As successful as an offseason that Sean Marks and the Brooklyn Nets front office had in 2021, they still had to deal with several key departures. Two of those departures were Landry Shamet and Jeff Green who were two of the Nets’ most elite defenders. Replacing them is no easy task. In August Michael A. Scotto of HoopsHype reported that the Nets were interested in acquiring former lottery pick Stanley Johnson in free agency who has a reputation as a ferocious wing defender.
“In other news regarding the Nets, it seems the team could have some interest in former lottery pick Stanley Johnson,” Scotto wrote via HoopsHype. “He’s been around team members and staff out in Southern California. He’s working out with those guys, HoopsHype has learned.”
That dream was a short-lived one after NBA Insider Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that Johnson has reached a deal to sign with the Chicago Bulls. “Free-agent forward Stanley Johnson has agreed to a deal with the Chicago Bulls,” Shams tweeted on September 6.
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Kevin Durant Credits Bulls for Building Contender
Slowly but surely the Chicago Bulls have built themselves into a formidable contender. An offense that already featured All-Star caliber talent in Nikola Vucevic and Zach Lavine got even more explosive with the additions of DeMar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball.
This comes after the Bulls just missed the NBA play-in tournament as the 11th seed in the East this past season. Brick by brick the Bulls have pulled themselves up from the bottom of the league and Kevin Durant has begun to take notice.
“When you got guys like them three, them two (LaVine and Vučević), sorry; I mean, s—, I want to throw Coby White in there too, cause I feel like he a part of their future like he gonna be the guy as the point,” Durant said during a Twitter Spaces session in April 2021 in a transcript obtained from NBC Sports.
“You got three guys that can get it from three levels on the court. I don’t give a f— what else you got. You got something with that. Two All-Stars at that, and another guy (White), who is a wild card right now, but can go all crazy and get you 30 (points) any given night. When you got that on your team, that’s a great start.”
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New Study Reveals Shocking Stat About James Harden
While the Nets search for the right pieces to round out their defensive front, they may already have their answer and it comes from an unlikely source. Nets’ star James Harden is not known for playing a ferocious brand of defense but stats from a recent study proves otherwise.
Per a report from Ethan Fuller of Basketball News, a recent study from InStat Basketball shows that opponents shot just 36% from the field on post-ups when defended by Harden. That Ranks him 4th in the NBA below Rudy Gobert, Bam Adebayo, and Julius Randle. He is also the only guard listed in the top 5.
“Harden was one of only four qualifying guards to hold opponents under 40%, along with Facundo Campazzo (36.8%), Marcus Smart (37.5%), and Donte DiVincenzo (38.9%),” Fuller writes. “The major difference is that those four only defended around 40 post-up shots apiece; Harden matched up for 61, which was second among guards behind only Jrue Holiday.”
Although the Nets are still searching for the right pieces to round out their roster, they have already done a great job making the right moves in free agency and the trade market. With training camp just weeks away it will soon be time to see how the roster fairs on the court.