There are many questions surrounding the Newark, New Jersey Nets in 2010-11, including who will start at shooting guard between Terrence Williams and Anthony Morrow, and who will start the season at power forward if Troy Murphy is not ready? But since the departure of Yi Jianlian, the biggest question on everyone’s mind is who will be the go-to Net when needed at a season-ticket holder’s Bar Mitzvah? You see, last year the Nets’ marketing department concocted a devastating ploy to increase season subscriptions by offering up the Net of the ticket-holder’s choice to attend one of his or her functions, including Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. I still can’t get the imagery of Yi in a yarmulke out of my head.
This is officially Brook Lopez‘s team and the talented seven-footer is going off draft boards in the early second round. Last season, he averaged 18.8 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.7 blocks and was also among leaders at his position in steals (0.7) and free throw percentage (.817). Having Murphy beside him may keep his rebounding average below double figures, but it should also open things in the interior a bit more. Murphy had been an underrated fantasy star as a member of the Pacers and although there might be a slight falloff, his numbers should remain pretty steady. He is one of few big men who can average double-digit rebounds (10.2 in ’09-10) and nearly two threes per game (1.8), and even hobbled by a bad back in the preseason, he shouldn’t last past the sixth round.
For those of you who, like me, drafted Devin Harris in the second round last year, I’m pleased to report that not only did we survive the torrent of feces that was rained upon us, no one took matters into his own hands to tar and feather the little bastard. Harris’ most redeeming quality in ’09-10 was that he barely played. On the rare occasion that he wasn’t laid up with Dengue Fever or some other mysterious ailment, he was an atrocity as he dropped in every major category from the previous year except for blocks (0.3) and turnovers (2.8). The reason I am so hard on Harris is because the man has plenty of raw ability. He is one of the quickest guard in the game, and on a team where he is relied on to both score and create, last year’s results were bitterly disappointing. The injury bug will bite again, that you can be sure of, but he has to perform better for Avery Johnson than he did for Lawrence Frank and Kiki Vandeweghe. The sixth round is where he belongs.
Williams and Morrow will likely end up in a time share which severely limits their upside. Morrow is one of the deadliest long-range shooters in the league, having knocked down 47 and 46 percent, respectively, the last two years. He doesn’t do enough in any other category to warrant earlier than a 12th round selection, unless of course Williams goes down. Speaking of, if Morrow were to go down or if Travis Outlaw doesn’t come as recommended, Williams can fill either role and is kind of a poor man’s Stephen Jackson. He can do a little bit of everything, including draining some threes. He also shoots a horrifying percentage from the field like Captain Jack, converting only 40 percent of his chances as a rookie. I think he should be gobbled up before Morrow in the middle rounds and hope that his coach thinks 30 minutes a night is a reasonable target.
Outlaw showed flashes of what he can do as a reserve the past seven years in Portland and now he finally has a chance to fulfill his potential as a starter in New Jersey. He was signed by Mikhail Prokhorov to a five-year, $35 million contract, so his leash will be long. He is capable of putting some crooked numbers in a box score, particularly in the difficult blocks, steals and 3-point categories. He’s had a ho-hum preseason, but don’t be lulled to sleep by that. Despite his length of time in the league, Outlaw is just 26 and could turn out to be a nice gift for someone in the later rounds. The rest of the roster is filled with non-draftable guys and that includes lottery pick Derrick Favors. The Georgia Tech product could see some extra work in the early going as Murphy continues to rehab his back, but he is a long way from being ready to contribute to anyone’s fantasy team. I can see new backup point guard Jordan Farmer being relevant following one of Harris’ injuries. Also half Jewish, Farmar will be relied upon by that vaunted marketing machine. Stay away unless you’re a season ticket holder looking for a good time.
PG: Devin Harris, Jordan Farmar
SG: Anthony Morrow, Terrence Williams
SF: Travis Outlaw, Stephen Graham
PF: Troy Murphy, Derrick Favors
C: Brook Lopez, Johan Petro
Up Next: Houston Rockets