New Jersey Nets 2008-09 Fantasy Preview

All previews follow the same format. I’ll be going in depth only on the players worth owning in a standard 12-team league, followed by players who you might consider as injury handcuffs/deep sleepers. As always, it starts with the most valuable player on the team:

Will Vince Carter carry a poor team or sulk his way to a mediocre season? Even Vince doesn't know!

Will VC carry a poor team or sulk his way to a mediocre season? Even he doesn't know!

 

Vince Carter (SG)

Hurts: Points, FT%, 3-pointers, Assists, Steals

Hurts: FT%

There is perhaps more trepidation about drafting Carter this season than any other player in the NBA. Normally, a super-talented player on a team full of turds is highly desirable (see Gay, Rudy), but the last time Carter was on a crappy team it didn’t work out so well.

Carter has always been at his best when playing for a contender (or at least a division contender) and the Nets will be lucky to win 25 games the season. Seriously.

So the big question is, will Carter pour his heart and soul into the season knowing New Jersey can’t possibly win without him giving a superhuman performance? Or will he sulk and give a half-assed effort and pout his way through an awful season?

The safest guess is a little of both.

Lets face it, Carter knows this team sucks. But he also knows they sucked last year and didn’t miss the playoffs by much. So expect him to come out of the gates like a ball of fire, posting a line similar to 23 points, four assists, six rebounds and more than a steal and a 3-pointer per game with a great FT%.

Then…..trade him.

A bunch of teams in the Eastern Conference got better in the offseason while the Nets got worse. As soon as the season shifts into hopeless mode around January, Carter could drag your entire fantasy team down with his uninspired play. He might be the only player in the league – or at least the highest player drafted – that can immediately be considered trade bait.

When to take him: In the third round.

Devin Harris (PG)

Helps: Assists, Steals, 3-pointers, FT%

Hurts: TOs, FG%

After four seasons in the NBA, Harris has never played more than 32 minutes per game, but logged an average of 33.6 minutes in 25 games with the Nets last season. And that was including games he played as he worked his way back from an ankle injury.

This is the season Harris begins to log major minutes and he has averaged 16.6 points, seven assists, 1.5 steals and 1.3 3-pointers per 36 minutes with New Jersey while shooting .829 from the line. Those numbers should be attainable and his scoring might rise slightly without a black hole like Richard Jefferson hogging the ball.

Of course, the increased minutes will come at a price. Harris’ FG% could be worse than the .438 he sported with the Nets last season and he will commit around three turnovers per game. Don’t by fooled by his career .467 FG% – most of that came while he was with the Mavs and only attempted layups and wide-open jumpers. With the Nets he will have to create his own scoring chance much more and his shot selection will suffer.

When to take him: In the late fourth or early fifth round.

In the last Daily Roundup it was noted that Nets coach Lawrence Frank is considering a 10-man rotation and that could wreak havoc with the remainder of the Nets’ fantasy values. Here’s a breakdown:

Josh Boone (C/PF): An excellent rebounder but inept scorer, Boone has the next highest value on the Nets. He has averaged more than 10 rebounds per 36 minutes in his short career and will likely play 30 minutes per game. Boone is only one of four players left from last season’s team, which certainly helps because the coaches know him and he knows the plays.

Boone will be a decent source of rebounds and blocks and his high FG% (.548 last season) is bound to help even though he doesn’t take many shots. He is a pathetic free-throw shooter (.484 career) and that is a big drawback because he actually does get to the line enough to make it hurt; mainly because most teams foul him in close games.

While Boone is not guaranteed draftee in a standard 12-round draft, he is certainly worth looking at as the draft nears its end.

Sean Williams (C/PF): A shot-blocking machine due to his freakish athleticism, Williams averaged three blocks per 36 minutes last season. Unfortunately his low basketball IQ for defensive rotations/offensive movement and constant foul trouble limited his time.

The Nets, as a crappy team, should play an athletically gifted player like Williams as much as possible and hope he develops into a double-double threat. But what they actually will do is a mystery. As a result, Williams should go undrafted in most standard leagues but his upside for blocks and rebounds is intriguing.

Consider that if he plays 30 minutes per game, 10 points, eight rebounds and 2.5 blocks with a high FG% is very possible.

Yi Jianlian (PF) : The “jewel” of the Richard Jefferson trade, New Jersey is apparently high on Yi and his ability to develop into a strong NBA player. It is hard to be enthused, though, especially for this season.

Yi did show a modest ability last season for rebounds and blocks and he is a good free-throw shooter (side note: not to offend, but just like math, it seems like all Asian players are good free-throw shooters). But his offensive skills are otherwise terrible as he shot just .421 from the floor (while attempting only 21 3-pointers).

There is a chance that with enough minutes he could post a line similar to 12 points, eight rebounds, one block, one steal and an .800 FT%. But it’s a long shot and at that whole 10-man rotation thing doesn’t make it likely. Don’t draft him, but put him on your watch list.

Brooke Lopez (C) : The Nets startling amount of frontcourt depth makes it difficult to predict Lopez’s output. He is probably already New Jersey’s best offensive big man. But Frank has shown little patience with rookies in the past and prefers the Nets play a defensive-style, which might not suit Lopez’s abilities.

Lopez shouldn’t be drafted either, except in deep leagues, but keep an eye on his development and the way the Nets utilize him.

Bobby Simmons (SF) : As Jefferson’s replacement, Simmons may have marginal value providing double-digit points and some 3-pointers, but his days of fantasy relevance is long gone. He’s a better bet to have a more productive season that Yi or Lopez but the upside just isn’t there. At the very most you’re getting maybe 12 points and 1.5 3-pointers per game. There are many better options to be had.

Be sure to check your league rules for specific position eligibility rules.

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2 Comments

Filed under Draft Strategy, Season Preview, Team Preview

2 responses to “New Jersey Nets 2008-09 Fantasy Preview

  1. Nick (Iowa)

    If I can get, let’s say, a Joe Johnson for Vince Carter- is that good enough or should I wait to see how he performs during the season?

  2. fantasyaddict

    Nick, that totally depends on the format of the league, etc. but that’s a trade I would make. I have Carter pegged as late-second/early third-rounder in roto leagues and Johnson as a late third-rounder.

    But, I’m more confident in Johnson’s ability to provide that value for the duration of the season.

    However, I’ve drafted Carter with an early fourth round pick in a nine-cat roto league and I’m sticking with him for a bit. The East is so bad at the back end that the Nets might just stay on the fringe of the playoff picture for a while.

    Personally, I’m hoping he starts out on fire and then I can deal for a second round caliber player like Chris Bosh or Iguodala.

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