Projected Opening Day Starting Five
Point Guard: Donnie McGrath
Shooting Guard: Carrick Felix
Small Forward: Gary Forbes
Power Forward: Beau Beech
Center: Egidijus Mockevicius
How Did They Do Last Year?
The Long Island Nets will enter the 2016-17 season as an expansion team that was created by the Brooklyn Nets in April, 2016. Over the off-season, Brooklyn tried to build Long Island’s team infrastructure by hiring Alton Byrd to be the VP of Business Operations for the D-League squad. Following that, Byrd hired 26-year-old former Butler guard Ronald Nored to be the head coach of Long Island.
How Will They Do This Year?
Heading into their inaugural season, Long Island seems to have a solid core in place to be a competitive team in the NBADL’s Atlantic Division. Ever after Brooklyn called up former Indiana guard Yogi Ferrell, the Nets will have a solid core featuring a mix of D-League/international veterans and former college studs. With the absence of Ferrell, the Nets will need to work as a cohesive unit as they don’t have a real go-to player that can take over the team. While that may give the Nets some initial struggles as they try to mesh as a cohesive unit, they should have success once they can put those issues behind them.
That optimism is due to most members of the Nets having their own strengths that they bring to the team. In regards to their backcourt, Donnie McGrath and Carrick Felix are both veteran talents that can bring experience to the team. McGrath has spent his last few seasons playing with several high-ranked Euroleague and ACB squads where he had plenty of success. Meanwhile, Felix will return to the NBADL after taking a hiatus during the 2015-16 season. During his time in the D-League with Canton and Santa Cruz, Felix averaged 10.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.29 assists per game on 44% from the field.
Transitioning into the front-court which will be led by two rookies in Beau Beech and Egidijus Mockevicius. Beech is a 6’9 forward from North Florida that stands as your prototypical stretch-four that shot 42% from beyond the arc on 6.7 attempts per game during his senior season. Meanwhile, Mockevicius spent his college career at Evansville as a dominating inside presence that can work on both ends of the court. That was directly apparent during his senior season where he averaged 15.7 points, 14 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game on 64% from the field.
Who Is Most Likely Called Up?
The answer to this question is probably Egidijus Mockevicius, as NBA teams are always looking for strong bigs that can contribute on both ends of the court. If we’re going off by his work at Evansville, Mockevicius can contribute through post-ups, off-ball cuts and offensive rebounds on the offensive end. On the other end of the court, Mockevicious is a strong defensive presence that can deny anycut from the opposition.
Most Likely Assignee?
This is a hard question to answer because the Nets roster is filled with former D-Leaguers and young prospects that would probably be D-League assignees if they were with any other team. However, with the Brooklyn Nets, they’re right in the team’s rotation and playing significant minutes. However, one Nets prospect that will be seeing some playing in the D-League is Chris McCullough. At this point, Brooklyn has assigned McCullough to Long Island multiple times to get an extra practice or two to continue working on his all-around game. McCullough stands as a player that just needs more seasoning. Realistically, he’ll get that with the Long Island Nets.
Will Yogi Ferrell Return To Long Island?
On Wednesday afternoon, the Brooklyn Nets announced that they have called up Yogi Ferrell to replace the oft-injured Greivis Vasquez. Mere hours after that, Ferrell played in their game against the Knicks, where he put up five points and three assists in thirteen minutes. In the next week or so, Ferrell should play an integral role in the Nets rotation as he’s one of the lone point guards on the Nets that are actually healthy. However, Jeremy Lin is expected to be returning to the team in a little over the week, which likely push Ferrell to the end of the bench. At that point, it would make sense for the Nets to at least assign Ferrell to the D-League where he can get the kind of playing time that he wouldn’t get with Brooklyn.