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The Nets’ season (and their pick) depends on Brook Lopez

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#NetsPick watch

Charlotte Hornets v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

In case you have been living under a rock the last few years, you know that the Celtics have the right to swap picks with the Nets this coming summer (2017) and own their pick outright next year (2018) too. In fact, even if you were living under a rock, you wouldn’t have an excuse. We’ve been talking about it non-stop for years.

We have already cashed in once by adding Jaylen Brown this offseason. Another pick was used on James Young and that hasn’t exactly panned out yet, but it was only the 17th pick. What remains to be seen is how high the picks will be in the next 2 years, which of course depends on how low the Nets sink.

With the preseason game against the Nets scheduled for tonight, it seems like a good idea to look at the Nets’ chances. Most signs point to them being really bad. However, there are some scenarios where the team is almost-kinda-sorta-not-that-bad.

Adding Jeremy Lin helps because he gives them solid point guard play, but the single biggest factor for this season is what kind of year Brook Lopez has.

via Nets Daily

If the Nets are going to be anything close to respectable this season, they’re going to need Lopez to have the best season of his career. His teammates know the deal and they’re gonna feed him the ball early and often. As the role of big men in the league continues to change, having a player like Lopez that is a great scorer in the post and as the roll man in pick and rolls will open things up on offense for his teammates. Lopez is also a better than average rim protector and can thwart off guards that drive to the basket.

Lopez is a very good player that can score points in bunches and might just put his team in position to win a few games. Of course, he’s also an injury waiting to happen and even at full speed he’s not exactly versatile.

He also represents one of the few tradable assets left on the roster. Personally I don’t think he fits their timeline very well so I think they should (and will) at least research his trade value around the league.

Tom Ziller pondered this same question for SBNation:

This is a fun question to consider. First, he's not that old (28) and he's pretty good. You want to trade him when demand is at its highest (in other words, when competitive teams panic) but you also need to move him before the foot issue returns, unless you're willing to risk keeping him for the duration of his contract.

Most GMs would spin him off for draft picks near the deadline. I think that's the play here, too. It gives fans something to look forward to and lets his value grow early this season (in theory). But I can also see the value in riding it out. Unlike other teams weighing rebuild-related trade decisions, there's no incentive to tank out. Patience might be a virtue here.

The Nets are going to have a hard time getting “fair value” for Lopez. There just isn’t a high demand for one dimensional, low post scorers these days. Even if there was, there’s a glut of those guys on the market, including Jahlil Okafor and Greg Monroe.

While it is true that they have zero incentive to tank, they also have little incentive to invest time in veterans that aren’t going to be part of the core in the future. He provides them with a solid veteran and he gives the younger players someone to look up to, but if they can get any kind of draft asset for him he’ll be gone before you can say “another season ending injury.”

The Nets are going to be pretty bad this year. Just how bad depends on the shaky foundation of Brook Lopez and Jeremy Lin. That’s bad news for the Nets but good news for the #NetsPick owed to the Celtics.