After having lost Shaun Livingston this offseason, the Brooklyn Nets were left to figure out who would be the other guard paired with Deron Williams in the starting lineup. Billy King and the Nets brass were able to answer that question relatively quickly. The team made a trade for Jarrett Jack and re-signed Alan Anderson.
It will be interesting to see who coach Lionel Hollins will be starting alongside Williams.
Williams and Livingston were the Nets primary point guards, with Anderson receiving the duty on occasion. This was all under coach Jason Kidd. Kidd liked to run a small-ball style of offense, especially once center Brook Lopez was lost for the season. The Nets most successful lineup was with Livingston at point guard, Williams at shooting guard, Joe Johnson playing the small forward position, Paul Pierce serving as the team’s power forward and either Kevin Garnett or Mason Plumlee at center. Now, Livingston, Pierce and Kidd are all gone and Lopez appears to be healthy.
Last week, the Nets were able to acquire Jack in a three-team deal. Then, Brooklyn brought back free agent guard Anderson on a two-year deal.
As Taylor Luchtefeld of From Russia With Dunk pointed out, in all likelihood Hollins will keep Johnson at small forward in the starting lineup. That means there is an opening next to Williams at the other guard spot.
Either Jack or Anderson will likely fill that void.
Jack is much more of a natural point guard than Anderson. It was just two seasons ago that Jack had arguably his best season of his nine-year career. While with the Golden State Warriors during the 2012-13 season, Jack averaged 12.9 points per game and 5.6 assists while shooting 45.2% from the field and 40.4% from three-point range. Jack played 29.7 minutes per contest while playing either back-up to or alongside Stephen Curry.
He then experienced a drop-off last season during his one-year stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Jack’s numbers fell to 9.7 points per game and 4.1 assists. He shot just 41.0% from the field and 34.1% from three-point range.
Jack’s presence will allow the Nets to relieve Williams of some of the primary point guard duties.
Anderson’s numbers have never been flashy. His career average is just 8.1 points per game and 1.2 assists. Even though he is regarded as a shooter, his shooting has never been that deadly, either. He has shot just 39.7% from the field and 34.5% from deep for his career.
Part of Anderson’s game, though, is his toughness on both ends. He is not afraid on the offensive ends. He will try to create for himself if nothing is happening with the rest of the team. On defense, he has a physical style that can get under an opponents skin.
During Hollins tenure with the Memphis Grizzlies he had the luxury of having two very good perimeter defenders that were guards at his disposal. Mike Conley has a knack for knocking the ball loose if point guards are being lazy with the ball. Tony Allen has been one of the top perimeter defenders for years due to his physicality and smarts. The two players were major reasons as to why the Grizzlies were constantly one of the top defensive teams in the league under Hollins.
In Brooklyn, the situation is much different. Williams has never been known to be a very good defender and neither has Jack. Hollins may decide to start Anderson, who is a better defender and has more size. By doing so, he will be going with a slightly more defense-oriented lineup and leaving the offense to Williams, Johnson and Lopez. If Hollins goes the other way, that probably means Anderson will be the one coming off the bench.
Neither player should really be effected by this. Anderson and Jack will both see plenty of time on the court and will be paired together plenty of times. The team’s success should always be the most important thing.