Versatility is important and it is possible that Kilpatrick could be the odd man out. He struggled in preseason (35.7 percent shooting and 31.2 percent from three while Harris was terrific. Harris also got more playing time (19.7) minutes per game compared to Kilpatrick (17.8), which was certainly a surprise that nobody saw coming. If Bogdanovic does come off the bench to start the regular season, he could provide a spark off the bench with his shooting. Coming off his very good Olympic performance, he did well in preseason as he shot 48.6 percent from the field and 47.6 percent from three. He is the best shooter on the team, and he needs to be more consistent in his third season.
I would feel better about the bench if Greivis Vasquez was back to his form from his injury, but he had a real rough preseason as he shot only 25 percent from the field and 15.4 percent from three. He did show some improvement towards the end of preseason, but Lin may have to play more minutes in the regular season than anticipated if Vasquez struggles. The Nets front office and coaching staff had expectations for Isaiah Whitehead as a rotational player at PG this season, but he clearly looked to be overmatched against NBA talent. He made the roster for the regular season and Yogi Farrell was waived instead, as he will be playing in the D-League. It was previously reported that Whitehead will also be spending time in the D-League this season.
A player whose game I always respected as a good and smart basketball player is Luis Scola. He has a high basketball IQ, which is easy to see, and he is like a wise coach on the court. Scola has made numerous nice passes to cutters in preseason as well as take charges on defense, although he is not known as a good defender. Offensively, he could score points in the paint and he hit 40.4 percent of his three-pointers for the Toronto Raptors last season. He is a stretch-four, and he will be a stabilizing influence off the bench who will show the young players how to win. Although he is physically limited, he has had a solid career in the NBA, as well for his home country Argentina.
Whether it is the starters or the bench, expect the Nets to hoist up a lot of three-point shots, and the team took over thirty three-pointers per game in preseason. As long as the ball movement provides open looks on a consistent basis, it is a good shot, but it remains to be seen if the Nets have the shooters to make it work. Good three-point shooting can cover up deficiencies with the team, but if you live by the three, then you could also die by the three. Teams tend to be streaky with three-point shooting, so this is where Lin’s ability to score driving to the basket and Brook’s scoring inside will make a big difference.
The defense is certainly a bigger concern than the offense, but a positive is that the best defensive players in the starting lineup played limited minutes together in the preseason. For example, Lin averaged 23.3 minutes, RHJ played 21.6, and Booker 21.5. I expect all three players to receive considerably more playing time in the regular season. I knew how good both Lin and RHJ are on defense, but I was pleased with the hustle, effort, and rebounding that Booker displayed in the preseason. He averaged 6.8 rebounds in 21.5 minutes and he was also aggressive in crashing the offensive boards. Lopez needs a tough PF next to him, and Booker looks like the man for the job.