Roster Pruning?

Roster Pruning?

By: NBASCOUT / Special to

Amidst all the brouhaha about the Zimbabwe flap, and the squatters who won\’t relocate from the Barclay\’s arena footprint, there remains the question of how to manage the existing roster to improve upon it this offseason. In essence, who should stay on and who should look forward to new horizons?

Well, I think it\’s utterly obvious that you retain personnel of the caliber of C Brook Lopez and SF Terrence Williams. Their futures are very bright and they\’ve only scratched the surface of what they can accomplish. You build around players like these.*

After that we look at PG Devin Harris, SG Courtney Lee and SF Chris Douglas-Roberts. Devin is a supremely talented guard with incredible speed that can get to the rim at will and hit the outside shot. He can also orchestrate an offense to 67 victories when he wants and pile up the assists.

Because of his high-speed game and slender stature, Devin\’s durability can be fragile. You\’ll need to weather down-time with Devin depending on how a season goes. It means you need talented backup if your team doesn\’t want to suffer when he\’s out. PG Marcus Williams (now with MEM but soon to be a free agent) was a great backup when the two shared the same jerseys.

Further, Devin has to want to be on board with the team and on the same page. He has to want to be a Net. If he\’s not motivated to be on the team, perhaps its best to entertain offers that would do justice to letting a proven all-Star calliber player of his ilk go. I\’m sure a number of elite teams are interested in his services. The key is to make sure they offer a Kidd-like package to gain his services if it comes to that.

Finally, with regard to Devin Harris, it should be noted that he thrives under certain coaches better than others. Ironically, former-Mavericks Coach Avery Johnson knew how to limit his shortcomings and maximize his talents for the benefit of the team that translated into great success. Of course, Devin\’s personal statistics were nowhere as good as under Coach Lawrence Frank where he became recognized as an all-Star, but being a winner should be more important. Collective success is more important than individual success if they don\’t go exactly hand in hand. Right?

As for SG Courtney Lee, you need to say that he needs to work in the off season to improve overall and get stronger and more conditioned. He\’s a very good shooter when he\’s on and a willing defender. If he wants to remain and accept any role the team wants for him in the event the Nets sign a superstar at his position, I would keep him unless someone knocked my socks off with an incredible offer I couldn\’t refuse.

SF Chris Douglas-Roberts is a talented player. He plays well with Terrence and Courtney. He is definitely an asset. His situation is very much like Courtney Lee\’s. I would definitely pick up his option. I wouldn\’t pull a Hassan Adams with him. His contract is of value for trade purposes as well.

PF Yi Jianlian looks to be developing and has upside. He certainly is a marketing asset if that is at all important to new ownership. His lack of durability and consistency has been the downside. Still, he can become special if he hits the weights again with a view to also building forearm and wrist strength. Will he become the perennial, stud all-Star the Nets need at that position? With new ownership, the Nets may not be able to afford to wait. Someone will end up with the player that Kiki Vandeweghe envisions. Maybe the Nets. He stays if he wants to and the Nets don\’t need to turn his contract into cap space they need to sign a star.

PF Josh Boone is a good person … a good team player. He\’s a great role player. He\’s efficient. If he wants to stay and new management wants him, by all means. He could team up with Rudy Gay and Marcus Williams should they join the Nets and recreate the UConn championship team. There\’s debate, though, whether to pick up his option. That assumes the Nets don\’t need to turn his contract into cap space they need to sign a star or a great trade opportunity doesn\’t come along.

PF Kris Humphries was always an underrated player that has shown what he can do when given the chance. He\’s a great energy player off the bench and can score and rebound. Still, he may opt out of his contract. If so, the Nets would have more cap space to sign a star.

As for the rest of the roster. They can stay or go depending upon whether they add something to the team relative to the cost for their services. With the many draft picks, trade opportunities and free agents out there, I would suspect that many, if not all, will have played their last game for the Nets.

NBASCOUT is an independent freelance sportswriter that covers the NBA and the New Jersey Nets. He is not affiliated with the National Basketball Association. Copyright 2010 by NBASCOUT, all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the express written consent of the author. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and not necessarily this website. You may e-mail NBASCOUT in care-of his wife, who writes for children, at

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