Tuesday, July 03, 2012
Best Case/Worst Case: Brooklyn Nets
The Brooklyn Nets certainly are making a splash this off-season. First, they resign Gerald Wallace for 4 years, $40 million. Then, they trade a sack of moldy tangerines for Joe Johnson and his moldy tangerine of a contract. After minor deals that led to the acquisitions of Reggie Evans and Euro-stud Mirza Teletovic, the Nets pulled off a coup, re-signing Deron Williams and (partially) justifying all of the insane maneuvers they've been making the past two seasons. While they may have cost themselves a shot at Dwight Howard, the Nets will at least firmly find themselves in the playoffs in their debut season in Brooklyn. Or will they?
To find out just how much these extravagant moves are worth in terms of wins, I've compiled the best case, worst case, and average (and probably most likely) case for this upcoming season for the Nets using The NBA Geek's Win Score statistics (the numbers listed after each player's name is his Wins Produced, which when totaled should give a rough approximation of how many games each particular incarnation of the Nets will win). After considering how much they've mortgaged their future with the Wallace signing and Johnson trade, were these moves worth it? Find out after the jump.
BEST CASE 74-8
PG 2007-08 Deron Williams 13.5 WP
SG 2005-06 Joe Johnson 8.5 WP
SF 2009-10 Gerald Wallace 17.0 WP
PF 2010-11 Kirk Humphries 10.9 WP
C 2009-10 Brook Lopez 6.4 WP
F 2004-05 Reggie Evans 9.7 WP
G MarShon Brooks 1.5 WP (2009-10 Courtney Lee projected for 8 minutes/game)*
F/C Mirza Teletovic 3.9 WP (2011-12 Ryan Anderson projected for 10 minutes/game)*
G Tyshawn Taylor 2.9 WP (2011-12 Isaiah Thomas projected for 12 minutes/game)*
This assumes every player matches their career high (or reaches their highest potential projection), which, while nearly completely unlikely, does produce a very impressive record. Brooks and Taylor's projections are based on their best comps from Hickory High's Similarity Scores, while Teletovic's is based on Ryan Anderson's career year last season (and Anderson was used since Teletovic is an excellent offensive rebounder who nearly exclusively shoots threes). If this were anywhere near plausible, it would most definitely make the Nets gambit worth it. This scenario also sees Humphries and Lopez returning to the fold (obviously).
WORST CASE 8-74
PG 2011-12 Deron Williams 2.5 WP
SG 2002-03 Joe Johnson 3.1 WP
SF 2007-08 Gerald Wallace 5.6 WP
PF 2009-10 Reggie Evans 0.6 WP
C Mirza Teletovic -1.0 WP (2007-08 Brian Cook)*
G MarShon Brooks 0.1 WP (2010-11 James Anderson)*
G Tyshawn Taylor -1.6 WP (2010-11 Jonny Flynn)*
F Tornike Shengelia -0.3 WP (2009-10 Andres Nocioni)*
G Ashton Gibbs -0.6 WP (2011-12 Larry Hughes)*
This case is just as unlikely as the Best Case. It assumes Lopez and Humphries move on, forcing Reggie Evans into a full-time role and Teletovic into the starting lineup as an overpowered center (just as Brian Cook would be). The numbers used represent each player's career-worst season (excluding their rookie seasons and Gerald Wallace's Sacramento years). Brooks and Taylor are matched with some of their worst-performing comps, while 2nd round pick Shengelia and Gibbs are forced into the rotation (with projections that are honestly probably generous).
SPLITTING THE DIFFERENCE 38-44
PG Deron Williams 7.8 WP
SG Joe Johnson 5.6 WP
SF Gerald Wallace 7.6 WP
PF Mirza Teletovic 5.1 WP (Ryan Anderson's Career Average)*
C Brook Lopez 2.9 WP
F Reggie Evans 4.7 WP
G MarShon Brooks 1.0 WP
G Tyshawn Taylor 1.6 WP (Average of Best Case and Worst Case)*
F Tornike Shengelia 1.2 WP (Andres Nocioni's Career Average)*
This case assumes Humphries moves on, and uses each player's career average production (or the average of their projections). The record comes out a little lower than this team would probably put up, so if you want to use the average of this and the best case record (41-41), feel free. This seems realistic, since Williams, Johnson, and Wallace all showed signs of decline last year, Teletovic is a relative unknown, Lopez can't rebound (at all), and there is nearly no depth. Add in Avery Johnson, who hasn't been very impressive as a coach since Dallas's 1st round meltdown versus the Warriors, and you have a team that will battle their Big Apple-mates the Knicks for the right to avoid the Heat in the first round.