do whatever we can, together with all of you who are working for us.”
One player Prokhorov didn’t mention at all in the video is Deron Williams, who agreed to a buyout earlier in July before signing with his hometown Dallas Mavericks. Williams was the franchise cornerstone for much of Prokhorov’s tenure as owner, and he never really worked out the way they’d hoped.
With that said, Prokhorov is right that the team has had a pretty solid offseason. They had no choice but to keep their core together — they can’t tank for a draft pick, since all of their upcoming draft picks are either owned by Boston outright or as pick swaps. They re-signed Lopez and Young to reasonable deals, and made a few solid under-the-radar signings to fill out the end of the bench, including Shane Larkin, Wayne Ellington and Thomas Robinson. They won’t be title contenders by any means, but they’ll be in the playoff mix like they were last season.
Apparently, Denver couldn’t flip Pablo Prigioni.
The Nuggets acquired the point guard in the Ty Lawson trade, but they didn’t really want him. They just needed Prigioni’s contract to facilitate the deal.
Prigioni was waived by Denver following the trade
The Nuggets will owe Prigioni just $440,00 of his $1,734,572 salary if he clears waivers.
But it’s not a lock Prigioni clears waivers. That price isn’t bad for a third point guard, and Prigioni is better than most third point guards. The 38-year-old doesn’t have any upside remaining, but that shouldn’t matter to teams ready to win now – a few of whom have cap room or trade exceptions that could fit Prigioni’s salary.
One example: The Nets, who bought out Deron Williams and traded Steve Blake. Jarrett Jack is line to start at point guard, and Shane Larkin offers decent potential behind him. Prigioni is more dependable – and likely better than anyone Brooklyn could get with the minimum-salary exception it has available. The Nets have a couple trade exceptions that could fit Prigioni’s contract.
The Nets are capped out, fairly old and don’t have a guarantee of their own first-round pick until 2019.
Celtics fans are cackling, but it’s a tough situation for Brooklyn. There are few mechanisms to get better, and the usual upside of being bad – a high draft pick – doesn’t apply.
But the Nets found a way to add young talent in Thomas Robinson and Shane Larkin.
Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders:
Tim Bontemps of the New York Post:
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
I like both signings.
The Nets tried to sign Robinson last season, but the 76ers swooped in. He was the No. 5 pick just three years ago, and though he hasn’t put it all together in the NBA, he’s been far from useless. He has rebounded particularly well, and that could give him a ticket to playing time – and an opportunity to rehab his value.
Larkin will receive part of Brooklyn’s taxpayer mid-level exception. The Knicks declined his third-year option (and haven’t done much with the created cap room), allowing him to hit free agency early. Like Robinson, Lark has yet to make an overly impressive NBA impression. But he has a knack for getting steals, can jump high and shot well from outside his final year of college.
With Robinson and Larkin, Brooklyn has decent young talent to work with – which is more than I expected.