The Brooklyn Nets are out of the NBA playoffs, much to the surprise of the NBA world. They had the most talented team in the NBA by far and yet could not progress past the second round of the playoffs. Kevin Durant was a force to be reckoned with averaging 35.2 PPG during the postseason, but he had little help outside of an injured James Harden.
With Kyrie Irving missing the entire series against the Milwaukee Bucks, the Nets faltered without enough help. Looking ahead to next season, Brooklyn still have 3 superstars under contract and some moves to make to ensure an NBA Finals appearance. With the offseason coming up shortly, here are the 10 players the Nets can sign to improve their depth and ensure a stronger title challenge next season.
10. Marc Gasol
Marc Gasol isn't the same player he was with Memphis and it showed this season. The Spanish center only averaged PPG and RPG for the Lakers and was immediately relegated to the bench after the signing of Andre Drummond. With the Lakers losing in the first round this season, Gasol could be leaving Los Angeles.
Even if Gasol only plays 20 minutes per game. He is a big body in the paint who can improve Brooklyn's interior defense. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez were effective in the paint because of a lack of bigs this season, but Gasol can fix that.
9. Hassan Whiteside
Hassan Whiteside is another big who can plug in the hole in the paint. Young center Nic Claxton has potential but he wasn't given enough minutes in the postseason. Perhaps head coach Steve Nash doesn't trust him enough, but he might trust Whiteside more.
Whiteside is a 2-time Blocks champion but at age 32, he won't be the same player he used to be. But he can still defend the rim and give the Nets some resistance against the best inside scorers in the NBA.
8. Dwight Howard
Dwight Howard won an elusive NBA championship with the Los Angeles Lakers last year, and he played valuable minutes for the team during the regular season and the postseason. The Lakers needed a big who can rebound and defend, and Brooklyn could use that as well.
Howard's veteran experience will be invaluable to the Nets who need size and leadership. Howard is very capable of starting or coming off the bench while he can mentor the likes of Nic Claxton while providing depth behind DeAndre Jordan.
7. J.J. Redick
Redick only averaged 4.4 PPG on 11.3 MPG this season and has been relegated to a sporadic bench role. But even if he comes in the game for the Brooklyn Nets and hits at least one three-pointer, he has proven his worth to the contending team.
Redick is one of the greatest shooters in NBA history and could have been very useful while Joe Harris was going cold during the series against the Bucks. Redick is one of the best players moving off the ball and can make a killing alongside Durant, Harden, and Irving on a veteran's minimum contract.
6. Josh Hart
Josh Hart isn't the biggest name in the NBA but his size and length make him a solid two-way player on the perimeter. Hart averaged 9.2 PPG and 8.0 RPG while playing above-average defense this year. He can certainly be a solid contributor behind Kevin Durant on the depth chart.
Josh Hart does a lot on the floor and does not have a glaring weakness outside of his inconsistent free-throw shooting. Still, Hart drained a career-high 77.5% from the stripe and has consistently shown improvements in his all-around game.
5. Alex Caruso
Backup point guard Alex Caruso has greatly improved his value around the league with his play over the past two seasons. Caruso was pivotal for the Lakers' championship run last year and was a solid two-way player this season. Averaging 6.4 PPG this season, Caruso is ready for a jump.
Caruso brings toughness and defense to a Brooklyn Nets team that seemed inconsistent in those areas. Caruso also brings another popular player to the most talented team in the NBA, which would create even more memes than exist already.
4. T.J. McConnell
McConnell doesn't always make the game look pretty but he is extremely effective. He plays terrific defense and can bring toughness to any team he plays for. McConnell averaged 8.6 PPG and 6.6 APG while also chipping in with 1.9 SPG.
Brooklyn need a backup point guard who can defend while Irving is on the bench and McConnell is the perfect fit. McConnell played 26.0 MPG this season and has shown he can be a valuable role player for title-contending teams. With McConnell playing 26 minutes a game, Brooklyn's perimeter defense has a chance to improve quite drastically.
3. Will Barton
Will Barton has been a valuable member of the Denver Nuggets but he might be more effective for the Brooklyn Nets. Barton is terrific on defense, runs the break very well, and can hit the outside shot. Barton averaged 12.7 PPG in 31.0 MPG for the Nuggets.
Brooklyn needed some scoring help with Irving and Durant injured in the postseason, something Barton does at an above-average level. With Barton's athleticism and two-way play, the Nets can continue to build the most talented team in the NBA.
2. Kevin Love
Kevin Love will likely never be an All-Star again, but that is ok. Blake Griffin had a rejuvenated season with Brooklyn this year and Kevin Love can do it also. Love only averaged 12.2 PPG and 7.4 RPG this year but these numbers would be enough to make the Nets champions next season.
Love is crafty on defense and his spot-up shooting would make Brooklyn even more unstoppable. Love can share small-ball center minutes with Blake Griffin while giving Brooklyn more options when DeAndre Jordan or Nic Claxton aren't needed. Love's championship experience would also be another massive plus.
1. Montrezl Harrell
Montrezl Harrell is likely out the door with the Los Angeles Lakers. He only played 22.9 MPG this season, averaging 13.5 PPG and 6.2 RPG. Those numbers dipped tremendously in the postseason, averaging 5.8 PPG and 2.5 RPG in 9.8 MPG.
Harrell was clearly not needed in Los Angeles and he could be better off as a member of the Brooklyn Nets. Brooklyn needed a tough interior defender who can score and rebound, along with physical toughness. Montrezl Harrell is only one year removed from a 6th Man of the Year Award, so he has star potential as the best possible target for the Brooklyn Nets.