Alright, the first game in Brooklyn Nets history will be played tonight at the brand new $1-Billion Barclays center, against The Toronto Raptors. To say that I am excited is actually right on. I’m not overly ecstatic to the point that I can’t control it, because honestly, there are some things that I will miss about the New Jersey Nets, and I made an entire post about it that can be seen here: RIP New Jersey Nets, but I’m very excited to see this new team in action.
I’m going to show my projections for the starting five this season (the 2012-13 season). During the All-Star break I am going to reevaluate the stats of these players and how the team is doing so far, along with what bench players have really played a key role in the rotation.
(Pts = Points, Rebs = Rebounds, Asts= Assists — All are “per game”).
PG: Deron Williams
Deron Williams is an amazing point guard, and he unfortuantely hasn’t been playing with a very good Nets team since he has gotten here. Sure, he was injured on and off, but the biggest blow to a great season for him as a Net so far was last season losing his number one scorer and target for assists and lobs, Brook Lopez. Now in a season with Brook Lopez in full health, and great additions in Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace for a full season, Marshon Brooks off the bench, and a great back up in CJ Watson, i’m looking for D-Will to score a little under 20pts a game, but a nice jump in his assist ratio to definitely in the double-digits. Should finally be able to lead this team to a great winning season and make the playoffs.
SG: Joe Johnson
Joe Johnson looks to be the potential number one scoring option through this offense, along with Brook Lopez down low, and it’s just the kind of player that the Nets have needed ever since Vince Carter has left. A pure scoring option that can do a little bit of everything; drive to the basket, mid-range jumpers, and a 3-pt threat. Drawing some attention away from Deron Williams will be huge, as D-Will can now score at will, while the defense has to worry about Lopez down low, and Johnson practically everywhere on the court. I look that his scoring average will be in the 20ppg range, and look to be a huge asset to this new Brooklyn team, even if his contract is ridiculously overpaid.
SF: Gerald Wallace
I really like Gerald Wallace, and the way that he plays the game. Sure, his nickname “Crash” may not totally suit him anymore since he has gotten older, but he is definitely a great player that can do a little bit of everything. While some of the other starting teammates alongside Wallace may be getting the bulk of the attention from the defense, Wallace will be deceptive in getting some great open shots. On the defensive end himself, Wallace is a pro, and a great player to stop the opposing team’s flow. He’ll be able to score double-digit points, as well as grab a couple boards, and help Deron Williams dish out the rock, as Wallace is a pretty adept passer as well. A real good five-tool player.
PF: Kris Humphries
Kris Humphries has been a great asset to this Nets team and has definitely earned his starting spot. He plays a gritty game, doing the dirty work that nobody has seemed to be able to do. I’m not sure if he’ll continue to average a double-double (because I have a slight hope that Lopez starts to rebound again), but he’ll be darn close to one. He’s a great player who puts in the effort and tries his hardest, just loving to play the game. Looking for another solid season from him, and he’s going to need it because supposedly this Mirza Teletovic is a real great scoring option as a SF/PF and could be gunning for Hump’s job if he slips up and Teletovic performs like he supposedly should.
C: Brook Lopez
Now that Lopez has made it through the preseason healthy, I’m looking for him to keep his scoring trend up there. Averaging close to 20 ppg and being a huge threat down low, along with Humphries. I’m hoping that if him playing in the preseason is any indication, that Lopez will be rebounding a little more than his declining numbers have been going for the past few seasons. It’ll be great to be close to a double-double and having a low post threat finally, something that the Nets haven’t really had besides Humphries.
Overall, I’m hoping for a team record of about 52-30. Some projections have the Nets winning more than that, but 20+ games over .500 seems like a pretty good season to me, considering I’m not sure how well the Nets will mesh right off the back with the team chemistry.
Definitely going to be an exciting season, especially for the Eastern Conference, and the Atlantic Division itself. Can’t wait for it to get underway!
Let’s go NETS!