Publish date:

10 BROOKLYN NETS

Author:

A MODEST PROPOSAL ...

FIND OUT WHAT D'ANGLEO RUSSELL'S TRADE VALUE IS

The Nets aren't quite back yet, but they aren't still dribbling into the void either. General manager Sean Marks has assembled a roster with some intriguing pieces, team-friendly contracts and—most important—a planet-sized amount of cap space next summer.

One of the trickier decisions on Marks's plate will be figuring out what to do with D'Angelo Russell, the former No. 2 pick who hasn't lived up to that billing in his three-season career. Next summer the Nets can let him walk, or give him a qualifying offer that makes him a restricted free agent. Before it gets to that, Marks should consider packaging Russell and 3-and-D man Allen Crabbe to open even more cap space next summer.

It would be a bold play for Marks to give up on Russell, who could show improvement under Brooklyn's development-focused coaching staff. For now, though, Russell doesn't make enough of an impact as a scorer to make up for his devastating effect on defense. Dangling Russell (and his potential) as a way to attach future money in a trade could give the Nets room to make multiple splashes in 2019 free agency—and it takes a potentially tricky decision off the table.

STARTING 5

COACH KENNY ATKINSON

2017--18 RECORD: 28--54

PREDICTION: Miss playoffs

PG D'ANGELO RUSSELL

15.5

PPG

SG ALLEN CRABBE

13.2

PPG

SF DEMARRE CARROLL (95 [SI'S TOP 100 PLAYER RANKING])

6.6

RPG

C JARRETT ALLEN

58.9

FG%

13.9

PPG

PF RONDAE HOLLIS-JEFFERSON

Hollis-Jefferson averaged 14.2 ppg in his 59 starts. The Nets were 24--35 when he was in the starting lineup, 4--19 when wasn't.

BENCH

SG JOE HARRIS

PF ED DAVIS [NEW ACQUISITION]

SG CARIS LEVERT

(*) NEW ACQUISITION

(#) SI'S TOP 100 PLAYER RANKING

ENEMY LINES

A RIVAL SCOUT SIZES UP BROOKLYN

THEY'RE HEADED in the right direction. This is going to be the first year [since 2013] they have their own first-round pick, but they could also compete for the eighth seed. The two years that Kenny Atkinson's been there, they've won a hell of a lot more than they should. They're like that well-rounded college team that just plays the right way. They're unselfish and have good chemistry.... I want to see CARIS LEVERT become that No. 3 option. This is his second full healthy season. He probably has the highest upside of anyone on the team. He has all the physical tools.... JARRETT ALLEN's work ethic has clearly improved. Trading for KENNETH FARIED just adds to a strong mix of veterans and young talent. Faried could play a Clint Capela role, putting pressure on the rim—only Faried's a couple inches shorter.... RONDAE HOLLIS-JEFFERSON settled into this Swiss army knife defensive role and found his niche. With the way the league is going, that's getting more important, having a guy who can switch pick-and-rolls and play the four. His shot is still funky and I don't have a ton of hope that he'll ever become a three-point shooter.... They gave ALLEN CRABBE a $75 million, four-year contract in 2016, when a lot of teams were just victims of the moment. Everyone had a lot of money to play with. That said, we tend to value guys based on their contract rather than how they play, and he's still a contributor. They obviously love him. Moves well off the ball, good motor, good shooter, plays defense.