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TomShoe's Player Profiles: Brooklyn Nets

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TomShoe's Player Profiles: Brooklyn Nets

So, it turns out "Mr. PER" John Hollinger is putting up his updated player profiles for this year. I know many people want to look at them, but ESPN can be a real B- when they're putting up paywalls and shoving the benefits of insider in your face every other article. So, for sh*ts and giggles, also because I'm pulling my hair out waiting for Oct. 30 (start of the regular season), I might as well post them here, for nbadraft.net and the whole internet to enjoy.

Honestly, I think people are talking about the Nets more because of Jay-Z than because the team is actually good this year. Jay, Billy King, and Mikhail Prokhorov have completely rebranded this team. From the uniforms (Spurs-like), to the coaches (also Spurs), to the players (not so much Spurs), this is definitely a playoff team. This team is ridiculously expenisve (max deals for Joe J, Deron, and Lopez, 10 mil for Wallace), but money is not a problem for the Mariana Trench-deep pockets of their owner. Playoffs? Definitely. Championship? Not so much, but this has the makings of a true dark horse candidate.

Anyway, Nets up, Timberwolves tomorrow, and the team with the worst ankles in the league, the GS Warriors, coming Saturday.

Enjoy.

-TomShoe

PROJECTED STARTERS

DERON WILLIAMS, PG

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

21.4
3.8
9.7
19.7

Stats are per 40 minutes | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Elite point guard who excels in breaking down defenses with quick crossover.
+ Not a leaper but has size, strength to finish at rim. Good midrange shooter.
+ Has ability to defend well but effort has nosedived in recent seasons.

Analysis
Williams labored under the strain of carrying the Nets' offense last season, with more shots and points but fewer assists than we're used to seeing. The Nets used him often off the ball to produce points, with Williams involved in lots of off-ball cuts from the corners. With a more competent lineup around him this season, expect Williams to go back to his bread and butter in the high pick-and-roll.

Williams dramatically increased his 3-point attempts but made only 33.6 percent. This shot has never been a big part of his arsenal and may be of reduced importance this season. He hit a solid 40.7 percent of his long 2s, and while his free throw rate wasn't as high as in past seasons, it still cracked the top 10 among point guards.

Let's hope the renewed enthusiasm in Brooklyn will inspire Williams to actually try on defense, because he completely mailed it in last season. His effort had slackened his final couple of years in Utah as well, but last season reached another level. Synergy rated him one of the worst point guards in the league at that end, and opponents ripped him for an 18 PER, according to 82games.com. This should not be happening. Williams isn't the most laterally fleet player in the league, but he has good size and decent quickness. With proper effort, he should at least be a league-average defender.

JOE JOHNSON, SG

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

19.7
4.2
4.4
16.6

Stats are per 40 minutes | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Huge guard with point guard's handle. Can play over the top of most defenders.
+ Very good midrange shooter. Good passer, but struggles to get by defenders.
+ Solid, low-risk defender who relies on length and strength. Extremely low foul rate.

Analysis
Johnson's 3-point shooting percentage predictably recovered after his 2010-11 anomaly, lifting his scoring and shooting numbers along with it. What stood out was how often he fired away, with a third of his shots coming from behind the arc. Throw in his 38.8 percent mark on 3s and his stellar shooting inside it -- 42.2 percent beyond 10 feet, 66.4 percent at the rim and the league's fifth-best mark from 3 to 9 feet -- and Johnson rated well above par in true shooting percentage despite a low free throw rate. Johnson's floater is vastly underrated; two years ago, he was second best in the 3 to 9 foot range.

Johnson is still a capable ball handler, ranking eighth among shooting guards in pure point rating. Taken as a whole, it may have been his most efficient offensive season as a Hawk.

Defensively, Johnson is a low-risk guy who hardly fouls; only two players were whistled less often, and they're both small guards. Johnson instead stays off opponents and uses his size to contest shots. He rarely guarded elite wingers and I wouldn't call him impactful, but the Hawks allowed next to nothing to opposing wing players last season and he was a big part of the rotation. Synergy also gave him solid marks.

GERALD WALLACE, SF

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

14.8
7.7
2.8
15.1

Stats are per 40 minutes | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Athletic combo forward who excels in transition. Can handle and draw fouls.
+ Subpar shooter with low, cross-body delivery. Good passer. Excellent rebounder.
+ Defensive effort slackened. Active in passing lanes and moves well laterally.

Analysis
Wallace has been traded at the deadline in consecutive seasons, but I'm guessing he won't make it a three-peat. Although energy guys tend to fade quickly in their 30s, Wallace's numbers held up last season. Once again, jump shooting was his bugaboo. He hit only 30.7 percent of his 3s and 36.4 percent of his long 2s. Perhaps of more lingering concern is that he wasn't great near the basket either, hitting 58.4 percent. He did get to the rim often and rarely shot long 2s, giving him one of the best 2-point shooting marks at his position.

Wallace draws lots of fouls and makes his freebies. He was ninth among small forwards in free throw rate and converted at an 80 percent clip from the stripe. He remains an elite rebounder for a winger capable of moving up to a smaller 4. All those tasks require a high degree of athleticism, and at 30, his durability is a concern.

Wallace has been a plus defender his whole career, but his effort slackened last season once the Blazers' season went downhill. Synergy rated him well below average in Portland and New Jersey, and he'll need to dial the energy up now that he is on a good team.

KRIS HUMPHRIES, PF

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

14.9
12.5
1.7
16.7

Stats are per 40 minutes | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Quick, energetic rebounder and scorer around the basket. Runs floor and finishes.
+ Improved midrange shooter but will force some shots. Prone to turnovers.
+ Improved basketball IQ and defense, but still has weak areas. A bit short for a 4.

Analysis
The guy whose 2011 offseason included the Hollywood wedding/divorce saga also apparently spent quite a bit of time in the gym, because Humphries had his best season. He has become an absolute beast on the glass, ranking third among power forwards in Rebound Rate while turning into a potent scoring threat.

Humphries ranked in the top half of power forwards in scoring, TS%, field goal percentage, free throw percentage and free throw rate. He has developed as a midrange shooter, hitting 40.2 percent of his long 2s last season and converting a liability into a strength, allowing him to shot-fake and dribble-drive for dunks.

Defensively, I would describe Humphries as "good for a Net" last season. He blocks shots and rebounds, but New Jersey wasn't appreciably better with him on the court. Opposing power forwards registered a 17.3 PER against him, according to 82games.com. I'm not sure if he was part of the problem, but he wasn't part of the solution either.

BROOK LOPEZ, C

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

22.7
7.8
2.1
20.2

Stats are per 40 minutes | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Big, slow post-up center who almost always turns left shoulder. Good shooter.
+ Blocks shots but a bad defender. Can't guard floor spacers at all. Won't rebound.
+ Poor passer out of double-teams. Takes bad shots. Too focused on drawing fouls.

Analysis
Thanks to two separate injuries, Lopez played only five games last season. Given he had played 246 consecutive games before last season, I doubt it will be a lingering concern going forward, but it gives us little to work with as far as analysis.

The bigger issue is whether a healthy Lopez is a max-contract player. He can score a lot in a league-average, Al Jefferson kind of way, but he has taken criticism for his brutal rebounding numbers. To me, this misplaces the focus. The real issue is that he is a plodding defender who is beatable in transition and hopeless against pick-and-rolls. If he can't improve his defensive value, it will be tough for him to justify the contract -- no matter how many 20-point performances he produces.


RESERVES

C.J. WATSON, PG

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

15.7
3.6
6.5
13.0

Stats are per 40 minutes | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Shoot-first point guard who can create shots. Not a natural distributor.
+ Can pressure ball and has fast hands, but a liability in half-court defense.
+ Excellent long-range shooter but struggles in traffic. Subpar finisher.

Analysis
Watson had some effective stretches last season, but in the big picture, he was far too aggressive on offense for his talent level. Watson finished 19th at his position in usage rate but was one of the least efficient players at his position, especially when he wasn't spotting up for 3s. He finished 50th among point guards in TS% and 45th in pure point rating, and if you subtract his stellar 3-point shooting (39.3 percent), that data looks much worse.

The assists Watson did earn were of an unusually low quality. Using data from Hoopdata.com on the location of player assists, the average Watson assist was likely a low-quality shot. Only 17.3 percent of them resulted in baskets at the rim, while nearly half produced midrange jump shots, which are the lowest percentage shot in the game.

Based on league-wide shooting percentages at each distance, I calculated the marginal value of assists from each point on the floor and produced a modified value for each player, scaling my result to a league average of 0.667 points per assist. (This is what the PER formula credits each player). As the chart shows, the two Bulls' point guards had the two worst figures in this category, meaning that the receiver had to do much more work with the passes to get buckets.
Worst assist quality, point guards, 2011-12

Player
Team
Pts./Ast.

C.J. Watson
Chi
0.527

Derrick Rose
Chi
0.549

Jarrett Jack
NO
0.551

Goran Dragic
Hou
0.556

Jrue Holiday
Phi
0.559

League average

0.667

Source: Hoopdata.com. Min. 200 assists.

Watson might also benefit from less offensive responsibility on a Brooklyn team with more scoring. He is a poor finisher who shot a ghastly 39.4 percent inside 10 feet last season. On long 2s, he wasn't much better at 32.2 percent. He just can't be the guy taking contested jumpers late in the shot clock.

Watson really struggled on the defensive end last season. He gave up a 17.8 PER to opposing point guards, according to 82games.com, and the Bulls gave up 7.8 more points per 100 possessions with him on the court.

REGGIE EVANS, PF

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

5.7
13.3
1.1
9.0

Stats are per 40 minutes | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Hard-nosed rebounding machine. Short but strong, gets great positioning.
+ Will play physical and foul, but lacks length and mobility to defend well.
+ Offensively inept except for putbacks. Good screener, but can't shoot or handle.

Analysis
One of the league's true one-trick ponies, Evans once again put up a spectacular Rebound Rate and did virtually nothing else. While his phenomenal board work ranked third in the league and second at the offensive end, he is one of the league's most extreme players in several respects.

Offensively, he had the league's worst turnover ratio and nearly the lowest scoring rate. For somebody who gets so many offensive boards, he virtually never converts them into points. Evans averaged a meager 5.4 points per 40 minutes, the third-worst figure in basketball.
Fewest points per 40 minutes, 2011-12

player
Team
Pts./40

Ben Wallace
Det
3.5

Andris Biedrins
GS
4.3

Reggie Evans
LAC
5.4

Earl Watson
Utah
5.8

DeShawn Stevenson
NJ
6.2

Min. 500 minutes

Similarly, he had the league's highest free throw rate at 0.99 free throw attempts per field goal attempt, but given a 50.7 percentage from the stripe, that rate wasn't much use. Even with the offensive rebounds he provides, Evans was a major drain at that end.

Defensively, Evans had his moments against Memphis in the playoffs, but the regular season was another story. While he is physical and can rebound, Evans doesn't move well and was last among centers in blocks per minute. Additionally, he committed a foul every 6.5 minutes, one of the league's highest rates. The Clippers gave up 6.3 more points per 100 possessions with him on the court, while Synergy also graded him poorly. Brooklyn is counting on him as a backup center, but at this point in his career, he shouldn't be in a rotation.

MARSHON BROOKS, G

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

17.5
4.9
3.3
13.5

Stats are per 40 minutes | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Shameless gunner with extremely long arms for size. Likes to play one-on-one.
+ Mediocre outside shooter. Blind to teammates. Good finisher at basket.
+ Rebounds well for size. Length a defensive asset, but prone to lapses.

Analysis
Brooks showed the good and the bad of his game during his rookie season. He energized a moribund Nets team early on with his one-on-one scoring ability but failed to pair that game with a team concept. Brooks averaged a solid 17.2 points per 40 minutes and may be able to build on that, especially if his jumper improves. He hit only 31.3 percent of his 3s, but he has the form to do better. He can also draw more fouls by using shot fakes, as opponents struggle to challenge his length.

He must get his teammates involved, though. Brooks had the fourth-worst pure point rating among shooting guards, and his turnover ratio was unacceptably high for a primary scorer. There's good news buried here, as rookies with high turnover ratios tend to make more progress in subsequent seasons, but his poor decision making and tunnel vision grew frustrating to watch.

Defensively, Brooks earned a few quick hooks after defensive lapses. He suffered through the typical rookie learning curve but showed some promise. Given his length, he should be a solid defender against shooting guards, but the Nets often had him playing the 3 last season, for which he lacks the size and muscle.

ANDRAY BLATCHE, PF

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

15.2
9.4
2.1
12.6

Stats are per 40 minutes | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Jump-shooting big man miscast as go-to guy. Struggles to create quality looks.
+ Good size, but lacks strength. Subpar defensive effort. Jumps on every shot fake.
+ Struggles with conditioning. Character a question. Will force bad shots.

Analysis
The epitome of everything that was wrong with the Wizards over the past three years, "Baltche" showed up out of shape once again and this time it really cost him. He wasn't even able to supply his usual variety of ball-stopping, high-volume shooting, but his defense remained as inattentive as ever.

Blatche was finally held out with "conditioning" issues, a form of banishment designed to let the Wizards forget that ridiculous contract extension they gave him -- one they ate this summer in an amnesty.

If there's any hope for redemption here, it's that Blatche's biggest problem was not being able to make a shot. He's always leaned heavily on his midrange J but converted just 29.9 percent of his 2s from beyond ten feet. He's not an explosive athlete and has never been a great finisher, so he didn't have much to lean on once the jumper stopped falling. Additionally, he kept stopping the ball and taking an eternity to make his moves.

There's still some talent here as a pick-and-pop 4, and he's only 25 years old, so somebody will roll the dice. But Blatche will have to rededicate himself to getting in shape, trying on defense and sharing the ball to become a viable starter again.

JOSH CHILDRESS, SF

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

Stats are per 40 minutes | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Two-way forward who has battled knee problems. Athleticism on the wane.
+ Shooting numbers have declined sharply. Handles ball well for size.
+ Has length to defend. Not a troublemaker but flaky persona a concern.

Analysis
Say, didn't you used to be good? Childress took the final step in his amazingly fast descent from ace sixth man to nonentity by setting a record that will never be broken: He didn't make a free throw the entire season. Partly that was by design, as he only drew two free throw attempts in 2012-13. (Shout out to the Hornets' Jason Smith for accomplishing what no other player did -- sending Childress to the line.)

Childress also shot just 6-of-39 away from the basket; between that and the lack of freebies, his TS% was poor even though he shot 70 percent at the rim. He did, however, clean up the turnover problem that plagued him the previous season.

When he wasn't avoiding free throws, Childress was getting savaged on defense. The Suns allowed 3.9 points more per 100 possessions with him on the court and opposing small forwards had a 20.8 PER against him; Synergy rated him the worst defender on the Suns and among the very worst in basketball. The subjective assessment backed this data up, featuring numerous on-ball blow-bys and weak-side no-shows.

Childress is only 29 and was extremely productive in Atlanta, but he has to regain enough confidence in his free throw shooting that he'll play the slashing game that made him so effective. Brooklyn may be his last decent chance to do so.

MIRZA TELETOVIC, F

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

Did not play 500 NBA minutes last season | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Floor-spacing big man in mold of New Orleans' Ryan Anderson.
+ 3-point shooter who must adjust to longer NBA distance.
+ May struggle to defend and finish in paint at this level.

Analysis
Teletovic was certainly worth the three-year, taxpayer midlevel deal to which New Jersey signed him. He led the Euroleague in scoring, and his translated PER of 15.41 would make him a strong role player in the NBA. Teletovic stands 6-foot-9 but took nearly half his shots from beyond the 3-point line, making 43.1 percent in Euroleague play last season for Caja Laboral Vitoria. He hit only 43.6 percent of his 2s, however, and his translated rebound rate of 8.3 boards per 40 minutes won't bowl anyone over. Nonetheless, this was a rare value signing by the Nets.

TYSHAWN TAYLOR, PG

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

Did not play 500 NBA minutes last season | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Athletic combo guard who can get to basket and plays excellent defense.
+ Erratic floor general. Not a natural point guard. Questionable shooter.

Analysis
He was a second-round pick and faces a crowd in Brooklyn's backcourt, but Taylor should be in the league for a while. Taylor has a reputation as a poor outside shooter, but he shot 38 percent on 3s in each of his final two seasons at Kansas. Additionally, his defensive capabilities are likely to get him on the court, especially in small-ball situations.

Taylor would ideally play the point, but his negative pure point rating -- despite playing with a great finisher -- is a serious red flag. He also had a poor rebound rate for an athletic combo guard. Nonetheless, I liked this draft pick. At worst, he'll be something of a rich man's Ben Uzoh.

JERRY STACKHOUSE, SG

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

Did not play 500 NBA minutes last season | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Scoring-minded winger who has become dependent on his jump shot.
+ Good size but struggles defensively. Rebound rate has diminished.

Analysis
Stackhouse played 30 games as a reserve for the Hawks and showed he can still find the basket, scoring 15.8 points per 40 minutes. However, this was a very different Stackhouse than the one of yore, as he took 77 jump shots and just 23 inside 10 feet. Once a free throw machine thanks to his explosive first step, he didn't draw fouls at a high rate and shot just 37 percent from the floor last season. His TS% was low enough that his shot creation wasn't worth much.

Aside from the scoring rate, Stackhouse didn't provide much ancillary value. He has good size for a winger but doesn't move like he used to. The best that can be said is his reliance on jumpers helped him cut his turnovers.

KEITH BOGANS, SG

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

Did not play 500 NBA minutes last season | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Role-playing wing who defends, shoots open 3s and does little else.
+ Tough, focused defender. Short arms but strong and competes. Bad rebounder.
+ Very limited offensively. Good handle for size but no burst. Poor finisher.

Analysis
It's a strange world sometimes. A year after starting all 82 games for a 62-win team, Bogans was completely ignored in the free-agent market and ended up playing only five games for the lowly Nets. While Bogans has some serious limitations offensively, his combination of defensive chops and 3-point shooting ability should at least get his foot in the door, and apparently he'll have more of a chance to make an impact this season with the paper-thin Nets. He's 32 and had single-digit PERs for three straight seasons, so temper your expectations, but for short stints he can fill a role and won't mess the game up for anyone else.

TORNIKE SHENGELIA, F

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

Did not play 500 NBA minutes last season

Scouting report
+ Long, athletic combo forward with good motor. Will attack rim.
+ A tweener between 3 and 4. Needs to improve shot or add strength.

Analysis
It was surprising to see the Nets bring Shengelia, a late second-round pick, over this season given that he seems at least a year away from contributing. Shengelia drew notice with his play in the Eurocamp before the draft, but his translated stats from Belgium last season suggest he'll be overmatched at the NBA level right now.

His potential future is as a smallball 4 who can attack bigger players off the dribble and draw fouls, and at 21 years old he still has time to improve. But I think another year in Belgium would have helped him more than a year on the Nets' bench. Also, Nets GM Billy King would have had an excuse to go to Belgium.


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