Brooklyn’s Backup Dilemma

While the big haul for the Nets in their draft night trade with Portland is prized defender Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, the less talked about piece is veteran point guard Steve Blake. Blake, 35, has played for seven teams in his NBA career, not including Brooklyn. He’s known for being a solid backup point guard whose main purpose is to distribute the basketball. Last season for the Trail Blazers, Blake averaged 4.3 points and 3.6 assists while playing 18.9 minutes per game.

But Blake isn’t the only player on the Nets roster whose role is to backup Deron Williams. Jarrett Jack, in his first season in Brooklyn, was responsible for creating offensive opportunities on the floor when Williams was on the bench. The Nets will have to get rid of either Blake or Jack, so let’s analyze who’d be the better fit.

Nets fans are split on Jack. Some think he’s too selfish of a point guard, who often leads the team into wasted possessions with isolation basketball resulting in turnovers. Others believe that he’s a valuable player, who countless times has kept the Nets alive in games with his clutch shot making. Fans on both sides of the spectrum agree that he is inconsistent.

In games when Jack is nailing floaters in the paint, or making defenders pay with his mid-range game, fans are thankful to have such a talent on the roster. But when he makes poor decisions like shooting too early in the shot clock, or relying on his shot making too much, that’s when fans call for him to pack his bags.

Steve Blake on the other hand, is quite the opposite. He isn’t flashy, and never becomes the focal point of the offense. He’s a pass first point guard, who’ll take the wide-open 3. For his career, Blake has shot 39% from 3, 4 percentage points above Jack’s. The problem with Blake, is that if he’s the backup with this current roster, the bench will have a difficult time scoring. Bojan Bogdanovic would have to move back to the bench to make up for the lack of offensive production. But other than him, who else can score? It’s unlikely that both Mirza Teletovic and Alan Anderson will be back, and neither is a particularly consistent scorer.

Steve Blake is a good option if the rest of the bench has at least another solid scorer (in addition to Bogdanovic). If the Nets were to trade Jarrett Jack, they’d have to get back a post scorer, or at least free up some room to sign a player to fill that role. One man that comes to mind is former Net Andray Blatche. Blatche is a crafty big, with an offensive versatility that’s rare for players of his size. However, Blatche’s return may be unlikely due to his shaky work ethic.

In the end, it comes down to how the rest of this roster fills out. As currently constructed, Jarrett Jack should be the one to stay. He handles the ball pretty well, can create shots for himself, but struggles to get others involved. If Brooklyn can get at least one more guy to bolster the offense, then Steve Blake should take over backup duties.

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