Brooklyn Nets: Were Backup Point Guards Sean Marks’ One Error?

Oct 28, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Greivis Vasquez (21) and forward Luis Scola (4) react after leading in the fourth quarter against the Indiana Pacers during second half at Barclays Center. The Nets won 103-94.Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 28, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Greivis Vasquez (21) and forward Luis Scola (4) react after leading in the fourth quarter against the Indiana Pacers during second half at Barclays Center. The Nets won 103-94.Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets signed general manager Sean Marks to a deal last February, and he cleaned house and is starting fresh. When rebuilding, the point guard position was a gaping hole with Deron Williams and Jarrett Jack gone. Jeremy Lin was a nice signing, but is this position a weak spot for the Nets?

When Sean Marks took the helm as GM of the Brooklyn Nets after Billy King got reassigned, the first two things he did was buy out both Deron Williams and Joe Johnson. The Nets had Jarrett Jack, who is not the greatest point guard in the league, but he played pretty well. Jack then went down with an injury, leaving Shane Larkin to run the point.

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In the offseason, Marks filled the hole D-Will left with Jeremy Lin. After signing head coach Kenny Atkinson, getting Lin seemed like a great option, as Atkinson is largely responsible for “Linsanity” with the Knicks. As every Nets fan knows, Lin has been out almost all year with hamstring injuries.

As a backup, Marks signed Greivis Vasquez to a deal. Vasquez, though, had ankle surgery the previous year, and anyone that watches basketball knows how difficult ankle injuries can really be for a player.

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Needless to say, the ankle never quite recovered the way anyone had hoped and planned, so the Nets were forced to release Vasquez. This made room for the undrafted rookie out of Indiana, Yogi Ferrell.

Ferrell has spent a majority of this season down with the Long Island Nets in the D-League. In the time he has spent with Brooklyn, though, he has shown flashes of a good point guard. He has good command of the floor and he is a good passer. Despite the flashes, Ferrell is not quite developed enough for the big leagues, so Brooklyn has been experimenting with other options.

Jan 10, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Atlanta Hawks forward Mike Muscala (31) drives to the basket as Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie (8) defends during second half at Barclays Center. The Hawks won 117-97. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Other Options

The first option when Lin went down was to put Sean Kilpatrick at the point. Kilpatrick did not last long there, as Coach Atkinson realized he is not quite a point guard. Next up was rookie Brooklynite Isaiah Whitehead.

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Whitehead does not have too much experience running the point, as he played the two guard position for most of his time at Seton Hall. His last season there, though, he did run the point. Despite being their point guard, Whitehead was still more of a scorer.

This season, Whitehead’s shot has not quite been there, and he has started to develop into a nice point guard for Brooklyn. He can command the floor and is making wiser decisions than he did at the beginning of the season, especially in the first Bulls matchup on Halloween.

As of now, that leaves just Whitehead as the team’s point guard. Brooklyn has made two signings to try and boost the point guard position a little, with natural point guards, and not a converted one.

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Spencer Dinwiddie was signed by Brooklyn a few weeks back, and his contract just got guaranteed the other day. Dinwiddie has been serving as the primary backup to Whitehead the past few games and has played pretty well. Dinwiddie is nowhere near being a starter in this league, but Brooklyn is giving him a fair look.

Brooklyn is now left with Whitehead, a converted point guard, and Dinwiddie, a developing NBA player that performed well in the D-League. With no timetable for Lin’s return to the lineup, Brooklyn is in need of some help at the point guard position. Whitehead is good for now, but he still has work to do to be considered a point guard and reach his potential.

Feb 19, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets new general manager Sean Marks speaks to the media during a press conference before a game against the New York Knicks at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Final Thoughts

When signing Vasquez, Marks settled for having Lin and Vasquez being the primary point guards. Marks knew Whitehead could run the point, and he also knew that Ferrell could play if needed. Looking back, Marks may have wanted to sign a more durable option other than Vasquez when planning this team.

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The rookies in Whitehead and Dinwiddie have the potential to be good point guards in this league, but Brooklyn needs someone with experience running the point right now. The turnovers are too plentiful, as they lead the league in turnovers per game. The shot selection is not the best. The assist numbers are too low.

This is a year for developing players and the team, but Marks should have found a better option other than Vasquez to run the point if Lin went down. Luckily for Brooklyn, Whitehead is learning pretty quickly and is sufficient for now. Whitehead’s development did take time, though, and it could have been faster if he had some veteran presence teaching him on the court. Lin does teach, but Lin does not play, making it harder for him to properly teach Whitehead.

Regardless of Whitehead’s development, Marks did not plan too well for the point guard situation in Brooklyn. In the same vein, no one expected Lin to go down so early and for so long. Vasquez could have been predicted, Lin could not have. Here is to player development and for searching the D-League.

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