Jim Mancari, SNYNets.com
In the Nets' 113-93 win over the Kings on Saturday night, there were stretches of the game in which P.J. Carlesimo played centers Brook Lopez and Andray Blatche on the floor at the same time.Kris Humphries missed the game with injury, so Blatche was the first player off the bench to spell Reggie Evans.
Lopez and Blatche looked great together down low, especially since Blatche was able to stretch the floor with his jump shot.
In an ideal world, Blatche could be inserted into the starting lineup as the power forward to go along with Lopez at center, Gerald Wallace at small forward and of course Joe Johnson and Deron Williams as the guards.
But as of now, the Nets do not have the roster flexibility to pull this off.
So far this season, Blatche has been the team’s backup center, though he was mainly a forward for the Wizards throughout his career. He stands at 6-foot-11, so obviously he has the height of a center.
However, he’s shown such a polished offensive game that the Nets would benefit from having him as a starter. The problem is though if Blatche started, who is the reserve center?
The answer right now is no one.
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Evans and Humphries are power forwards, and both have done a fine job on the glass. But they don’t provide the same offensive potential as Blatche.
Now that C.J. Watson is back and the Nets are getting offensive production from MarShon Brooks and Mirza Teletovic, the second unit could survive without Blatche but only if there was another legitimate center on the roster.
That center wouldn’t necessarily have to be as efficient a shooter as Blatche, but he would instead have to be a force on the glass and defensively.
If Blatche started at power forward, Evans could go back to his role as a reserve, where he thrived earlier in the season. Teletovic, Brooks, Watson and Jerry Stackhouse would lead the “Bench Mob” offensively, while Evans and another center would take care of defensive assignments and rebounding.
That leaves Humphries as the odd man out. Could the Nets somehow find a taker for the “Big Hump” and his big contract?” It certainly would be tough.
But if a trade netted the team a good option as a backup center, Blatche could then move into a starter’s role at power forward.
As the old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” After the 11-4 start, things seemed broken in the month of December, but the team has recovered under Carlesimo, going 5-1 in his first six games as the head coach.
Still, maybe a change like making Blatche a starter is just what this team needs to be more consistent.