Thanks to an onsluaught of franchise-crippling moves on the part of the previous administration, which sapped the team of valuable first-round draft picks, the Brooklyn Nets have arguably the bleakest future of any NBA franchise.
But there's a glimmer of hope in two athletic, versatile wings that the team smarty maneuvered to draft: Caris LeVert and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
LeVert was a projected lottery pick in 2015, but a string of foot injuries while at Michigan turned teams off. The Nets traded Thaddeus Young over the offseason for the No. 20 pick in the draft and nabbed the quick, smooth, 6'8" wing who can handle the ball, pass, and shoot.
After knocking the rust of not having played organized basketball in almost a year, the 22-year-old rookie is showing the league why he was once a top prospect. In his last 10 games, LeVert is averaging 10.9 points on efficient 52.9 percent shooting, 2.4 rebounds, 3 assists, and just 1.3 turnovers in 23.1 minutes per game.
He also did this to Miami Heat vet Wayne Ellington in a 109-106 loss, sending him sliding a good 10 feet with a filthy crossover
Watching this on repeat….
LeVert breaks it down!
— NBA (@NBA) January 26, 2017
Okay, maybe, just maybe, their feet got tangled and that contributed to Ellington's slip 'n' slide, but one can't deny how bad that looked.
In Hollis-Jefferson, the Nets have a different but still versatile player. The 6'7" sophomore has no range to speak of, but is hyperathletic, insanely long, a nifty passer, and an already dogged defender. Brooklyn acquired him by shipping Mason Plumlee to the Portland Trail Blazers during the 2015 draft.
The young duo has already developed a nice chemistry.
The Nets aren't good—they're assuredly the worst team in the league, thanks in part to season-long injury struggles from Jeremy Lin—and they won't have their own first-round draft pick until 2019, but at least they have a future fans can cling to.