Saturday was yet another busy day in the offseason for the new-look Brooklyn Nets. The big news came Saturday night, when the Nets signed a quality backup point guard in C.J. Watson, formerly of the Chicago Bulls. Watson is a quality veteran out of the University of Tennessee who has previously played for both the Bulls and Golden State Warriors. Last season, he averaged 9.7 ppg and 4.1 apg. At the beginning of the season, he was supposed to be a backup pg, but after the Derrick Rose injury, he was forced into the starter role for many games, and was able to lead the Bulls to the #1 seed in the east. Watson’s stats don’t jump out, but he does appear to be a good leader and a valuable member of the team.
This signing is important for many reasons. First of all, Watson got a veterans minimum contract, which means he will come very cheap. Watson said about the signing, “I’m excited to join the Nets. I can’t wait to play with all that talent and play for Avery Johnson. I couldn’t be more excited.” Watson probably could have gotten more money by signing with another team, but he wanted to come to the Nets because of the talent and the chance to win a championship. Also, one thing to note here is that Deron Williams was the biggest influence on C.J.’s decision. Williams talked to Watson on the phone and convinced him to come to Brooklyn. Deron has been a great recruiter for the Nets so far this offseason, and I hope this continues.
This signing is also important because it fills the backup point guard hole that the Nets had. Of course, they could have moved Tyshawn Taylor into the backup role, but that may be too tough a job for the rookie second round pick. Watson is a much safer choice. Also, this eliminates the chance of the Nets getting Derek Fisher, who was rumored to be another option for Brooklyn. I am very happy about this. Although Fisher is a great leader, on the basketball court he can do very little now, while Watson can actually be a valuable contributor. If you look across the river at the New York Knicks and Jason Kidd next season, you will see why it is smarter to sign a guy who can actually play at backup point guard than a guy who is only a good leader at this point in his career. In other Knicks news, it is looking more and more likely that Jeremy Lin is going to go to the Rockets. I am hoping that the Knicks match the Rockets’ offer and keep Jeremy Lin because he is the most overrated player in the NBA and I would love to see another bad contract from the Knicks. Raymond Felton is rumored to be the Knicks’ plan B at point guard, and I do not believe that he is a good option either.
In other Nets news, Brendan Haywood, who the Mavericks amnestied a few days ago, went to the Charlotte Bobcats, while Darko Milicic, who was amnestied by the Minnesota Timberwolves, went unclaimed off waivers. Of course, the Nets have been rumored to be interested in Milicic, although it is very early on in the process and there are many teams, including international teams, that may be interested in the former draft bust. I don’t love Milicic and I’m not really sure why NBA teams continue giving him chances at becoming a quality NBA player. Darko has never averaged over 9 ppg and only averaged 4.6 ppg last season. However, he is a solid defender for a backup center, which is something the Nets need. If he went to the Nets, he will play a similar role to Marcus Camby’s role on the Knicks, except that he is much younger and much less injury-prone. My gut feeling is that the Nets will not acquire Milicic.
The best news that comes from these amnestied players is that Charlotte picked up Brendan Haywood, which practically eliminates the Bobcats from signing Nets free agent Kris Humphries. It is looking more and more likely that The Hump will return to the Nets, which I am very happy about.
The last piece of news that came on Saturday was that, in an article by Drew Packham of NBA.com, Packham rated Nets second round pick Tyshawn Taylor as the best rookie in the draft class right now. That’s better than Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, or any other lottery pick. Although I’m sure that these rankings will change as the season goes on, it is clear that Taylor has been impressive in the Orlando summer league and will be a contributor to the Brooklyn Nets next season. Here’s what Packham had to say about Taylor:
Taylor, whom the Nets landed in a Draft night trade with the Blazers (who took him 41st), could have a decent role as a backup this season. So his performance so far in Orlando should have coach Avery Johnson feeling a little less apprehensive. Taylor, a 6-foot-3 guard out of Kansas, has averaged 15.5 points through four games, capped off by Thursday’s 23-point outing in a win over the Thunder. Still, Taylor has struggled with turnovers (seven in a loss to Boston), but that’s expected of a rookie seeing his first pro action. “Sometimes it’s hit or miss,” Johnson said Tuesday. “He’ll make good plays and then another time maybe there is a turnover, but it’s not all his fault. I think sometimes the spacing on the floor [is an issue]. (Taylor sat the Nets’ final game in Orlando.)