Burning Q's: Can the Nets rebound?

August, 18, 2014
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Paul Pierce, Andrei KirilenkoNathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty ImagesThe Nets were the second-worst rebounding team in the NBA last season.
With training camp less than two months away, we’re examining some burning questions with the Brooklyn Nets.

Today’s question: Can they rebound?

Last season, the Nets finished second-to-last in both rebounds per game and rebound rate (the percentage of missed shots that a team rebounds). Only the Los Angeles Lakers were worse in those categories.

Former coach Jason Kidd was asked about his team’s inability to rebound all season long, but the problem never went away. The Nets, who began thriving when they went small/long, were able to somewhat overcome that weakness because of their ability to force turnovers, but it definitely hurt them.

So how did they go about fixing their rebounding problem this summer?

Umm ... well ... they didn’t.

Therefore, it’s going to have to be rectified internally. The hope is that new coach Lionel Hollins can help in the rebounding department.

In his final three seasons in Memphis, the Grizzlies finished second (2009-10), tied for ninth ('10-11) and 11th ('11-12) in rebounding rate.

The difference, of course, is Hollins no longer has board snatchers like Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol at his disposal.

Kevin Garnett, who is expected to return for his 20th season in 2014-15, averaged just 6.6 rebounds per game last season, which led the team. Brook Lopez, who is coming off foot and ankle surgery, averaged 6.0 rebounds in just 17 games. Andray Blatche (5.3) and Paul Pierce (4.5) are gone.

The onus, then, falls on Lopez, who has never been a great rebounder, Mason Plumlee (4.4) and Andrei Kirilenko (2.3), who was hurt most of last season, to really step up and grab some caroms next season. Perhaps rookie Cory Jefferson figures to be in the mix as well.

I asked ESPN Stats & Information (via the Elias Sports Bureau) to provide some perspective on Garnett being the team’s leading returning rebounder given his low average.

The result: Garnett’s average (6.6) was the lowest among leaders in the NBA (min. 50 games played). It was also the lowest by a team leader in a season since the shortened 2011-12 season (min. 40 games played): Bismack Biyombo, Charlotte (5.8) and Tristan Thompson, Cleveland (6.5).

Rebounding is obviously a key aspect of basketball. Hollins is known to utilize more traditional lineups with two bigs, which should help. And if Lopez and Plumlee improve and Kirilenko stays healthy, that should help as well.

But this rebounding problem is definitely something that could haunt the Nets if they don’t fix it.

Exclusive: Kris Humphries on Nets, fans

June, 4, 2012
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Jerritt Clark/WireImage
Nets forward Kris Humphries and TV reality star Kim Kardashian were married for 72 days.


Brooklyn Nets power forward Kris Humphries is a man of few words.

"My focus has always been on my family, faith and my job," said Humphries, who doesn't talk to media before games or frankly anyone as he gets in the zone. "I don't really worry about what people think."

So when you get married to a reality star and get divorced in 72 days, your world seemingly turns upside down.

Continue reading in Playbook

Brooks named to All-Rookie Second Team

May, 22, 2012
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MarShon Brooks thought he should’ve been drafted much earlier than 25th overall.

He was right.

Brooks, who was acquired by the Nets in a draft night deal with the Celtics, was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team on Tuesday.

The Providence product ranked third among first-year pros in scoring, averaging 12.6 points per game.

Brooks, a native of Long Branch, N.J., is the 13th player in Nets franchise history to be named to the All-Rookie Team (sixth Second Team selection).

The 23-year-old guard played in just 56 games due to injury.

Houston’s Chandler Parsons, Sacramento’s Isaiah Thomas, Minnesota’s Derrick Williams and Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson round out the All-Rookie Second Team.

King says Lopez 'making good progress'

May, 19, 2012
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- On Saturday during the third-annual Nets draft combine, which features potential second-round picks, center Brook Lopez popped out from behind closed doors at the PNY Center to take in some of the action.

Lopez, who missed all but five games this past season with right foot and ankle injuries, was in his adidas sneakers -- not in a walking boot, which he had been wearing for the past month. Then, when the first day of the combine concluded (the second day is Sunday), he worked on his outside shot and some court exercises.

Addressing reporters, GM Billy King confirmed that Lopez got a check-up on May 16 and said he's "making good progress" in his recovery. He still expects the team's starting center to be 100 percent healthy come training camp.

"[The doctors] said everything's progressing nicely," King said. "He's on track. He's doing everything -- just no running and jumping at this point. It's good to see Brook shooting."

Lopez hasn't been the only Net at the team's training facility of late. Deron Williams was there on Friday, and he also dropped in on Saturday morning at around 8 a.m. (He didn't speak to the media.) In fact, about half the team has already been stopping by -- and it's only been three weeks since the season ended.

King said the impact of the shortened season's jam-packed schedule hasn't seemed to be an issue, in terms of guys needing more rest. But the appearances may have had a little something to do with extra motivation from the GM himself.

"Also, Anthony Morrow, Jordan Williams and MarShon Brooks [have been here]," King said. "So a lot of our guys have been back in the gym. As I told them, I said, 'You can take time off, but if you start working out, you get ahead of the game.' Really what they're doing is spring training."

Here are some other noteworthy nuggets from King:

1. On his trip to Turkey: "Turkey was good. I was able to watch the [Euroleague] Final Four, see some good games. I obviously saw Deron there, I saw Mikhail [Prokhorov] there. It was a good trip." (King didn't discuss details of his time spent with either of them.)

2. On meeting with Bojan Bogdanovic -- the Nets own his draft rights (from 2011), but he has one season remaining on his contract with Fenerbahce in the Turkish League: "We had a good meeting. He's anxious to come over and play. In due time, we'll talk about his contract so we can get him out. He had the NBA League Pass and watched all our games, so he's as anxious as the day we drafted him."

3. On Gerald Wallace, who has a player option, but has publicly said he wants to return to the Nets next season: "We've had conversations with his representatives because actually we can talk about the potential of [an] extension if he opts in. We'll leave that there." (The Nets likely won't make a move with their free agents until they know Williams' definite plans.)

4. On the Nets' potential draft pick(s): "I always look at the draft as if we like a player, then we go find a pick, whether we end up with one, two or three or 57. We'll be aggressive. The good thing about having all these GMs and personnel here is getting a chance to talk and try to make deals." (The Nets will only have a lottery pick if they land a top-three selection. If they end up between six and nine, the pick will go to the Portland Trail Blazers, based on the Wallace trade. No matter what, though, they'll have the 57th pick.)

5. On his philosophy when analyzing prospects: "The one thing I learned from Donnie Walsh when I was an assistant coach in Indiana, he said, 'If this is where you're making your evaluation, you're too far behind.' We've seen these guys play 5-on-5 in college, so this is just another part of the process. What we base our decision on is really what they've done with their college program. This is more just to get their real measurements, see if they pick up the NBA pick-and-roll and the coaching."

6. On what he's looking for from the players during the combine: "We try to see how the guys pick up stuff from the coaches, see how they play 5-on-5, how they share the basketball, who's in shape. We had some casualties of guys not in shape, and that's what it really comes down to. ... If you can find a guy with an NBA skill, that's what you're looking for. If a guy can do everything, then they're Dwyane Wade, LeBron James -- they're the All-Stars. But if a guy can do one or two things great, an NBA skill, that's what you look for."

You can follow Jared Zwerling on Twitter.

D-Will debate continues ...

May, 9, 2012
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Will he stay?

... Or will he go to Dallas?

That’s what ESPN Dallas.com’s Jeff Caplan and Tim MacMahon argue in their latest Hot Button.

MacMahon argues Deron Williams should sign with his hometown Mavericks because 1. New York taxes are absurd (8.97 percent!) and Texas has no income tax, so $28 million (five years, $109 million for re-signing in Brooklyn compared to four years, $81 million with everyone else based on the CBA) isn’t really $28 million; 2. The Cuban/Nelson management tandem is better than the Prokhorov/King tandem; and 3. The Mavs have Dirk and the Nets don’t.

Caplan counters with the money difference and also the fact that D-Will has the opportunity to be a part of something special in Brooklyn. The Nets potentially could have a pretty talented roster -- assuming everyone signs back, they add a couple pieces and get healthy -- and the Mavs will have to maneuver a lot to add complimentary pieces around Dirk and Deron.

My take: It really could go either way. Both arguments are compelling. Williams never wanted to be traded to the Nets. He didn’t have a say. Now, he’s exercising his right to opt out, become a free agent and test the market.

Williams has said he likes the idea of starting something in Brooklyn: playing in the No. 1 media market in the world and all the endorsement opportunities he’s gotten as a result of being there is certainly appealing.

The Nets very well could’ve been -- and probably would’ve been -- a playoff team if they hadn’t been decimated. But their roster is still in flux. After all, 11 of their 15 players have the potential to be FAs. Still, the Mavs aren’t really in that much better shape.

Nevertheless, if he were to go home, how could you blame him?

The Nets are pretty much in a D-Will or bust scenario. The All-Star point guard has an important decision to make.

And it appears he can’t go wrong either way.

Nets' merchandise flying off the shelves

May, 2, 2012
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From a team press release:

The Brooklyn Nets brand identity launch this past Monday morning has sparked widespread success in team merchandise sales, ticket sales, and Brooklynnets.com traffic.

Since garnering extraordinary fan response to the Brooklyn Nets logos and black-and-white color scheme created by JAY Z, Brooklyn Nets merchandise has been the top-seller of all NBA teams at NBAStore.com and at the NBA Store on Fifth Avenue.

Merchandise sales through Brooklynnets.com were more than double the team’s total sales for the 2010-11 season. Additionally, Modell's, the Nets' official sporting goods retailer, sold more Nets merchandise during the first day of the launch than all of last season.

JAY Z’s design for the team’s brand identity incorporates a timeless black and white color palette of the old New York subway signage system, including its clean ‘RollSign’ typeface. The treatment celebrates the history and heritage of Brooklyn by drawing upon the familiar classic signage from when the borough last had its own major professional team in 1957.

The day of the launch, April 30, was the second largest web traffic day at NBAStore.com since the start of the season (December 25), with Brooklyn Nets merchandise representing 27% of total sales for the day on NBAStore.com and the NBA Store on Fifth Avenue combined.

Catapulted by the team’ brand launch, Brooklyn Nets ticket sales have now sold out of three price points, and traffic has increased on the team’s site by 1,700% since Monday.

“The interest in our brand identity launch has dramatically exceeded our expectations,” said Brooklyn Nets CEO Brett Yormark. “JAY Z’s logos and color scheme combined with our Brooklyn identity are proving to be a powerful draw for fans. It’s been 55 years since Brooklyn has had major professional sports and it’s clear the borough is excited for its new home team. As our merchandise and ticket sales are flourishing, we have also seen a huge spike in our digital fan engagement, with Brooklyn Nets trending nationally on Twitter on Monday. We are proud to say, ‘Hello Brooklyn’.”


• According to the team, the Nets lost 249 man-games to injury/illness/personal reasons last season.

Get your Nets general season tix Tuesday

April, 30, 2012
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From a team press release:

Brooklyn Nets general season tickets for the team’s inaugural 2012-13 NBA season at Barclays Center will go on sale Tuesday at 8:30 a.m.

Tickets are available by calling 800-77-BKTIX or at www.Brooklynnets.com.

Brooklyn Nets season tickets have been priced to provide great access for fans at affordable prices. For each game, 50 percent of all season tickets are $55 or less, 38 percent of season tickets are $35 or less, and lower level season tickets start at $65.

While general season tickets are on sale tomorrow, a limited supply of All Access season tickets are also available. The All Access offering provides fans several distinctive elements, including the opportunity to purchase tickets before the general public to non-Brooklyn Nets events that will be staged at Barclays Center. All Access tickets can also be used for unlimited food at all fixed concession stands during Brooklyn Nets games -- a first-time offering for a major New York metropolitan area sports team.

What do you think of the Nets' new logo?

April, 30, 2012
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Do you like it? Answer yes or no in the comments section. If no, give a reason why.

Also, it is interesting to take a look back at some of the Nets logos over the years. (Google, Nets logos and check it out).

In the meantime, check out Men's Health's profile of Kris Humphries.

Brooklyn Nets' new logo released

April, 30, 2012
4/30/12
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#HELLOBROOKLYN

The Brooklyn Nets’ new logo was unveiled by CEO Brett Yormark on CNBC at 6:50 a.m. Monday morning at Barclays Center.

The Nets have gotten rid of red, white and blue and went with black and white.

You can check out the design at the Nets’ new official website.

Their logo had been leaked what felt like 100 times during the past week. Now, it’s official. The Nets will have a more official unveiling at 10 a.m. at the Modell’s across the street from their $1 billion arena on Atlantic and Flatbush.

You can read Ben Couch’s writeup on the new logo here.

FanSpeak: Greatest moments in Nets history?

April, 24, 2012
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Check out our photo gallery of the Top 10 All-Time N.J. Nets!

The Nets are leaving New Jersey. Does anybody care? How will people remember the N.J. Nets?

From Monday night marks end of N.J. Nets era:

"Sorry, but the greatest Net of all time was Dr. J."
- Dr. Dave 61

Ed.'s note -- Sure, but he played for the New York Nets, at the Nassau Coliseum, not in Jersey.

From Chris Christie: No love lost for Nets:

" '(The Prudential Center is) one of the most beautiful arenas in America they have a chance to play in, it's in one of the country's most vibrant cities...' Is that what Newark is now? Vibrant? Really? Christie needs to shut his piehole....."
- carrasquillo69

Ed.'s note -- He needs to shut his what?

"This move makes no sense. It's not like Brooklyn's a vast improvement over Jersey in the first place."
- Tito M.D.

Ed.'s note -- The pizza alone is a vast improvement.

"Hey put it this way... At least New Jersey still has the "Jersey Shore" heh..."
- Kobeto Clippers

Ed.'s note -- True. More people root for Snooki than the Nets.

"Right Chris, Newark is much cooler than Brooklyn. Sure it is.
Christie's like a guy dumped by his girlfriend because he's a boring rube, then screams "Good riddance!" at her exhaust fumes. Pathetic."
- Mike02414

Ed.'s note -- Nobody likes seeing a guy cry about getting dumped. What's he supposed to say?

"When u cant sell out a stanley cup game...what does that say about your fan base your moron"
- billyb_in_nyc

Ed.'s note -- The Devils and Nets have different fans, but still ... that is very sad.

From Facebook

"still got the devils"
- Ryan Bucks

Ed.'s note -- Sure. Maybe Newark will become Hockeytown East!

Look for these FanSpeak pieces on a regular basis (hey, at least you know we're paying attention).

No more Nets banners at the Rock

April, 24, 2012
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An observation made by this reporter the morning after while at Devils morning skate before Game 6. There are Devils banners, Seton Hall banners and Liberty banners, but no Nets banners.

#HELLOBROOKLYN

Humphries wants to stay

April, 24, 2012
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Even though they’re moving from New Jersey to Brooklyn next season, Kris Humphries wants to stay with the Nets.

“Of course,” Humphries replied when asked if he wants to re-sign with the Nets. “I think everyone wants to come back and be a part of Brooklyn. But we understand that we probably won’t have the same exact team as this year, so hopefully, as many guys as possible can be a part of it.”

The Nets, though, could be headed in another direction. Sources have told ESPN NewYork.com that the team will pursue free agents Kevin Garnett, Ryan Anderson and Ersan Ilyasova in the offseason.

Then again, they were trying to upgrade the power forward position in 2011-12, but ended up bringing Humphries back in as a fallback. Playing on a one-year, $8 million contract, the 27-year-old has averaged career-highs of 13.8 points and 11.0 rebounds per game.

The Nets expect to have around $8 million in cap space if Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Gerald Wallace come back.

#HELLOBROOKLYN

April, 24, 2012
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That was the hashtag found on the Nets’ official website’s splash page shortly following the team’s final game after 35 years in New Jersey.

The page also featured an outline of what will be the team’s new logo.

The New Jersey Nets play their final game in Toronto on Thursday. They’ll be moving to Brooklyn and the $1 billion Barclays Center next season.

Johnson, Morrow, Brooks talk N.J.

April, 24, 2012
4/24/12
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Here’s the Nets thoughts on their last game in New Jersey:

Avery Johnson

“Yeah, I was just talking to P.J. Carlesimo about that going out to begin the second half. It was really just an eerie feeling. You’re right, just some mixed emotions, and I think it finally hit me during the course of the game that this was it, with us playing here in New Jersey. But great fan support [Monday night]. They came out, they cheered us on, and our guys just ran out of gas in the fourth quarter. We made a pretty good run in the third quarter, but it wasn’t because of a lack of fan support, and we really appreciate it.”


Anthony Morrow

“Before the game, when I was working out, seeing all of the fans, it’s kind of an emotional time for all the fans. It’s exciting but at the same time it is bittersweet. I am excited to be part of this, proud to be playing in front of all the Nets fans.”

MarShon Brooks

“Right now, I’m a little sad about leaving Jersey, but I’m Brooklyn ready. I have the whole offseason to think about Brooklyn. Like I said before, I was born in jersey, I have a lot of family helping me get through it. My grandmother, my mother and I just appreciate everything this year in playing in front of wonderful fans. The reality is we head to Brooklyn.”

'Whoop-de-damn-do' re-visted

April, 24, 2012
4/24/12
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Eighteen years later, “Whoop-de-damn-do” lives on.

In 1994, Derrick Coleman famously uttered those words when asked about Kenny Anderson missing practice.

“Where were all you guys when Dwayne Schintzius missed practice? Everyone misses practice. Dwayne Schintzius misses practice. Jayson Williams misses practice. I miss practice. Even the coaches miss practice sometimes,” Coleman said.

A reporter mentioned that Anderson was the captain of the team, and should be setting a bad example. The Post reportedly saw Anderson at “Scores,” a strip club in New York City.

“Whoop-de-damn-do," said Coleman “I didn't feel he owed anybody an apology.”

Coleman reflected on the quote on Monday night.

“It’s amazing to me. It really is. But I get laughs about it. I was just talking to Kenny about that earlier. I said, ‘I was sticking up for you.’ So I blame you all the time for that,” Coleman said, laughing.

Coleman is optimistic about the Nets heading to Brooklyn.

“I’m always hopeful. You have to have talent, that’s the bottom line. If you can get Deron Williams to stay and get a big like Dwight Howard, that’s great, but you have to have talent for people to come and support the team.”

New Jersey governor Chris Christie made headlines when he said “good riddance” to the Nets.

“He said good riddance to the Nets? He must not like basketball. My time here was great for me,” Coleman said.

Anderson called the upcoming move “bittersweet.”

“Now you’re gonna have two teams in New York. We’ll see what happens,” he said.

Anderson joked around that the Nets’ franchise -- unlike the Knicks’ -- was always unstable. They used to practice at a APA trucking in North Bergen, after all.

“They were always ready to win. It seemed like we were build into mediocrity,” Anderson said. “But we won. We had talent.”

Anderson said the move should be good for the Nets.

“New Jersey is a basketball state somewhat, but New York is basketball.”

While the Knicks had a winning tradition and were in a huge market, the Nets, Anderson said, always had a “revolving door,” with players and coaches changing frequently.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Mirza Teletovic
PTS AST STL MIN
20.0 1.0 0.0 23.0
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsM. Teletovic 6.0
AssistsD. Williams 8.0
StealsD. Williams 2.0
BlocksM. Teletovic 2.0