Tuesday, May 21 2024

After a 32-50 regular season, it’s time to take a look at the 2023-24 Nets and hand out grades for individual players, coaches and the team as a whole…

Dennis Schroder: B-

Arriving in a trade deadline deal for Spencer Dinwiddie, Schroder was somewhat effective as Brooklyn’s starting point guard the last two months of the season. He is best suited in a role as a quality backup.

Cam Thomas: B+

The third-year guard more than doubled his scoring average (22.6 points) and had four 40-point games. He was more efficient despite taking on a larger role. To take the next step, Thomas has to improve as a playmaker and on defense to justify being in a primary role.

Mikal Bridges: C-

Brooklyn’s hopes of a playoff run lied with Bridges building off of last season’s great finish. That didn’t happen as his scoring numbers and efficiency plummeted. It’s clear after this campaign that Bridges is better suited as a second or third option on a good team.

Dorian Finney-Smith: C+

As a 3-and-D player, Finney-Smith’s success is connected to who he plays with. While with the Dallas Mavericks, the forward played often in a five-out system with one of the best passers in Luka Doncic. Brooklyn’s lack of playmaking impacted his effectiveness.

Nic Claxton: B

Claxton was solid as a center, averaging a double-double and finishing top-10 in blocks. He’s still somewhat limited on the offensive end as an outside shooter and ball-handler. Claxton’s unrestricted free agency is Brooklyn’s largest offseason question.

Cameron Johnson: C

Like Bridges, the Nets needed Johnson to step up. After signing a four-year, $94.5 million deal, the 28-year-old had a so-so season. He also missed 24 games due to injury.

Dennis Smith Jr.: B

In his seventh season, Smith has solidified himself as a disruptive defender. Brooklyn gave up nearly six points per 100 possessions fewer when he was on the floor versus when he was not. The only thing in Smith’s way is the lack of a consistent jump shot.

Lonnie Walker IV: B

One of the few Nets capable of attacking downhill, Walker was a solid scoring option off the bench this season. The 6-foot-4 guard will be an unrestricted free agent.

Jan 29, 2024; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Lonnie Walker IV (8) greets guard Ben Simmons (10) during a timeout in the third quarter against the Utah Jazz at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY SportsJan 29, 2024; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Lonnie Walker IV (8) greets guard Ben Simmons (10) during a timeout in the third quarter against the Utah Jazz at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Day’Ron Sharpe: B+

A bright spot in Brooklyn’s disappointing season was the improvement of Sharpe. The backup center continued to dominate on the offensive glass. Sharpe also had the best net rating (plus 4.8 points per 100 possessions) of any player in the rotation.

Ben Simmons: INC

Limited to 15 games, Simmons missed most of the season due to a lower back injury that required surgery. He’s played just 57 games in the past three seasons. When he did play, Simmons continued to lack aggression on the court, leading to career-lows in field goal attempts per minute and free-throw attempt rate.

Trendon Watford: B

A late free agency pickup, Watford made the team out of training camp. He adds versatility with his ability to put the ball on the floor and create, but defense remains a question.

Noah Clowney and Dariq Whitehead: N/A

The two Nets first-round picks played just a combined 27 games this season. Whitehead played only two games before an injury cut his season short.

With Brooklyn accumulating 50 losses, one wonders if Clowney should’ve seen more playing time. He came on at the tail end of the season, knocking down eight three-pointers and averaging 13.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in the final six games.

Jalen Wilson: B

The 2023 second-round pick began the year on a two-way contract but eventually signed a three-year contract during the middle of his rookie year. Wilson flashed potential as a two-way contributor on the wing.

Keita Bates-Diop: INC

Acquired from the Phoenix Suns in the Royce O’Neale trade, Bates-Diop played just 14 games and 4.9 minutes a game with Brooklyn.

Kevin Ollie: B-

An assistant coach to start the season, Ollie went 11-17 as interim head coach. The former NBA point guard gave young players like Clowney and Wilson opportunities to play and embraced Thomas as a primary scorer. However, Brooklyn has its eyes elsewhere, having three coaching candidates in the running for the position, according to The Athletic.

Entire Team: C-

The Nets are stuck in no man’s land with some quality veterans but a lack of top shelf talent. The team had hopes of competing for a playoff spot, but a lack of playmaking contributed to a 22nd-ranked offense. The defense wasn’t much better as the team had its first 50-loss season since the 2017-18 campaign.

Source: Yahoo Sports

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