Ice Cube’s Big3 league just wrapped up its first season. After a successful summer run, pundits are already talking about next season. Some players proved they can still ball in the professional 3-on-3 league. Can one of them make the jump to the NBA?
The Brooklyn Nets are looking at former Boston Celtic Jared Sullinger. Sullinger is a beastly rebounder but lacks the defensive chops and the motor to reach his potential as a once heralded potential lottery pick.
The Nets are looking at Sullinger as somewhat of a reclamation project. He had a downright awful season last year due to injuries and just poor play in general.
How did the last reclamation project go? Ask Anthony Bennett
More from Nothin’ But Nets
The Nets took a chance last offseason with Bennett, signing him to a guaranteed deal. Bennett didn’t play particularly badly, but his defensive deficiencies convinced the Nets that they were better off without him.
Sullinger came into the league with lower expectations than Bennett. To be fair, Sullinger did have several productive seasons with the Celtics. He proved to be a great rebounder. Is he the big man the Nets need to round out their roster?
He could be. The team is looking at adding him. However, there may be a better option. Better yet, that option just led his team to a championship.
Hear me out. Kenyon Martin should be considered for the backup big man role.
Critics will point to Martin’s age and how it doesn’t match up with the Nets timeline. They may wonder why signing a 39-year-old is even a thought for a team in the beginning stages of a rebuild.
Martin, though, is likely a better option than Sullinger in the short-term. For the role both would be asked to play, Martin is likely a much better option, in fact.
Sullinger isn’t going to be a long-term answer for the Nets. Players like him are becoming harder to find a role for. He lacks the 3-point prowess to be a stretch four and isn’t athletic enough to cover most modern day power forwards, many of which are wings with the length to play the four.
While Sullinger could potentially serve as a small-ball center, he would just be taking time away from rookie Jarrett Allen. Allen is the center of the future for Brooklyn. Timofey Mozgov is the center for now.
Martin would be a perfect energy fill-in off the bench. He could spell Mozgov for spurts, providing the rim-protection and toughness that is lacking for the Nets at the moment.
More importantly, Martin could serve as a role model and mentor for Allen. Allen is a player in the mold of Martin. He lacks a sweet stroke but projects to be a defensive stud and a pick-and-roll finisher.
Martin’s influence can extend to the entire Nets locker room as well. He can bring the competitive edge out of all of his potential teammates and probably still furiously finish lobs from guys like Jeremy Lin and D’Angelo Russell.
As a former Net legend who went to two straight NBA Finals, Martin’s word certainly holds weight. His word holds additional weight due to the fact that he is coming off of a Big3 championship and a perfect record as the captain of his team.
ESPN already seems to think that Trilogy can defeat the Nets. Adding the Big3 champion’s best player should theoretically make Brooklyn a better team.
In a small role, Martin actually could make an impact. Perhaps he is worth a look now, or later in the season if the team proves to be competitive.
The team has no incentive to lose. Nets players want to make the playoffs. Having a defensive anchor who can still body up his man and finish lobs can only help, even if he doesn’t play much.
Martin is worth a look. The Nets can (and have) done worse.