The new culprit is Kyle Lowry.
With the Toronto Raptors interested in sliding recently acquired Greivis Vasquez into the starting lineup, Lowry appears headed out of town. The New York Knicks and Golden State Warriors join the Nets as likely landing spots for the solid but unspectacular point guard.
The Nets must do themselves a favor in this scenario and walk away. Nothing to see here. While Lowry provides a more than capable starting point guard if Deron Williams’ ankles act up, the price tag fails to meet the return.
According to Yahoo! Sports insider Adrian Wojnarowski, Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri wants either a first-round pick or promising European prospect Bojan Bogdanovic.
Although Billy King might not see 2020 as the Nets general manager, he cannot continue to mortgage the team’s future in this “win now at all costs” mentality.
The question is: Does Lowry make this team any more of a title contender with his presence?
The easy answer is no.
If the Nets can turn this ship around, they’ll accomplish that feat with Deron Williams summoning his inner Oscar Robertson and reverting back to his Utah days.
He did that Thursday night at the Barclays Center against the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Nets dominated the Clippers for the majority of the game, winning handily, 102-93. Williams outplayed Chris Paul, who managed just two assists, and the Nets held the Clippers offense to 37.1 percent shooting from the field.
“Deron’s play is just dictating how we’re coming out and starting games,” power forward Kevin Garnett said. “He’s pushing the pace, he’s directing, he’s leading, he’s being Deron Williams. And I feel like that’s the difference.”
If Williams gets hurt, though, Lowry will not lead this group to a championship. Neither will any guard on the Nets roster. Williams is that important to this team.
“We’ve been playing well ever since D-Will’s come back,” Paul Pierce said. “Like I said before, he’s the head of the snake that drives this engine. We’re a whole different team, just offensively and defensively, with him out there.”
The Nets caught an early scare with Williams’ oft-injured ankles when he hit the deck in the first quarter. While fighting through a Blake Griffin screen, Williams tripped and stumbled to the floor. Although he did not re-aggravate his ankle injury, the fear always exists with his history.
With that a foregone conclusion, don’t abandon the future for a piece that won’t complete the puzzle. Lowry currently has one year left on his deal, so paying a steep price for Bogdanovic or a first-rounder when the Nets might dwell anywhere in the league come 2020 makes no sense. See Gerald Wallace.
The Nets’ short-sighted nature caused them to trade the pick that turned into Damian Lillard, the subsequent rookie of the year, for 14 games with Gerald Wallace.
If the Nets remain healthy, the same could hold true for Lowry.
There must be a reason why every team Lowry plays for looks to move him. Tony Parker and Chris Paul don’t receive the same treatment for a reason.
Lowry fell out of favor with the Houston Rockets and then experienced the same scenario in Toronto. He is what he is, a solid point guard with the ability to take over the rare game.
Lowry currently averages 14.6 ppg and 6.7 apg.
Waiting until the trade deadline when teams slash prices like Crazy Eddie seems like the next plausible opportunity to pick up a point guard. Unfortunately for the Nets, their lack of draft picks will hinder any potential movement this year and beyond.
So unless King plans on trading away picks in the year 2025, the Nets will roll with this collection of talent.
Based on the Nets’ performances over the last two games, a healthy unit can play with anyone. A banged and bruised team, however, can lose to anyone on any given night.
The Nets trotted out a healthy squad Thursday night.
They jumped all over the Clippers midway through the first quarter and never looked back. Blake Griffin managed just two field goals and no other Clipper mustered anything else offensively.
Garnett credited Jason Kidd’s defense.
“We changed the schemes from what it used to be at the start of the season to what it is now,” Garnett said. “It’s been done with a better effort and we’re talking a lot... He just has us talking a lot, just communicating... And we’re trusting it.”
The Nets face a quick turnaround Friday night in Detroit against the Pistons. The Nets win moved them to 8-14 on the season.