Predicting The Brooklyn Nets’ Final 15-Man Roster
State of the Brooklyn Nets Heading Into 2013-14
During the 2013-14 season, the Brooklyn Nets will be in the running to win the franchises first ever NBA Championship, as since Mikhail Prokhorov purchased the team in May of 2010 the team has worked their way to become one of the powerhouses in the Eastern Conference. This path to prominence was led by the acquisition of star players Deron Williams and Joe Johnson, who have combined to lead the Nets to their first postseason appearance in six years during the 201213 season.
But while some teams would find it acceptable just to improve on the 201213 season, a Brooklyn franchise led by an owner in Prokhorov who stated he would win a championship during his first five years is not likely to count in this category. After all Prokhorov went out and acquired head coach Jason Kidd and aging star players Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry this offseason with the intent of winning a championship now, not in the future.
In order to accomplish this goal and satisfy fans, Kidd will have to assimilate role players with the stars that exist within the teams roster, as many of the star players are aging and will require a multitude of time on the bench to be prepared for the postseason. While doing this Kidd will also have to figure out a way to get his star laden lineup to co-exist on the court in a manner which will allow them to play the tough brand of basketball to win playoff games.
Transforming the team will have to start in training camp, where the teams key players will have to integrate themselves into new ideas and game plans as well as getting the team's supporting cast to buy in. Many of these supporting players have been brought in with the key idea that they will be able to provide an added dimension to the team that can translate well to postseason play, and getting the most out of these role players will be equally as important to the team's success as the star players' production.
With the transformation of the Nets style of play and the integration of their supporting cast into the altered product proving to be key facets of the team's 2013-14 success, it will be crucial to figure out the role of each player for the upcoming season. With this in mind, we have compiled a list of the 15 players who will be on the team's opening-day roster come opening night and identified each player's expected role within the team.
15. Tornike Shengelia
After playing sparingly during his rookie season it can be expected that Tornike Shengelia will find minutes limited in 2013-14. The 6-foot-9, 240-pound forward will sit third on the depth chart for both small and power forwards during the season, and as a result will likely only see three to five minutes per game. Do not give up all hope on Shengelia though, as at the age of 22 he still has much time and room for improvement.
14. Tyshawn Taylor
Tyshawn Taylor will be the third point guard on the Nets depth chart behind Deron Williams and Shaun Livingston, and as a result will likely only see between four to six minutes per game. With the 29-year-old Williams in front of him for the foreseeable future it does not appear as if Taylor will find a starting role in Brooklyn ever, and as a result could find his way out of town after the 2013-14 season.
13. Mirza Teletovic
Mirza Teletovic will again serve as a backup at the power forward position in 2013-14, where he will be expected to play anywhere between six and eight minutes per night. This contribution will be extremely valuable throughout the season, as Teletovic and Reggie Evans will have to prove useful so that Kevin Garnett is not overused in the regular season.
12. Alan Anderson
Alan Anderson was brought into Brooklyn to provide veteran leadership and depth at the shooting guard position, where he will sit behind Joe Johnson and Jason Terry. Anderson will likely play anywhere between 10 to 12 minutes per game throughout the year.
11. Mason Plumlee
Despite being the Nets first-round draft pick in 2013 playing time will be hard to come by for Mason Plumlee in 2013-14 with Brook Lopez and Kevin Garnett entrenched at the center and power forward positions. As a result of this log jam, it would be no surprise to see Plumlee spend some time with the Nets D-League affiliate in Springfield, Massachusetts.
10. Shaun Livingston
Shaun Livingston was brought into Brooklyn during the offseason to serve as the team's backup to franchise point guard Deron Williams. While he will not be displacing Williams it would be no surprise to see Livingston to play 12-15 minutes per game and pick up some starts when Kidd wants to rest his star player.
9. Andray Blatche
Andray Blatche will again serve as the backup center behind Brook Lopez during the 2013-14 season. If last season was any indication, he will provide valuable scoring and rebounding off of the bench. Blatche will likely play between 15-17 minutes per game throughout the season, keeping Lopez fresh for important situations.
8. Reggie Evans
Despite having his chance of starting taken by the Nets acquisition of Kevin Garnett during the offseason there is no doubt that Reggie Evans will provide useful cover at the power forward position. When it is taken into account that Garnett only played 29.7 minutes per game last season and will likely see a reduction in that total in 2013-14 it is easy to see that Evans will likely play between 18-20 minutes per game.
7. Andrei Kirilenko
Andrei Kirilenko will be expected to serve as a backup to Paul Pierce at the small forward position for the Nets, although much like Evans he will play major minutes. It is likely that Kirilenko will play 22-25 minutes per game and serve as the best small forward option off of the bench in all of basketball.
6. Jason Terry
Jason Terry will serve as the Nets unquestioned sixth man off of the bench, and will be called upon for his great shooting ability from range and defensive prowess. Terry may only play 20-22 minutes per game but these minutes may come during the most pivotal moments of the game, and will make the shooting guard one of the most important acquisitions of the offseason for the Nets.
5. Brook Lopez
The 2013-14 season will be Brook Lopez's sixth straight season as the starting center for the Nets, and over this time he has quietly developed into one of the best centers in all of basketball. Lopez will be called upon to play north of 30 minutes per game, and will likely contribute 20 points and seven rebounds per game while doing so.
4. Paul Pierce
After being acquired with the sole purpose of winning an NBA Championship in 2014 there is no doubt that Paul Pierce will be the Nets starting small forward. Pierce will likely be limited to 30-32 minutes per game during the regular season with the intent of leaving everything on the court in what could be the last postseason of his illustrious career.
3. Kevin Garnett
Kevin Garnett will slot in as the Nets starting power forward during the 2013-14 season, although much like Pierce, he will be limited during the regular season to maximize his impact in the postseason. It can also be expected that Garnett will leave everything on the floor in the postseason, as he tries to walk into the sunset with Pierce with a championship ring on their fingers.
2. Joe Johnson
Joe Johnson will serve as the Nets starting shooting guard and unquestioned face of the franchise alongside Deron Williams. There is no doubt that he will score close to 20 points per game in the regular season, but whether he can finally get over the hump in the playoffs after failing in eight previous attempts will determine how his 2013-14 season is viewed.
1. Deron Williams
Deron Williams will be back for his third season with the Nets as the team's starting point guard, and will surely feel more confident than ever before about the team's playoff potential. Expect Williams to contribute 35-37 minutes per game and serve as the Nets floor general throughout both the regular season and playoffs.
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