With the trade deadline more or less here, the Brooklyn Nets have been one of the biggest names floating around, looking tentatively at Ben Gordon, and even more seriously at Josh Smith. I'm here to pump the breaks a bit and take a look at what they really need.
The Nets currently have five players making a nine-figure salary (or just barely under) this season, which means they've got over $76 million dedicated to five players next season. Basically, they're over the salary cap with their starting five.
Notions are flying around that there's a possibility that they could trade for Josh Smith and give him a huge contract for his troubles. If anything sounds dangerous, it's that.
Looking at what the Nets have done this season, they've gone from being a group of players dribbling a basketball alongside each other, trying to score alternatively, sometimes successfully, sometimes not so much.
Avery Johnson was ousted with a 14-14 record and P.J. Carlesimo was given the job.
What came from there was a lot more pick-and-roll, more work down into Brook Lopez and just a better overall offensive flow.
They're creating a team, and the way they're talking coming into trade deadline crunch time is hinting toward completely killing that vibe by bringing in a flexibility-killing, me-first player like Josh Smith.
Taking a look at what they've been doing all year long will reveal that they're a deceptively bad defensive team.
Sure, they only give up 94.6 points per game, but they're doing it at the slowest pace in the NBA, just over 88 possessions per 48 minutes.
Shaking it out reveals an average of 106.3 points per 100 possessions that they give up, 17th in the league, which is basically what we expected coming into the season.
The opposite is true offensively. They score just 94.8 points per game, but it's at that same slow pace, bouncing it out to 106.6 points per 100 possessions.
Really their problem is efficiency. They shoot too many three-pointers and make too few, while their opponents make too many. They're operating at a deficiency of over two percent at the three-point line, shooting 44 percent compared to opponents 46.3 percent.
It seems that the Nets are currently an evolving, yet very good basketball team, if somewhat under the radar. Shaking things up too much might actually be ill-advised.
Actually, Ben Gordon seems as if he might be the right fit for the Nets off the bench. Given his hot shooting year, he would give them a guy who can actually be described as a spot-up shooter, something they just don't have right now.
Plus it would give them an outside offensive weapon off the bench to contrast that of Andray Blatche's post and mid-range game (that wasn't a sentence I expected to say at the beginning of the year).
The only real negative that comes from signing Gordon would be paying him just a tad more than Kris Humphries makes next season (who would likely be included in the trade), otherwise he's still relatively young, but he's considered damaged goods for his years in Detroit.
Otherwise, the Nets have to calm down a bit, don't go out trying to trade for star-caliber players just because they are star-caliber players.
Think about how they fit with the team, and a forward who has a penchant for taking terrible shots isn't the answer, even if he does seem like the sexy play right now.
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