In his second game back from a hamstring injury, Durant lit the Nets for 30 on 11-of-18 shooting, plus six rebounds and five assists. It was vintage Durant, a “quiet” 30 that was done methodically with pinpoint precision. The Nets threw young defender Rondae Hollis-Jefferson on Durant from tipoff, trying to let the rookie use some of his tenacious energy to make it difficult on the Thunder’s scoring savant. Durant just saw an opportunity. “I seen fresh meat and I was ready to eat. And I was hungry,” Durant said. “He’s a really, really active defender though, I really like him. Long, athletic. But I seen something in his eyes that I could exploit.”
That’s not stopping the Nets from beefing up their analytics operations. Until recently, Glen DuPaul, the 20-something Director of Analytics, was the only full-time numbers cruncher. He was assisted by an intern. Now, the Nets have decided to add a second full time analyst, advertising on the team jobs site. The Basketball Operations Analyst will be responsible for utilizing analytics to assist the front office and coaching staff. The incumbent will be responsible for recommending process improvement and changes in order to facilitate and maintain efficient and confidential sharing of information that may be deemed sensitive. It is critical the incumbent in this position have the ability and emotional maturity to exercise sound judgment regarding confidential matters and hold a high regard for ethical behavior. The Basketball Operations Analyst will report to the Director of Basketball Analytics.
Vaulet’s future remains unsettled. He could stay in Argentina, move to Europe or be signed by either Brooklyn or its new Long Island Nets D-League team. Under D-League rules, second round picks can sign with a team’s affiliate without counting against the parent club’s roster. He is seen as more of a long term project, but may still be growing and has great length and athleticism although his shooting leaves a lot to be desired. Vaulet said his release and his physique are the two things he needs to most improve. “I know that a development process lies ahead, in trying to reach the United States,” he told Clarin, a Buenos Aires newspaper. “No rushing anything. If it can be next year It will be next year, if it has to be in five years will be in five and you need to be in ten will be in ten. It is now possible, everything will depend on me, my preparation, my development and my enjoyment of the process.”
The salaries of Johnson ($24.8 million) and Jack ($6.3 million) come off the books this summer, giving King a chance to chase a premium free agent with the advantage of selling the New York market. “We took our shot and it didn’t work,” he said. “And now to see some of these guys develop and to get it back and for us to have the cap space [next summer], we can do it pretty quickly. We want to win but we knew we may take a step back when some of the decisions were made. But what I like is we’ve put ourselves in the position to beat a Golden State, we just didn’t make the right plays. That’s just learning how to win. We’re talking the steps.”