The Brooklyn Nets have a future. Yes, you read that correctly, the Nets of Brooklyn have a bright future in the National Basketball Association. Despite only having 13 wins and a winning percentage of 19.4%, the picture is not as bleak as it once was for Nets fans. With none of their own draft picks for the next two seasons as they are giving possible franchise changing players to the Boston Celtics. The possibilities for success lies in these four aspects of the franchise.
The 22nd pick out of Michigan has shown many signs of outplaying his draft pick substantially. During his final college season, Levert was plagued with injuries and ended up having to attend his graduation with crutches. These injuries moved Levert from a prospective lottery pick to potentially being available in round two. The Nets pounced on his fall and traded with the Pacers for the rights to Levert. Since coming off the bench, Levert has shown that he can defend up to four positions, transitioning from guarding point guards to playing the four and guarding power forwards.
Levert’s shooting has also come along throughout the season. In 32 games before the All-Star break he was averaging 6.9 points shooting the ball at 41% and since the All-Star break he has been scoring 9.9 points shooting the ball at a ridiculous 55% from the field. Package this shooting increase and his defensive intensity, it looks like Levert will show he is worth much more than the 22nd draft pick that was used on him.
Brooklyn’s own Isaiah Whitehead is a player that when you’re watching, you’re surprised that the young point guard is a rookie. He plays with the composure of a veteran and speed that can rival any point guard in the league. At 6 foot 4 he has the ability to guard the one, two, and the three and has the ability to enter the paint with ease. He gets a large amount of his buckets by driving and like Levert since the All-Star break he has shown improvement that only points to a positive future for his Nets career. Previous to the All Star break he was averaging 7 points per game, shooting the ball at 39%, but since the All Star break the rookie out of Seton Hall, has upped his average to 10 points a game a shooting the ball at 49%. For a second round pick with little to no expectations he has shown that he is in the NBA to stay and plans to play an integral role to recovery of the Nets future.
Rondae Hollis Jefferson–
Rondae Hollis Jefferson is a top-tier defender. Yes he has a broken jump shot, and yes he sometimes can’t handle the ball as well his coaching staff would like, but there is no denying that Rondae Hollis Jefferson can play elite defense. Every time the Nets play against a top power forward or small forward the always put Hollis Jefferson on him. He has guarded everyone, from Kristaps Porzingis to Lebron James. The only knock against him is that he has a horrible 3-point jump shot. This is fair but Hollis-Jefferson is still only 22 years old and knows that he has room to grow. The fact that Hollis Jefferson has already established himself as a menace on the defensive end, yields hope that once his jump shot becomes more consistent he will be a terror for teams as a two way player
Sean Marks and Kenny Atkinson–
The most important thing in order to allow these three young cornerstones to realize their full potential is the front office and the coaching staff. The Nets understand that, and have correctly placed two men in charge who know what it takes to win. Both their general manager Sean Marks and coach Kenny Atkinson have received rave reviews from their players and the coaches that they have worked with. Marks coming from the prestigious Spurs management organization gives hope to Nets, that he could possibly replicate that success with his new team from Brooklyn. Atkinson coming from the Atlanta Hawks has also had his fair share of success. With both men, having been part of winning organizations, there is a strong feeling that they will be able to bring that winning culture with them.
The Nets this season will clearly end up with the worst record in the league but it is not as bad as it seems. Brook Lopez and Jeremy Lin each game are growing more comfortable in the Brook-Lin pick and roll and as we know their young players are improving with every game they play. The Nets announcers like to pitch the idea of Brooklyn Grit, and I’m buying the Brooklyn Grit stock at the low price it’s at now, because there is only room to grow for the future of the Brooklyn Nets.