Great Leap Forward for the Nets??

Last season the New Jersey Nets posted one of the worst won-loss records in NBA history (though by point differential they were not as bad as their record indicated).  They were very bad, let’s agree on that.

This offseason the team significantly upgraded its roster. So much so that based on the number of wins the current roster of players has posted in the past three seasons, along with each player’s likely allocation of playing time, I believe the Nets will improve by around 30 wins.  In fact, the team may even contend for a low seed playoff spot in the Eastern Conference (though the latter is unlikely).

How could such a bad team get so much better so quickly?  Below I list the reasons I think it will happen.

1. Simple roster turnover

When a team wins only 12 games in a season, it means court minutes were delegated to players who were not even average NBA bench quality players.  Meaning, there is a large pool of available players any one of whom could probably provide the team with more wins than the players they team previously employed.   That’s what happened to the Nets.  Simply by dumping a slew of players who performed abysmally last season (Yi, CDR, etc.) and replacing them with available talent, the team improved.  But the Nets restocked with better than “readily available talent”.  They generally acquired good players.

2. Adding Troy Murphy

Like Troy Murphy.  In the last three seasons with Indiana, Murphy’s win production has been average, elite level, and above average.  By replacing Yi Jianlian with Murphy, the team added around 6 to 7 wins.

3. Bounce back seasons for good players

Brook Lopez and Devin Harris are better than they played last season.  Each may have lost hope, and it may have reflected in their productivity and defensive intensity.  I would expect each to bounce back this season.

4. Terrence Williams breakout season

I think sophomore swingman Terrence Williams is ready to break  out with a very productive season.  Williams struggled hard in the first half of last season, but his MWS48 after the All-Star Break was +0.85.  I would expect him to continue with that and even improve upon it a bit.  Williams looks like he will be a strong player for years to come.

5. Middling players make .500% teams

These next few players I’m going to mention are no great shakes, but they are average or near average players who play a decent amount of minutes.  If you have enough of those players, and you mix in a few above average players, you have a pretty good team.  The middling players I refer to for the 2010-11 New Jersey Nets are SF/PF Travis Outlaw, PF Kris Humphries, rookie SF Damien James, PG Jordan Farmar, and SG Stephen Graham, and swingman Anthony Morrow.  Other than Humphries, all of the above players are new, and each should play somewhere near average basketball.  Together they form the bulwark of a 41-41 team, which is where I project the Nets.

6. Not this season for Favors

The 30 game improvement should be achieved without a significant win contribution from rookie PF Derrick Favors.  He has a chance to be good, but he’s young, and even Chris Bosh struggled in his first season and didn’t produce many wins.  I see the same for Favors.

2010-11 New Jersey Nets estimated Win Chart
Troy Murphy…6.9__2.2
Brook Lopez…6.1__4.5
Terrence Williams…5.6__2.7
Devin Harris…4.8__5.9
Anthony Morrow…4.0__3.5
Jordan Farmar…2.8__4.2
Derrick Favors…2.7__4.3
Kris Humphries…2.3__1.8
Travis Outlaw…2.0__2.8
Damien James…1.7__1.2
Stephen Graham…1.0__2.0
Quinton Ross…1.0__4.0
Johan Petro…0.2__1.0
Joe Smith…0.1__0.8
Projected Record: 41.2__40.8

9 Responses to “Great Leap Forward for the Nets??”

  1. Chicago Tim Says:

    And if they had traded for Carmelo, no doubt conventional wisdom would have credited Carmelo for the boost.

    • palamida Says:

      Had they done that, Tim, there wouldn’t have been such a boost :p
      Seriously though, whatever they would have improved to with Melo, much of the credit would certainly have found it’s way into Melo’s lap.

      P.S I totally second Ty’s prediction of a breakout season from T. Williams.
      His college numbers boded very well, and the latter half of the season does as well.
      Across his next season I don’t think we should expect a significant difference in production from the SF position when comparing him to Melo.
      Had the trade been made, his PT would have been limited, probably.

    • mosiplatt Says:

      Chicago Tim:

      Since Melo is more productive than Travis Outlaw (or any SF they employed last season – they were all below average), he would actually deserve some credit for the team’s improvement if he goes to NJ.

  2. Podcast « Nerd Numbers the Blog Says:

    […] 16:50 – Ty of the Courtside Analyst has a great Nets preview. […]

  3. palamida Says:

    Ty, did u catch tonight’s box score?
    Sure, it’s preseason but any data is better than no data :p
    The Nets (without Harris and Murphy) defeated the Sixers 103-96.
    Not very interesting…. what is interesting were the 23 mins Terrence Williams got:
    9-12 FG ; 2-2 FT ; 4 Reb; 8! Ast ; 1 Blk, 1 Pf and 2 To’s.
    The shape of things to come?

  4. palamida Says:

    Hmm, off topic (but I know you’ll never see this unless i put it here…)
    So, No Bogut Skiles started Brockman at center – That’s promising. (not Brockman at center per se, lol, but his place in the depth chart).
    Also Tiny never got up off the bench… With Gooden, LRBM, Sanders, Ersan, Brockman and Skinner – I don’t think we’ll get to find out just how productive he could have been.

    • tywill33 Says:

      Was Brockman playing center or Gooden? It was hard to tell from the box score. What would the opposite matchups have been? Noah and Gibson? Or was it Noah and Deng?

      That was interesting to see that he played Brockman. Of course he didn’t have a huge number of choices. You notice he didn’t choose Sanders. That goes along with the vibe I was picking up from his comments. I think he said something like “Sanders… we’ll see about him.” Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

      • palamida Says:

        I have no idea who played where, but like I said (and u concurred :p) the very fact that he played so many mins not to mention started – is good in itself.
        I just saw that Tiny Gallon was officially cut from the roster.
        As I suspected we’ll never find out the true value of that pick.
        Or perhaps we will if he gets a contract somewhere else but I kinda doubt he will. A shame, really – but what else is new with the NBA’s “leading” minds?

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