While the Brooklyn Nets are once again going to number among the favorites for an NBA championship, the squad is still deficient on the defensive side of the ball. While they have an excess of shooters like Landry Shamet, they didn’t have enough perimeter stoppers like Jevon Carter…until Thursday
The Nets have been looking to offload Shamet, who they acquired last year in a three-team deal that forced them to relinquish the rights to Saadiq Bey, with the aim of moving up in the 2021 NBA Draft.
While that didn’t happen, they were able to entice the Phoenix Suns into a deal that saw them give away some of their backcourt rotation and draft capital. It also hinted that the Nets are in for a very active offseason centered around improving the defense.
The Nets traded Shamet to Phoenix in exchange for Carter and the No. 29 pick in the Draft on Thursday. The Nets now have two first-round picks and five overall, a sign that those picks could be packaged to trade up.
This move is also a sign that the Nets are willing to sacrifice some offense in order to pick up a pesky perimeter defender.
The Brooklyn Nets swapped Landry Shamet’s O for Jevon Carter’s D.
While Shamet was able to average 9.3 points per game last year while making 39% of his 3-pointers despite a very slow start, the Nets were apparently not convinced by his surge in production late in the season, and they decided to add an aggressive, bruising point guard who made the NBA on the back of some solid defense.
Carter, a two-time conference Defensive Player of the Year in West Virginia’s scrappy full-court press defense, was drafted by the Grizzlies, though he only spent one year in Memphis before the Suns acquired him. Carter averaged 4.1 points, 1.5 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game last year in Phoenix.
As a shooter and scorer, he might not be in the same tier as Shamet, but he did hit on 38% of his 3-point attempts last year, so the offense shouldn’t be forced to overcompensate too much when he comes in.
From April 10 to April 17, when Carter was forced to play just under 21 minutes per game, he averaged 12.4 points per game while making 55% of his shots and 48% of his 3-point attempts. While his defense will be his calling card, he has plenty of traits worth developing on the offensive end as well.
What Brooklyn does get in Carter is someone who is signed for the next two seasons, can play both guard spots, and plays some 82nd percentile defense when he is on the floor. For a Nets team already packed to the gills with shooters, Carter can come right in and fill a role just like he did on last year’s Suns.
Jevon Carter could evolve into a stud Nets bench player like Bruce Brown.
Brown, acquired from the Pistons last year, was able to work his way from the end of the bench to a spot as an undroppable playoff asset. Quickly, he proved he could line up anywhere, defend almost anyone, and hit some timely shots when called upon.
That’s the type of player that the Nets are getting in Carter, and they should try to lead him along a similar path from a developmental point of view. If they retain Brown, a lineup featuring both of them could be hellacious for opposing backcourts.
Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden will put up more than enough points in an offense constructed by a student of Mike D’Antoni in Steve Nash. The Nets need defenders inside and out, and while Carter isn’t an All-Defensive team player, he’ll help Brooklyn put the clamps on opposing players