Jason Terry: The former Arizona Wildcat standout is coming off his worst year in the Association, and I don’t even think he’d argue that with you. In his lone season with the Celtics, the 2009 Sixth Man of the Year averaged a paltry 10.1 points, dished out 2.5 assists and only stole the ball 0.8 times per game. All three are career lows if you exclude his rookie season. It was assumed that he would step up when Rajon Rondo went down with a season-ending injury, but that didn’t happen. Now with the Nets, he has new life. He will continue to play the bench role, but an off-season to work on his game could really do him wonders. Coach Kidd will be the perfect fit for Terry’s playing style and that should translate to statistical improvements. Don’t expect the ’09 numbers that garnered him league-wide praise, but with limited scoring punch off the Nets bench, he should have no problem putting up 12 to 13 points-per-game. He can be a very streaky 3-point shooter, and when the triples are falling in bunches, you’ll be glad you kept him in mind toward the late rounds of your draft.
Deron Williams: This is a dream scenario for owners who plan on drafting D-Will to fill the point guard spot on their roster. Since getting shipped east from Utah, Williams’s owners have been less than thrilled with the numbers he’s posted. As a member of the Nets he’s shooting an abysmal 40% from the field, compared to 46% when he was with the Jazz. This can easily be attributed to a huge increase in 3-point shots taken. In Utah he launched 3.4 threes a game, but with NJ/Brooklyn he’s jacking up an astounding 5.6 attempts a night. The increase in shots taken from beyond the arc has lowered all of his percentages and really hurt his game. Not only that, but the one thing that was a D-Will staple, his assists, hit an all-time low last year, where he bottomed out at 7.7 dishes per game. This is not what a fantasy owner, nor a real life coach, wants to see from their floor general. With Jason Kidd, one of the best point guards in NBA history, at the helm, and experienced players like Pierce, Garnett and Terry in the fold, I expect Williams’s assists to climb back up to double-digits.
Brook Lopez: Lopez has always flown under the radar in fantasy circles and last year was another example of that. Because of many injury concerns he fell much later in most drafts, but owners who decided to gamble on him were rewarded heftily. The 5th-year pro averaged 19.4 points, 6.9 rebounds, a career-high 2.1 blocks and his ever improving jumper is going to continue to make him an even deadlier force on offense. He had a brief scare with a foot injury that caused him to miss some time, yet came back better than ever. The lack of rebounds that he’s provided from the center position is always a concern, but his shot blocking output makes up for that. I think his rebounding totals will improve this year, as Garnett and Evans, who is coming off a breakout year on the boards, will draw defenses away from him on many plays. With or without the numbers on the glass, he’s still a top ten center and should be drafted accordingly.
Joe Johnson: Last year was one to forget for the 6-time NBA All-Star from the University of Arkansas. Deemed the reason the Nets were unable to afford Dwight Howard, there were lots of expectations put on him in Brooklyn, but he was off his game in 2012-13. His 16.3 points-per-game and 42.3% FG were the lowest totals he’s finished with since his ’03-’04 season with Phoenix. With this trade, the pressure has presumably been lifted, and he should be able to regain some of his old form. He is another player who has been plagued with numerous ailments in recent years, but if he can remain healthy, he may quietly benefit more than others on this remodeled roster. He is a player very much in the Paul Pierce mold — a shooter who passes well and can rebound. There’s a good chance that he’ll often be the fourth or fifth option in this offense, and because of that we could see a bump in his assists and rebounding, as well as better shot selection, all numbers that fell off the map for him last year.