Welcome back friends to the third annual installment of my NBA League Pass Rankings. For those new to the process, forget power rankings. Forget Vegas Over-Unders and salary cap gymnastics. Here at Knicks at Night we dive into the teams one by one to answer one simple question. If you’re shelling out the money for a League Pass subscription, which of these teams are worth that top 5 night-in, night-out slot and which of these guys are absolute, unwatchable garbage people?
Not even Jeremy Lin’s cornrows could make this Brooklyn team worth watching.
I can’t say I watched a single minute of Brooklyn basketball last year that didn’t feature my own New York squad. Andrea Bargnani’s Nets-Best night where he scored eight points on 3-7 shooting? Musta skipped that one. That almost Warriors upset where Brook Lopez missed a bunny tip-in that could’ve beat the champs at the buzzer? Maybe I was out that night. And now, with a 21 win team leveraging their second best (and only other NBA caliber) player in Thaddeus Young for a first round pick, I can’t imagine much changing about the league’s most miserable franchise.
In a lot of ways this was a terrible summer to be a bad team with cap space. With the entire league swimming in cash the Nets had no choice but to throw out fat offer sheets to unproven restricted free agents, hoping that a massive overpay might be enough to pry them away. Like many of the best-laid plans of the Brooklyn era this fell through quickly and quietly. There’s just too much of a premium in the league right now on younger, untapped potential; Miami and Portland were quick to match on Tyler Johnson and Allen Crabbe and the Nets were forced to go to a Plan B and bring in a bunch of older, cheaper options.
Seriously, it is a wholly uninspiring group when Cornrows up there is the best, highest upside player (not to mention the only option out of SIX new signees to have a chance to consistently start games). Greivis Vasquez, Luis Scola, Randy Foye, Thomas Robinson, Trevor Booker, and an outside flyer on Anthony Bennett? I could write Who Cares, Who Cares, Who Cares, but then again… Who Cares?
It’s worth noting that the Nets do have a couple of young prospects, trading players for first-rounders in each of the last two drafts. Last year’s pick, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson could project to a kind of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist level of elite defender/offensive liability, while this year’s pick, Caris LeVert, could show that he can be a healthy player after suffering multiple injuries at Michigan to his lower leg and foot. Maybe Bojan Bogdanovich will come back inspired after a strong Olympics performance for Croatia? Or late-season stand-outs (desperately scanning the barren roster) Sean Kilpatrick or Chris McCullough build on a gym rat offseason to light the league on fire?
Ugggghhh, I’m done trying. This is going to be the first year in a while where a new team takes that Philadelphia crown of Eastern Conference Morlocks and crashes down to Earth with the worst record in the league. Maybe I’ll check back in on these guys if they manage to get anything for Brook Lopez at the trade deadline.
Last year’s grade: 30 (-)