NBA Scouting Reports, Atlantic Division (Part Four)

 NBA Scouting Reports, Atlantic Division (Part Four)
Jul 02, 2009, 09:19 pm
Continuing our series of articles filling out our database with scouting reports of every single NBA player, we look at the fourth team in the Atlantic division, the New Jersey Nets.

As a reminder, we are not currently profiling rookies, sophomores, or prospects we already evaluated throughout the draft process, but you should be able to find in-depth scouting reports on every player of note by following the links on their profiles or using our search engine above.

Due to the timing of the release of these articles (dating back well over a year now), many of the players that were on New Jersey's roster at the time are no longer around. We still preferred to add their scouting reports to the database regardless.

Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers and Detroit Pistons
Milwaukee Bucks and Indiana Pacers
Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Bobcats and Miami Heat
Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards
Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets and Memphis Grizzlies
New Orleans Hornets and San Antonio Spurs
Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers
Los Angeles Lakers
Sacramento Kings
Phoenix Suns
Denver Nuggets
Utah Jazz
Portland Trailblazers
Minnesota Timberwolves
Oklahoma City Thunder
Boston Celtics
New York Knicks
Toronto Raptors

New Jersey Nets

Josh Boone

Third year player, look for scouting reports this summer.

Vince Carter

Overview: An extremely versatile and athletic wing, with incredible scoring tools. Possesses an outstanding vertical leap, first step, wingspan, and just about everything you look for in a superstar physically, even if he’s much more reluctant/selective about showing that now on a consistent basis. A dynamite offensive threat. Developed his scoring ability and his penchant for the spectacular during a highly decorated prep career and a three year stint at UNC. One of the toughest players in the league to stop when he wants to be. Has a reputation for taking bad shots, but still manages to be rather efficient. Low turnover player considering his high usage. Has a history of injury problems, but has played 73 or more games his past six seasons. Has been criticized for a lack of toughness at times, but appears to be much more comfortable in his own skin these days. At age 32, seems to have peaked and is now entering the tail end of his prime. Still going for 20 points per game though. Former lottery pick, and cousin of Tracy McGrady.

Offense: A extremely dangerous and versatile scorer, capable of shooting from the perimeter or taking the ball to the basket. Has a reputation for settling for too many jumpers, but the rate at which he gets to the line is solid for his position. Uses his athleticism along with advanced moves and scoring instincts to break his man down off the dribble. Utilizes crossovers and spin moves well. Shows good ability to take contact and adjust in the lane, aided by his incredible hang-time. Can drive in either direction with the ball, but is historically better going right, both on drives and pull-up jumpers. Has a good perimeter shot, and can shoot as well off the dribble as he does spotting up, despite taking many very tough shots. Doesn’t always have his feet underneath him on shots, and forces some fade-aways. Hasn’t been as good off the dribble this season than he normally is, taking more attempts than we’re used to seeing from him when Devin Harris was injured. Regardless, he still maintained high efficiency. Very good shooter when he is left open. Gets most of his offense in isolations or as the ball-handler in pick-and-rolls, but is dangerous moving off the ball and spotting up. Has a well above average assist to turnover ratio for his position. Is capable of facilitating an offense for extended stretches in games. A great shot creator for himself and others, capable of making every pass, but excelling most in the pick-and-roll. Also creates shots with post entry passes, in transition, and on drive-and-kicks. Uses athleticism to get out and finish in transition, but not as much as he used to. Still reminds us of his Vinsanity days from time to time by throwing down some highlight reel dunks.

Defense: Not know for his effort defensively, Carter is a very good man-to-man defender when he wants to be. Shows a good stance and lateral quickness, along with a penchant for getting a hand in his man’s face. Uses his physical tools well, but not until the game is on the line. Effort level wavers considerably at times. Not the greatest at getting around screens. Can over-commit in help defense. Has good hands in the passing lanes. One of the better rebounding shooting guards in the league defensively. Could be a significantly better defender if he put his mind to it.

Keyon Dooling

Dooling was already profiled as a member of the Orlando Magic. Follow his profile link to read his scouting report.

Chris Douglas-Roberts

Rookie. See NBA draft scouting report.

Devin Harris

Overview:Scoring lead guard who blossomed into one of the league’s more prolific offensive options after moving from Dallas to New Jersey. Has ideal physical tools for the point guard position, including very good size at 6-3, a 6-7 ½ wingspan, and outstanding athleticism. One of the quickest end to end players in the NBA, possesses a fantastic first step and an extra gear that allows him to get almost anywhere he wants on the floor. Gets to the free throw line like a machine and is excellent at creating his own shot. Still has plenty of room to round out his game, can get stronger, improve his jump-shot and work on his defense and decision making skills. Not always as much of a leader as you might hope for considering his position. Former top-5 draft pick who played a major role right off the bat for Bo Ryan at Wisconsin, slowly rounding out his point guard skills in the Swing Offense. Traded on draft night to Dallas in exchange for Antawn Jamison by the Washington Wizards. Played steady rotation minutes for a championship contending team right away, but didn’t break out into the borderline all-star he is now until he was moved to New Jersey in the Jason Kidd trade.

Offense: A big-time scorer and major talent who has shown that he can carry a team as a primary option, even if he has some noticeable holes to his game that he must continue to address. Gets a huge amount of his offense (45%) in pick and roll situations, with considerable other chunks coming off isolations and in transition, where he truly excels. Quickness and explosiveness make him incredibly difficult to stay in front of, and does a great job using that to get to the basket and finish in traffic. Can create shots going either direction, gets to the free throw line at an outstanding rate and converts 82% of his attempts once there. Finishes extremely well around the rim, but could even get better by adding some more strength to his upper body. Racks up tons of assists at the point guard spot, partially due to how heavily he’s relied on as a ball-handler and shot-creator in New Jersey’s offense. Unselfish player who does a good job driving and dishing and making post-entry passes, particularly off the pick and roll, but doesn’t possess what you would call brilliant court vision or playmaking instincts. Turns the ball over at a somewhat high rate, but this is to be expected considering his role and extremely aggressive style of play. Could still do a better job with his decision making skills, tends to force the issue at times over-penetrating, making tough passes or trying to split double teams. Perimeter shooting is his main Achilles heel—teams regularly go underneath screens and dare him to take open jumpers, and he’s yet to show that he can consistently punish them, even from 17 feet out. Extremely shaky on the catch and shoot, not consistent at all with his feet set from NBA 3-point range, even when left open. Better shooting off the dribble, has a very fluid pull-up jumper which is becoming more and more effective as of late, but is also prone to streakiness. Shot-selection is questionable at times.

Defense: Has all the physical tools to be an outstanding defender, including good size, long arms and excellent lateral quickness. Showed in the past that he can lock down his man when called upon in a more limited role, but has gone away from that in New Jersey as his offensive responsibilities increased. Seems to get out of his stance quickly and not fight all that hard getting through screens, effort is spotty depending on the situation. A major target for post-up plays, gives up position too easily, as he seems to lack the strength and toughness to fight back and hold his ground. Great length and anticipation skills getting in the passing lanes, comes up with plenty of steals every game. May revert back to being a better defender in time as the competition level around him in New Jersey increases.

Trenton Hassell

Overview: A defensive role player who plays with a lot of heart., but is incredibly limited offensively Has decent speed and athleticism for a wing. Able to play a bit bigger than his listed height with a 6’8 wingspan, which marks the fact that he’s a heavy guard at 230-pounds. A legitimate defensive stopper for stretches of his career. Won the OVC POY in 2001 at Austin Peay. Was more of a power forward on the NCAA level, which helped him use his physical tools to mask some of his deficiencies on the offensive end. Will do the little things to help his team win, but clearly isn’t an ideal option. A nice player to have on the bench and in practices, but received a lot of minutes last season for such a limited player.

Offense: Isn’t asked to do a whole lot on the offensive end, which is probably a good thing. Gets almost two-thirds of his offense in spot up situations, but can hardly be described as a shooter. Will take a jumper from time to time, but knows that isn’t his game. Doesn’t get much elevation on his shot, making it more of a push. Defenders feel comfortable leaving him open when he isn’t in rhythm. Won’t spot up outside the arc. Doesn’t do much off the dribble, but will show some decent spin moves and short-range ability once in a blue moon. Struggles from the midrange due to a lack of sound footwork when setting up to shoot. Looks exponentially more comfortable in close when he can finish with a layup. Only passable ball handling ability, which makes him reliant on his teammates. Doesn’t always protect the ball as well as he should in the lane. Shows a halfway decent post game. Can take advantage of smaller defenders on the low block. Shows good intangibles. Runs the floor hard and sets good screens. Shoots almost no free throws anymore. Limited range and lack of shot-creating ability limits him severely, but he doesn’t turn the ball over, doesn’t force too many looks, and generally knows his role.

Defense: Defensive role player whose job it is to be a spot defender on the perimeter. Always guards the opposition’s best offensive wing when he’s on the floor. Good at reacting to drives and cutting them off at the baseline or sending them to the middle when he knows he has help. Solid lateral quickness in his defensive stance. Always gets a hand up on shooters. Makes an effort to contest every shot his man takes. Doesn’t always make a big effort in help side since he tries to deny entry passes to his man on some occasions. Not the type of defender that darts in passing lanes or dominates physically. Shows tremendous fundamentals and discipline, which makes him a solid option on this end.

Jarvis Hayes

Hayes was already profiled as a member of the Detroit Pistons. Follow his profile link to read his scouting report.

Richard Jefferson

Overview: A talented slasher who is a solid second or third option. Possesses very good athleticism, boasting good explosiveness and quickness along with a strong frame and a great wingspan. Injuries have slowed him to an extent. A highly touted prep player, he enjoyed an impressive career at Arizona. Put up eerily similar numbers during each of his seasons under Lute Olsen. Blossomed during his second season in New Jersey and has been playing at a relatively high level ever since. Had a down year in 2006-07, but rebounded before being traded to Milwaukee for the 2008-09 season. Contributes in many different ways and is a smart and productive team player, but has struggled to be as consistent as he once was playing alongside Jason Kidd. Still one of those rare perimeter players who is a lights out shooter and gets to the free throw line at a good rate, without turning the ball over much. Defense and rebounding have fallen off noticeably during the past two seasons, following repeated ankle problems. A very good scorer, but not good enough to be a team’s premier option. Will have to accept a much smaller role now that he’s been traded to San Antonio. Has to become more efficient as a scorer in less touches while bring the same intensity on the defensive end. Clearly a “Spurs guy” when considering the intangibles he brings to the table. Will likely thrive playing a smaller role, similar to the one he had in New Jersey in 2005-2006.

Offense: A nice offensive option who is more productive than efficient. Gets almost one-third of his shots up in spot up situations with isolations, shots off of screens, fast breaks, and pick and rolls accounting for the majority of his other touches. Possesses a solid jump shot with good range and a high release point, and has improved dramatically in recent seasons as a catch and shoot option despite only decent mechanics. Takes a lot of contested jumpers, but doesn’t change his mechanics considerably when he does. Not a terribly consistent shooter off the dribble, despite his ability to create, has improved his midrange game a bit, and doesn’t get tunnel vision to the rim like he used to. Has a good first step, showing good quickness and timing, which allows him to break his man down going in either direction. Doesn’t get out in transition as often as he used to, but still finds quite a bit of success going one-on-one. Not the most advanced ball-handler, but uses craftiness and subtle misdirection steps to maneuver through the lane. Shows great ability to adjust in the lane and takes contact very well. Goes to the line at a terrific rate and shoots a good percentage. Has been a fantastic finisher historically, but hasn’t been very effective around the basket recently, seeming to force a lot of tough shots and not finish his drives as efficiently. His drop off in shooting percentage at the rim accounts for many of his struggles, though his dramatic improvements as a shooter mask some of these issues. Moves well off the ball and makes good, quick cuts to the basket, where he catches and finishes well. Also uses his athleticism to get out and make plays in transition. A low-mistake player who makes good reads in the passing game and gets a decent amount of assists.

Defense: Lateral quickness has fallen off noticeably following ankle troubles, which has impacted him defensively. Shows a good defensive stance, but doesn’t always move his feet well when being attacked off the dribble. Sags off his man too much in one-on-one situations, leading to some easy shots. Overplays help defense at times, leading to open shots for opponents on the weak side. A good post defender who uses his body well while showing good fundamentals, even looking comfortable when matched against power forwards. Offers San Antonio some nice defensive versatility, but will need to work hard to fit into their defensive system. Change of scenery could be exactly what the doctor ordered on this end of the floor.

Yi Jianlian

Second year player. See NBA draft scouting report.

Nenad Krstic

Overview: A skilled big man with good size, “Curly” is a below-average athlete by NBA standards, especially following repeated knee injuries. Still retains some mobility, but isn’t a very fluid or explosive athlete. Has a pretty good feel for the game, plays intelligently, and is fundamentally sound on both ends. Could play the power forward and center spots early in his career, but now struggles to keep up with quicker opponents, relegating him primarily to the five. From Serbia, he spent two years with Partizan Belgrade before coming over after being drafted in 2002. Made a considerable financial sacrifice to play in the NBA. Was a consistent contributor for the Nets in his first three seasons. Struggled with knee injuries for a stretch, playing just 71 games combined from 2006-08. Left the NBA to play in Russia as a free agent in 08, but returned midway through the season. Still trying to regain the form he showed at the beginning of 2006-07 season when he really seemed to be coming into his own. Will get every opportunity to come along slowly playing for a rebuilding Oklahoma City franchise. No telling if he’ll ever fully return to what he once was, but he’s already shown improvement from his post-injury season form. Lack of offensive efficiency and poor rebounding ability make ideally suited for a backup role.

Offense: A nice inside-outside threat that is still trying to find the efficiency he showed in the past. Gets almost one-third of his touches in spot up situations, with offensive rebounds, basket cuts, and pick and pops accounting for the rest of his shots. Used to get more touches with his back to the basket when he was peaking in 2007. Rarely gets to the free throw line anymore. A good mid-range shooter with range out to 20 feet who was very dangerous in the pick-and-pop game. Hasn’t had an easy time getting his jumper to fall since returning to the Thunder, but still has the pretty mechanics that made him effective before he got hurt. Maintains consistent form when uncontested, but struggles with a hand in his face, getting sloppy and showing reduced effectiveness. A crafty post player with a good assortment of moves, but has struggled to finish with his back to the basket post-injury, showing a severe lack of vertical explosiveness. Isn’t the feature post player that he once was. Used to really struggle to finish over defenders, but has had better luck around the basket coming off Oklahoma City’s bench. Has good touch on his hook shot with either hand, but prefers to turn over his left shoulder. Shows very nice spin moves going in either direction. Can sometimes take too long with his moves in the post, putting the ball on the floor too much. Does not turn the ball over at all, though, which is a nice plus. Will draw some contact and get to the line once in a blue moon, where he shoots a respectable percentage. Looks decent turning into his man to face up, but lacks the quickness to get by. A smart player off the ball who does a good job cutting and finishing on open looks at the basket. Isn’t able to get out in transition anymore, often trailing behind. Efficiency fell off drastically in 2008, with TS% falling from 56% to 45%, but he’s rebounded since returning from Russia to some extent shooting 50% this season. Still has a ways to go before being considered a legitimate starting center, though.

Defense: A fundamentally sound post defender, does a good job moving his feet, staying in front of his man, and contesting shots, but is often over-matched athletically. Can struggle to hold position against stronger opponents. Not much of a shot-blocking threat, but has been notably more effective since returning from Russia and does a good job making rotations and getting his hands up. Lateral quickness is a problem on the perimeter, and he struggles to get out and defend the midrange effectively. Getting back some of his recovery speed, but still doesn’t always get back to his man when defending the pick and roll, though he puts in great effort trying. Was never a great rebounder, but is even less effective than he once was now. Isn’t physically aggressive or athletic enough to beat the players around him to the ball.

Brook Lopez

Rookie. See Rookie Retrospective article in profile.

Bostjan Nachbar

Overview: A combo forward with a deadly shooting stroke, “Boki” is a decent athlete, being very smooth and mobile but not especially quick or explosive. Struggled to establish a role for himself in his first four seasons, and bounced around a bit, but has found a niche with New Jersey. Started his career with Union Olimpija in his native Slovenia, but came into his own with Benetton Treviso. A former first round pick (#15 in 2002), he has developed into a very solid role-playing reserve for the NBA and an excellent top-option internationally. After shooting the ball with lights out efficiency in 2006-07, came back down to earth in 2008, and subsequently decided to sign with Dynamo Moscow as a free agent., where he played extremely well but rarely got paid for his efforts. Definitely a shooter first and foremost in the NBA, but does contribute in other ways, and plays to his strengths very well. Also has a reputation for being an extremely high character guy. Seems likely to return to the NBA this summer, at a reduced price.

Offense: Has very good scoring instincts and excellent size for the small forward position, which makes him a solid mismatch threat. Game is clearly centered on his perimeter jump shot, which boasts excellent form and consistency, with a high and quick release. Good when open, and actually even better with a hand in his face more often than not, showing very good poise and rarely altering his mechanics. Not quite as good pulling up off the dribble, but rarely forces bad jump shots, always keeping very good balance. Has a step-back jumper in his repertoire, but mostly relies on straight up jumpers. Took most of his shots behind the arc in the NBA, but is decent from the mid-range as well, and made plays inside the arc more frequently for Dynamo Moscow. Not a great ball-handler, but is comfortable making a straight-line drive to the basket when it presents itself, and is athletic enough to finish at times. Gets to the free throw line at a very nice rate, mostly thanks to his smarts and craftiness. Doesn’t show the ability to consistently get past opponents in pure one on one situations, and usually only will be able to drive off a shot-fake or a screen. Forces some drives where he can’t get past his opponents, resorting to an awkward shot that’s part floater, part running hook. Very good cutting without the ball, doing a good job finishing over smaller 3’s with nice touch off the glass. Shows good ability to adjust in the lane, but doesn’t finish with his left hand, leading to some awkward attempts on that side of the basket. Gets out in transition as well, where he shows his aggressiveness in attacking defenders and getting to the line. Likes to try and dunk when he gets any sort of running start at the rim. Doesn’t have much of a post game, looking uncomfortable there and not finishing well. Assertive drives help him get to the line, where he is a lights out shooter. Over-aggressiveness can come at the expense of turnovers, though.

Defense: Not a very good defender, despite showing good attentiveness and putting in consistent effort. Suffers from below average foot speed and a high center of gravity, making him a liability on the perimeter at the 3-spot. This is compounded by being prone to biting for fakes, and not showing great recovery speed. Struggles with screens as well, often getting caught. Not a good post defender either, as he’s undersized and not very strong compared to power forwards he is occasionally matched with. Had a much easier time defensively in Europe, since his length was more of an asset, and his lateral quickness was not quite as big of an issue. Also was able to spend more time at the 4, where he’s an even bigger mismatch offensively, and often is able to match up with other face-up forwards in his mold. Solid rebounder at his position, as he has good size and smarts and is willing to put the effort in.

Eduardo Najera

Overview: The definition of what it means to be a ‘hustle player.’ Has made a name for himself with toughness and a great work ethic, despite being stuck between both forward positions. Not the biggest or most athletic player, but strong and relentless. Has a near 7’0 wingspan, but remains a bit on the short side at under 6-8 in shoes. Not as athletic as he was when he was drafted, but is far more skilled and experienced. The second player from Mexico to play in the NBA. Developed into a very high quality collegiate player during his four years at Oklahoma. Used his toughness to be an effective scorer in college, but had to transition that toughness to the defensive end and on the glass in the NBA. Has been an effective role-player for many years. Has developed some range on his shot, but has seen his effectiveness and efficiency waver as the players around him have changed. His team-first attitude and commitment to the defensive end have been constants though. Has suffered a lot of small injuries recently, making him more of a presence in practice than in games. Extremely high-character guy in the locker room.

Offense: Will never be known for his exploits on this end of the court, as he lacks a great skill level or tremendous athleticism. Had a bad year after receiving a big contract following a great season with the Nuggets in 2008, partially due to injuries. Didn’t shoot the ball as well from the field in limited action. Gets almost half of his possessions as a spot up shooter at this point in his career. Doesn’t have bad form on his jumper, but is hindered by a slow release and bouts of inconsistency when defended. Not a bad option when wide open, but not ideal in that regard. Doesn’t put the ball on the floor much, but attacks the rim, and prefers driving right when he does. Not a great ball handler, but doesn’t force things too often. Proves to be a solid finisher around the basket in limited attempts. Can use both hands and has soft touch, will have some trouble when he has to score over bigger defenders. Not afraid to mix it up down low. Doesn’t get any possessions in the post anymore, find his touches by working off the ball. Does a good job cutting to the rim, crashing the glass, and running the floor in transition. Always looking to tip a missed shot back out to his teammates. Has never been a great foul shooter, but was truly brutal from there in 08-09, dipping down to an abysmal 36%. May not ever be as efficient as he was during his final two seasons with the Nuggets.

Defense: Capable of defending multiple positions for stretches of his career. Can still guard some players at both forward spots. Maximizes his physical tools with his physical play defensively. Always gets a hand up when closing out shooters, being very aggressive and showing great awareness and decent recovery speed to get back in the play if he gets beat. Knows when to concede fouls, and does so often. Pretty foul prone for that reason. Very good help defender in terms of timing and fundamentals, but lacks the athleticism to make an impact as a playmaker. Does show good hands when stripping ball handlers in the lane. Very fundamentally sound after the shot goes up. Turns and rides his man out of the lane before going after the ball. Isn’t a glamorous defender by any stretch of the imagination, but knows how to get the job done and will work as hard as anyone to stay in position.

Bobby Simmons

Simmons was already profiled as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks. Follow his profile link to read his scouting report.

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