Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks pulled off a trade which should’ve been completed last summer but Phoenix management had a strong hold on lottery picks Cam Johnson and Mikal Bridges who seemed like they were headed towards becoming role players at the NBA level; yet Phoenix maintained faith that Bridges and Johnson would develop into at least super role players alongside Paul and Booker; which would’ve ultimately helped open up their offense and make them much more lethal this season; as the Bucks and Mavericks figured out how to beat the Suns by simply making someone not named Paul or Booker make them pay and it ended up working to a tea. Mikal Bridges stepped up in both Paul and Booker’s absence this season and practically kept the Suns afloat and who knows what the Suns could’ve accomplished with Bridges flourishing in the on ball role Suns head coach Monty Williams delegated to him this season, but it’s too late now as Mikal’s leash got even bigger now in Brooklyn where he really has no choice but to become the dynamic scorer he has been so far as a Brooklyn Net.
Cam Johnson? Some feel he could also find himself in Brooklyn but my gut tells me he won’t become the star he has the potential to become. Why? Well, he is already 27 years old and although he has the wingspan,size,respectable handle,and a jumper you could pay to watch all day I just don’t believe he has the mentality to become a star alongside Mikal Bridges. So the question begs to differ, what is Sean Marks exactly building in Brooklyn? What’s to make of Ben Simmons who at this stage of his career has become a lost cause with new head coach Jacque Vaughn not knowing what role to even give him in the Nets lineup whether it’s starting or coming off the bench. Young center Nicolas Claxton has enjoyed a breakout season so he’s worth keeping around at least another year or 2 but beyond Johnson,Bridges,Simmons,and Claxton the Nets’ roster isn’t even worth mentioning. And yes I am aware Spencer Dinwiddie is on the roster he’s just not a guard who is going to move the needle in Brooklyn considering the question marks around Cam Johnson and even though he is looking like a star for years to come in Brooklyn,Mikal Bridges.
I mean if Ben Simmons can get back to being the player he was 3-4 years Sean Marks’s vision for the team would be much clearer but Simmons could be gone this very summer with the way things are lining up at the very moment. The Brooklyn Nets will indeed make the playoffs but a big reason why is because Kevin Durant was carrying them early on this season and gave them some cushion room out East, but will they be able to rank as high as they have this season next year? I’m not buying it unless once again Ben Simmons comes back quarterbacking an offense like he once did in Philadelphia putting together 1 20 point triple double after another which again is very possible as Simmons can use this summer to regroup mentally and physically and experience an epiphany going to into next season. After all he is just 26 years and hovering around the same age as Mikal and Cam so if Brooklyn can get all 3 of them clicking at the same time going forward the Nets could put together something special. It’s not too often you trade away a player of Kevin Durant’s caliber and get a good portion of what you need in return in order to reset and build a winner once again. As I said earlier, I just don’t see stardom for Cam Johnson although he has all the tools to become one. He’s going to have to get way out of his comfort zone to become a star in Brooklyn and he could answer the call but his inconsistency offensively would worry anyone.
Molding Cam Johnson into one of your primary ball handlers isn’t the wisest idea, yea sure he’s unselfish and can make plays on the court but I don’t believe he should even be entrusted with being a 3rd wheel on any team around the NBA. Hate to be harsh on Cam and I am not implying he is not worthy of re-signing, he’s just not the running mate for Mikal going forward into next season. So what should Sean Marks’s approach be this off-season? Well, first and foremost figure out Ben Simmons’s role with the team, that’s half the job and maybe Cam Johnson makes me eat every single word I’ve written on him and works hard enough in the off-season to become a lite version of Kevin Durant next season. That’s practically it because I don’t see Nicolas Claxton becoming a star and the Nets don’t have any worthwhile assets to offer aside from a boatload of draft picks for a legitimate difference maker. It shall be quite the intriguing off-season for the Brooklyn Nets this summer with all the answers coming from within what they already possess, just a matter of head coach Jacque Vaughn harnessing and molding it all into a possible masterpiece.