To say that the Brooklyn Nets have had a lousy offseason would be selling them short.
The Nets lost 40 percent of their starting unit. They do have a few answers, albeit unstable ones. Brook Lopez is slated to return from a broken right foot, but he has missed the better part of two of the last three seasons with the same injury. His most recent surgery included foot reconstruction in an attempt to alleviate the press causing the stress fractures.
The Nets’ best kept secret is Croatian swingman Bojan Bogdanovic. The Nets acquired the sharpshooter in a 2011 Draft-night trade, but the 31st overall pick continued continued his European career.
That is until now.
“He's another versatile player,” new head coach Lionel Hollins said. “He's a 2-3, a 3-2 basically and he can shoot the ball and he can put the ball on the floor. And the more shooters you have, the better. The more versatility, the more playmakers you have, the better your team can be.”
The Nets are hoping that Bogdanovic can give them the lift lost when Pierce left for Washington. Translating a solid European career over to the NBA is a slippery slope at best. For every Manu Ginobili, there are 10 Zoran Planinics or Nikoloz Tskitishvilis.
Bogdanovic, who played for Fenerbahce Ulker last season, is still just 25. He inked the mini mid-level exception worth $10 million over three seasons. The deal came on the heels of averaging 14.8 ppg in the Euroleague last season.
But for a virtual unknown, the Nets are pulling out all the stops. After a tour of the Barclays Center Friday, Bogdanovic will be introduced to the media Monday at East Rutherford’s PNY Center. Jarrett Jack and the Nets’ draftees were introduced via conference call.
The Nets are picking their only angle, because if Bogdanovic does not pay off, they will probably not be very good. The Eastern Conference improved by leaps and bounds as the Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls, and Pierce’s Wizards all made additions. While Kevin Garnett and Alan Anderson are solid, they are not going to vault the Nets over the top. They need Bogdanvic to hit.
They also need their stars to stay healthy.