After spending 225 million dollars resigning starters Deron Williams, Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries and Brook Lopez and trading for Joe Johnson and his almost 90 million dollar contract, the Brooklyn Nets had a busy off-season, spending over 300 million dollars on their starting lineup. Well there was little doubt that they had an excellent starting lineup and were a surefire playoff team, but what about their bench? Well, with basically nothing to work with except minimum salary contracts, the Nets have actually built a great bench and have created one of the best rosters in the NBA. How did they do it? Luck? Nope, it was intelligence.
They were somehow able to grab CJ Watson for less than a million dollars a year, who is one of the better backup point guards in the NBA and instant offense off the bench. They added ultimate role player, Keith Bogans, who defends, is efficient and hits open shots for 850,000. They added walking corpse, Jerry Stackhouse for the same price, who has brought stability off the bench and knows his role. Suns outcast Josh Childress has also given them production, playing solid two-way ball in limited minutes for under a million dollars. They did break the bank a bit for international star, Mirza Teletovic for 3 million a year, who has been productive when he plays. However the two greatest bench moves have been the signing of power forwards, Reggie Evans and Andre Blatche for less than 2.5 million combined. Reggie Evans has been one of the best backups in the entire league this year, averaging over 8 rebounds per game in less than 20 minutes, creating extra possessions and giving the team constant energy. They have also revived Blatche’s career, who nobody wanted, yet he has given them fantastic offense off the bench and has been on his best behavior. Talent was never Blatche’s problem, it was ball-hogging tendencies, laziness and behavior issues, but he has been great as a sixth man. Add in second year scoring savant, MarShon Brooks and promising rookie Tyshawn Taylor, who can score, defend and distribute and that is about 10 million dollars for a second unit that has given them around 40 points and 20 rebounds per game. The production they have received for their small investments is astounding.
Billy King has done a brilliant job, creating a great starting lineup and a fantastic core centered around Williams, Johnson and Lopez. So despite overpaying for his starting lineup, the great bargains coming off the bench have made them one of the deepest teams in the NBA. Billy King cannot be given enough credit, because what he has done is amazing.