Brooklyn Nets: Promising signs for a pivotal offseason ahead

Brooklyn Nets Sean Marks. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets Sean Marks. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Brooklyn Nets
Brooklyn Nets Jared Dudley. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images) /

1. Can Brooklyn address the stretch-big issue?

Shooting is at a premium in the NBA and at no position is that more true than the search for shooting bigs.

The buyout market in the wake of the trade deadline looks to be robust, but shy on stretch bigs.

Perhaps the best available option is Markieff Morris, waived by the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday after being acquired with cash and a 2023 second-round pick from the Washington Wizards in exchange for Wesley Johnson.

But Morris comes with some risk. He hasn’t played since Dec. 26 became of a neck injury, missing Washington’s last 19 games before being traded and released.

He had averaged 11.5 points and 5.1 rebounds in 34 games for the Wizards, shooting 43.6 percent overall and 33.3 percent on 4.2 3-point attempts per game.

That 3-point number is down significantly from his 36.2 percent and 36.7 percent marks from his last two seasons, but at 29 years old with the prospect of adding him for the veteran’s minimum since the Pelicans are paying him the rest of the $8.6 million he was due this season, he might be worth a shot.

For starters, Morris is 6-foot-10 and 245 pounds and can shoot well from 3. The Brooklyn Nets are currently starting 6-foot-5 Treveon Graham as the starter at the 4, after using 6-foot-7 Jared Dudley and 6-foot-7 Rondae Hollis-Jefferson at that spot earlier this season.

The Nets’ triumvirate at power forward has been small, but at least they haven’t shot the 3 consistently well at all.

Dudley has made 32.2 percent in 43 games this season on 2.8 attempts per game. Hollis-Jefferson is at a woeful 21.4 percent on less than one attempt a night over 46 games and Graham, in 19 games, has made 27.3 percent on 3.5 attempts per contest.

Makes that 33.3 percent from Morris this season look a little better.

After terminating Mitch Creek‘s 10-day contract on Thursday to acquire Greg Monroe from the Toronto Raptors with a 2021 second-round pick, then waiving Monroe, Brooklyn has an open roster spot.

Another stretch 4 option is Carmelo Anthony, waived on Feb. 1 by the Chicago Bulls. But Anthony hasn’t played in an NBA game since Nov. 8, being paid the veteran’s minimum first by the Houston Rockets and later the Bulls to stay home.

Anthony lit up the Nets for a season-high 28 points in Houston’s win at Barclays Center on Nov. 2, hitting 6-of-9 from deep. But in 10 games for the Rockets, Anthony made only 32.8 percent on 6.4 attempts per game and at 34 years old would struggle at the defensive end.

But after those two, the market for stretch bigs gets very dicey. It is expected that failed 2016 first-round picks Dragan Bender of the Phoenix Suns and Henry Ellenson of the Detroit Pistons will be waived in the coming days, per

After that, you’re down to veterans who have gone unsigned this season or G-League talent. Would Quincy Acy really be an upgrade?

So Brooklyn can either take an injury risk on Morris, take an old-age risk on Anthony or roll the dice on a busted first-rounder.

Or they can roll with the hand that got them here so far.