2013-14 NBA Season: Top 5 Players to Watch for Brooklyn Nets
Brooklyn Nets: Top 5 Players to Watch
Adding Pierce and Garnett to an already impressive starting line-up, gives the Nets the best starters 1-5 in the NBA. They join Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez and form a very versatile unit on both ends of the floor. Also, Terry gives Brooklyn one of the best bench players in the game. Terry has a history of hitting big shots and scoring in bunches off of the bench and I see no reason why that will change in Brooklyn.
First-year head coach Jason Kidd has a ton of talent to work with. Kidd was always a smart player, but coaching is a different animal. Is Kidd ready to go toe-to-toe with the brightest minds in the game? Only time will tell, but this has to be the biggest question mark for the Nets entering the season.
I think that Brooklyn has the talent to compete in a loaded Eastern Conference. The Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers and Chicago Bulls join the Nets as the best teams in the East. It should be a very interesting race all season long.
Here are the top five players to watch for Brooklyn, as they try to capitalize on this short window.
5. Reggie Evans
He may not be a huge name like other members of the Nets, but Reggie Evans will be a huge part of this team. Evans is an elite rebounder that is not afraid to do the dirty work inside. He was a starter for the Nets for most of last season averaging 11.1 rebounds per game in only 24.6 minutes per game. Evans is a very tough player that will be key for the Nets as they look to limit Garnett's minutes early in the season.
4. Paul Pierce
One of the biggest things that the Nets lacked last season was a cold-blooded shooter at the end of the game. Johnson had his moments as did Williams, but there was nobody that they could really count on in the last minutes of a ball game. Pierce is that guy. He is not afraid to take that last shot, and he has made many of them. He may be on the down-side of his career, but there is no doubt that Pierce is a cold-blooded shooter. I think he will pay huge dividends for the Nets in pressure situations.
3. Brook Lopez
The continued growth of Lopez will be one of the most important stories for the Nets this season. Lopez averaged 19.4 points per game, 6.9 rebounds and 2.1 blocks. You would like to see better rebounding numbers this season, and I think we will. He has become a good shot blocker and I think the guidance of Garnett will help him even more on the defensive end of the floor. Offensively, the additions that the Nets made should allow Lopez plenty of room to operate down low. I expect big things out of this young center this season.
2. Kevin Garnett
Garnett is definitely aging and I wonder how many seasons he really has left. That being said, he is still an elite defender and can step out and hit a mid range jumper at any time. Kidd will definitely look to limit Garnett's minutes so he will be fresh for the stretch run. The experience and mental toughness that Garnett brings is a huge key for this team.
1. Deron Williams
Besides his rookie season in 2005-06, where he had limited playing time, Williams had the fewest assists per game in his career last season with 7.7. Just a few short years ago, Williams was considered one of, if not the, best point guards in the league. Now, he is a bit of an afterthought. Williams simply has lost his touch when it comes to setting up his teammates. With the added talent around him this season, Williams must play less selfishly and set his teammates up for success. Williams must run the offense and make the right decisions. This will be the most important step for the Nets this season. If Williams is able to move the ball around and set up his teammates, the team will be very successful.