Nets HC Jacque Vaughn Makes Bold Prediction for New-Look Roster

Jacque Vaughn, Brooklyn Nets

Getty Head Coach Jacque Vaughn of the Brooklyn Nets.

With his new contract in hand, Brooklyn Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn made it clear just how the rest of the seasons – all 24 games of it – are going to look for a revamped roster.

“I envision one of these dudes being an All-Star on this team,” Vaughn said via Matt Brooks of Nets Daily during a teleconference with the media. “I envision seeing one of these dudes making an All-Defensive team.”

The “dudes” Vaughn speaks of consist of a mix of incumbent veterans having to mesh with veterans from other rosters brought in via trade at the deadline. Most notable among them are former Phoenix Suns teammates Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson as well as former Dallas Mavericks teammates Spencer Dinwiddie and Dorian Finney-Smith.

There are zero All-Star selections between the four of them.

All of that boils down to plenty of roster shuffling for Vaughn.

“Jacque Vaughn said #Nets will open with a 10-man rotation, but cut back to nine closer to the playoffs,” tweeted Brian Lewis of the New York Post. Seth Curry will be in the rotation. He adds they’ll have to manage Nic Claxton‘s minutes, either with Day’Ron Sharpe or even Yuta Watanabe at smallball five.”

Curry, 32, saw fewer than 10 minutes in the Nets’ final game before the All-Star break. This was after five straight DNPs.

Already a buyout candidate according to John Hollinger of The Athletic, and in the final year of his four-year, $32 million contract, he is considered the Nets’ biggest flight risk by Bleacher Reports’ Grant Hughes

“Seth Curry is a double-digit scorer with a 45.9/42.0/97.1 shooting split—one making just $8.5 million in the last year of his deal,” writes Huges. “That’s not exactly the profile of an unwanted player, and the high likelihood that there’d be a line around the block for Curry’s services if the Brooklyn Nets were to waive him also augurs toward him finishing the year with his rebuilt team…but he does seem like someone the Nets could let get away in free agency.”

Watanabe, 28, is also careening toward unrestricted free agency and a likely pay raise.

Sharpe was featured more prominently in the games leading up to the break, seeing action in nine straight contests before logging a DNP in their final game before the festivities. It was easily the longest stretch of the season for the 21-year-old big man.

The most perplexing piece of the puzzle for Vaughn could very well be his best remaining pre-trade deadline piece.

Jacque Vaughn Facing Major Conundrum with Nic Claxton

Claxton’s situation is easily the most interesting. The NBA’s leader in both blocks and field goal percentage, he – and the roster as a whole – has been markedly different without those two primary scorers around him.

The 6-foot-11 Claxton, 24, is fourth in Vegas Insider’s aggregation of Defensive Player of the Year odds.

Brooklyn boasted a plus-4.1 net rating with him, Durant, and Irving on the floor together ranking in the 77th percentile, per Cleaning The Glass. But, without the two stars to generate points or open up putback and lob opportunities for Claxton, the Nets have a minus-6.7 net rating, falling into the 18th percentile.

He anchors a lineup with a plus-19.2 net rating ranking in the 100th percentile in net and defensive rankings. Where even that lineup struggles, however, is generating points with an offensive rating that ranks in the sixth percentile.

Claxton has one more season at $8.7 million before unrestricted free agency in 2024.

Finding out what he is will be paramount for a Nets team that held him out of trade talks at the deadline and will almost certainly be inundated with them in the summer.

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