#6 Trading Jeremy Lin
Jeremy Lin was flipped to the Atlanta Hawks amongst a number of second-round draft pick exchanges and the rights to Isaia Cordinier who currently plays his ball in France. It’s unlikely that Cordinier ever plays for Brooklyn. This deal was not so much about what Brooklyn gets back as it was about what they were giving up.
It’s becoming a common thread to this piece, but this move frees up playing time for the young guards, specifically Russell and Dinwiddie. Lin is a legitimate NBA player, when healthy, and he would certainly eat into the minutes intended for Russell and Dinwiddie. Both players are free agents in 2019—Russell a restricted free agent, while Dinwiddie is of the unrestricted variety.
It would behoove the Nets not to feature both of these players heavily in their rotations. They must see what they have before they know what they’re plan is for each player in the long-term.
Of course, Brooklyn supplemented the backcourt with the additions of Graham and Napier, but neither player is on Jeremy Lin’s level. Trading the veteran guard ultimately hands the reins over to the combination of Russell and Dinwiddie. It may make the Nets a slightly worse team in the short run, but it was a necessary move in the long-term.
#5 Drafting Dzanan Musa and Rodions Kurucs
This was one of the more difficult placements on this list. It’s unclear how much either of the draft picks will play this season. They are both incredibly young with Dzanan Musa checking in at 19-years of age and Rodions Kurucs slightly his senior as a 20-year-old. Musa is a scorer on the wing while the 6-foot-10 Kurucs is a gifted shooter as well.
Both must bulk up and improve their defense if they want to survive in the NBA, but these picks were about upside and the future, not the 2018-19 season. Their roles are yet to be defined and Sean Marks spoke during the European pair’s introductory press conference about his hesitancy to pigeonhole them into a certain position or role.
“I would hate to pigeonhole any of these guys into, ‘You’re a two-guard, you’re a three-guard, you’re a four.’ It goes back to how they develop, what their development plan is here,” said Marks. “Young guys coming into the league, there’s some stepping stones that they’ve got to go through. It would be far too early for me or anybody to decide this is the role or this is the position that they have to play. Let’s see how it pans out. But they do have a skill set – length, body size, IQ, all those intangibles.”
This “move” falls in the middle of this list because we still have no idea how either of these guys will pan out in the NBA. Of course, Nets fans would love to assume that Marks and the scouting department did their homework and nabbed two steals, but that’s just not the way the draft works. It’s a crapshoot. Sometimes you get Jarrett Allen with a late steal. Other times you whiff by drafting Chris McCullough. Regardless, this is more of a “wait and see” move more than anything else.