With the lockout likely to linger well into October and perhaps into November, trying to preview the season of 30 teams that might not actually have one seems about as worthwhile as raking leaves on a windy day. But I love raking and the wind only makes it last longer. We here at Razzball have you covered, even if you didn’t want to be covered. That’s love. You’ll appreciate it when you’re older. Look at it this way, the only way any of this stuff can be disproven is if the season starts. So go ahead, NBA, make me a fibber! I dare you. Until then, consider this fantasy basketball gospel. Don’t even bother reading anything else – dem’s all lies. From now until the start of the season, we’re bringing you the 2011 Fantasy Team Previews, which will focus on each team in order to paint a clearer fantasy picture. Who’s starting? Who might surprise you? And who might make you want to hurl yourself off a bridge in a few months. Enjoy! Next up – The New Jersey Nets (Don’t! Sleep! Til Brooklyyyn!)
Gained – Marshon Brooks, Jordan Williams
Lost – Sasha Vujacic, Brandan Wright (probably), Dan Gadzuric (probably), Mario West (tutti Marios finire in Italia)
Probable position depth –
PG – Deron Williams, Jordan Farmar, Sundiata Gaines, Orien Greene
SG – Anthony Morrow, Marshon Brooks, Stephen Graham, Ben Uzoh
SF – Damion James, Travis Outlaw
PF – Kris Humphries,
C – Brook Lopez, Jordan Williams, Johan Petro
Surprising Team Fact From Last Season – The Nets were tied for the most minutes played last season (20,005), having played 13 overtime periods throughout 2010-11. How much would you have paid to have seen Brook Lopez drop that little nugget as the reason the Nets had performed poorly again last season to the circle of reporters in the locker room after the final game of the season? The 10 seconds of stunned silence from no one knowing what to say would have made the 55 Travis Outlaw starts totally worth it.
Number of Top 20 Fantasy Players (par 0-1) – 1, Williams
Number of Top 50 Fantasy Players (par 1-2) – 2, Lopez
Number of Top 75 Fantasy Players (par 2-3) – 3, Humphries
Number of Top 100 Fantasy Players (par 3-4) – 0
Number of Top 200 Fantasy Players (par 6-7) – 5, Morrow, Farmar
3 Concerns Heading Into the Season
1. Is there anyone on this bench I should be paying attention to?
This is a very black and white question, so you’ll excuse me as I answer “maybe” and blow your minds with a dash of gray. Your world was just opened. Spoon! Fork! Spork. Duck! Beaver! Platypus. Bowie! Thin Lizzy! T-Rex. D-Will! Uzoh! Marshon Brooks. The word on this year’s 25th overall pick is that he can shoot and score points in droves but can’t do anything else. You always have to acknowledge a pure scorer in fantasy basketball, but the problem here is that fantasy owners are still doing the same thing with the guy likely to start ahead of Brooks, Anthony Morrow; and I ain’t all that hot on Morrow either (for more on this, move your eyes down about 1/4 of an inch).
2. Describe to me a situation in which Anthony Morrow would be a wise pick before Round 10?
Oh, hey there. I’m glad you made it from 1/4 inch ago. Did you drive or take a cab? What were we talking about? Anthony Morrow? Right. He’s supposed to be one of the five purest shooters currently shooting. The problem is, he’s missed an average of 17 games in each of his first three seasons in the league, which means he’s rarely “currently shooting.” For argument’s sake, let’s say years 1-3 were a fluke and he plays in every game this season (which might ironically still amount to only 65 games), the team’s weird fluctuations last season and his lack of real rhythm on both the Nets and Warriors seem to have stunted his development in most facets of his game. Plus, he’s a free agent and if he goes elsewhere, what are the odds he’ll be on a team as shallow as this one? On the flip side (or flipcide, if you kill someone with your middle finger) Morrow has a real shot at playing 34+ minutes on this team no matter how little he earns it. Even if Brooks is better than advertised, New Jersey is so thin at SF, it’s more than possibly Bone Morrow will slide on over to the swing and play Brooks at SG. I’d target Morrow somewhere between picks 95-115 if he remains a Net, if for no other reason than because the odds of him missing another 17 games and playing fewer than 30 mpgs are probably less than even.
3. When we last saw Kris Humphries, he was averaging 14/15/2 in March – should I take him with my second pick or third?
Question 1: Was last year a contract year for the Hump? Question 2: Can his special lady friend who shall not be named easily, breezily spend his 2010-11 salary in one afternoon at Nordstrom? (<– my girlfriend says Fred Segal or Neiman Marcus would have been more appropriate here. I acted like I didn’t hear her and waited until she left the room to type this.) Question 3: Did Humphries think about getting paid in the offseason during every single game between December and April? If you answered no to any of these questions, start from the beginning and do things differently.
Fantasy Disappointment in ’11 – Kris Humphries. Seriously, you guys.
Biggest Fantasy Contributor in ’11 – Deron Williams. I took Morrow to task for having an injured past, Williams isn’t much better. He’s missed an average of 12 games in each of his last three seasons and the wrist injury that nagged his entire tenure as a Net up until this point was a backhander to the jowls of everyone who owned him at the end of last season. But – and this is a big enough butt that Kris Humphries would feel comfortable playing with it in the ocean – D-Will’s non-shooting stats went up across the board (+0.7 rbd/+3.1 ast/+0.1 stl/+0.1 blk in the same number of mpgs he played on the Jazz last year). Not only that, he clearly had an effect on Brook Lopez and perhaps he’ll propel guys like Morrow and Outlaw.
Deep Sleeper – Marshon Brooks. I’m 75 percent sure some combination of Morrow and Brooks are going to be fantasy relevant in 2011. If I had to break that completely arbitrary number down a bit further, I’d give 50 percent assuredness to Morrow and the other 25 to Brooks. Not great for either of them, but not terrible if you fall into owning both of them.