How the Brooklyn Nets upgraded their roster during a wild offseason
It has been a roller coaster of an offseason for the Brooklyn Nets, to say the least. For most of the summer, fans sat on the edge of their seats as stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant headlined trade discussions and rumors day in and day out. It was an interesting series of events that ultimately ended with both Irving and Durant agreeing to return to Brooklyn for the upcoming season.
The Nets have been adding to their already strong roster as preseason approaches, with their stars secured, and key players such as Seth Curry, Patty Mills, and Nic Claxton in good shape, plus Ben Simmons and Joe Harris expected to return to action. If healthy, Irving, Simmons, Mills, Curry, and Harris will keep the backcourt solid for the Brooklyn Nets and Head coach Steve Nash can play several different combinations with his guards.
Not to mention, Durant’s incredible ability to run the floor when needed as well. To add more depth, the Nets re-signed Edmond Sumner, a combo guard who was waived by the Brooklyn Nets just four days after being traded from Indiana in 2021. The Nets also acquired guard-forward Yuta Watanabe from Toronto.
But the more notable signings will be playing on the frontcourt, as the Brooklyn Nets welcomed Markieff Morris from Miami, TJ Warren from Indiana, and Royce O’Neale from Utah.
A former teammate of Steve Nash, Morris has familiarity on his side as he makes his move to Brooklyn. Morris won a championship with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2020 before signing a veteran minimum contract with the Miami Heat. While his numbers have gone down significantly in the past two seasons, Morris still proves to be a strong presence on the floor and possesses the toughness that Brooklyn, as a team and as a borough, represents.
TJ Warren exploded during the bubble season when he averaged 26.6 points in ten games, including a 53-point performance against the 76ers. Before and after the lockdown season, Warren proved to be a consistent scorer for Phoenix and Indiana, where he was a staple in the starting lineup. While his role might change this season, the Nets hope to get the same level of productivity from Warren when he steps on the floor.
Lastly, Royce O’Neale is entering his sixth year in the league after five years of playing for the Jazz. A decent scorer and rebounder who started in every game he played in for the past two seasons, he now finds himself in the depths of Brooklyn’s roster. A place where fighting for a starting position is necessary.
During the 2021-22 season, the Nets’ frontcourt averaged 46.4 points per game, which is good considering how much teams rely on their backcourts and 3-point shooting. While they were solid on the defensive glass with 16.7 rebounds per game, they struggled to grab boards on the offensive end with 6.4 per game. With the Nets deciding to build up their frontcourt, they hope to utilize their acquisitions and get their money’s worth.
At the end of the day, the nod goes to who can perform when facing the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, Bam Adebayo, and Draymond Green. After Andre Drummond left for Chicago, the Nets still have LaMarcus Aldridge, Blake Griffin, Day’Ron Sharpe, and Nic Claxton to guard and score in the paint.
How the new frontcourt additions will fit into the mix is still in question, however. A mix of young players wanting to show what they can do and veterans aspiring to prove they still have what it takes– fighting to play for a promising team that has yet to live up to expectations could prove effective.
While talent is certainly present, none of the newly signed players are on long-term deals, as the franchise continues a long trial-and-error process towards their championship aspirations.