Brooklyn Nets: Core development key to future success

Brooklyn Nets Jarrett Allen. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets Jarrett Allen. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Brooklyn Nets
Brooklyn Nets Jarrett Allen. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The free-agency market has the attention of many Brooklyn Nets fans, but the key to the franchise’s continued upswing is the development of its core group.

While all eyes are on the most intriguing NBA free agency market in recent years, the Nets’ staff can dramatically improve the team from within regardless of where the major free agents land. The Brooklyn Nets core development is key to future success.

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This article will outline some of the top individual offseason priorities for the core players who are currently under a guaranteed contract with Brooklyn for the 2019-20 season.

Jarrett Allen

Already a prolific shot blocker, screen setter and rebounder, Jarrett Allen, for a big man, is a good free throw shooter as well.

Of all of the Brooklyn Nets’ core players, Allen’s development is by far the most complicated. Jack Winter of ClutchPoints chronicled coach Kenny Atkinson’s wishes for Allen to shoot more 3-pointers.

However, it seems obvious that Allen’s offseason development goals should be to bulk up. This is where potential problems in Allen’s development present themselves.

Should Atkinson simply follow NBA trends and try to convert Allen into a 3-point shooter or perhaps try something more traditional like turning him into a better post player?

Is it realistic for Allen to gain significant muscle mass and also expect him to improve his shooting range in one offseason? The rigors of such a diet and strength training regimen could affect his shooting touch.

It’s not an impossibility, but it’s also not typical. Is it wise to try and convert Allen from a traditional center into a perimeter player on offense when the Nets already have numerous perimeter players?

The Nets desperately need a post-player on offense when their offense stagnates. Allen could be that type of player if he adds weight and focuses primarily on his post-up game and footwork.

Allen’s soft touch around the rim could make adding a baby hook shot a useful part of his arsenal. If his footwork and shot-fake learning curve prove to be small, Allen’s ability to finish around the rim emphatically might make the idea of turning him into a post player a better option.

This seems like a safer route to take with him despite the trend of NBA bigs launching 3s at the highest clip in the league’s history. Given Allen’s rebounding ability, I would not be so quick to position him beyond the arc on offense.

The reasoning behind this is Allen is a good free throw shooter already. By improving as a post player, he could be a matchup nightmare for defenders who are not accustomed to guarding post players anymore as the league shifts away from post play.

It would also give the Nets the ability to play inside-out as opposed to outside-in, which they did all of last season. That style of play only ranked them 24th in the NBA in field goal percentage.

This is an area they desperately need to improve in if they are ever going to be true contenders. It would behoove the Nets to hire some former prolific post players to mentor Allen should they decide to go in this direction.

Realistically, the plan for Allen’s development should be a long-term plan and not something the Nets should try and expedite in one offseason.

If Allen can add six to eight pounds of muscle per offseason in the next two to three offseasons, he would be looking at a dramatic increase in sustainable muscle gain. This would allow him to retain his shooting touch and potentially become a serviceable 3-point shooter as well.

This long-term plan would also grant him the time needed to learn proper post play and also give him the repetition needed to become a ranged shooter.

Rushing Allen into bulking up dramatically in one offseason would be a mistake, as it is hard to sustain muscle weight throughout a grueling 82-game season.

Losing even a small percentage of bulk while potentially sacrificing his shooting touch would be burning the candle at both ends and stunt his development rather than improve it.

Allen must improve his hands as well. He is prone to fumbling and this must be addressed. Improving his ball handling would also make Allen more multi-dimensional on offense.

If he can gain the ability to drive into the lane off the dribble and finish he would also likely draw many fouls.

This improvement would help the Nets in a variety of ways as putting defenders in foul trouble and getting the Nets into the bonus earlier would benefit everyone. It leads to easier scoring opportunities and halts fast break opportunities of opposing teams.