The Nets' rotation took another jolt over the weekend.
Kris Humphries, who was exiled by P.J. Carlesimo in much the same way he was exiled by Kim Kardashian, appeared on the court Saturday night against the Clippers. He played 10 minutes, engaged in a jump ball with former brother-in-law Lamar Odom to the amusement of everybody and then mostly watched as the Nets blew a lead in the fourth quarter to get run off the court by the home team.
Humphries' return continued on Sunday night in Phoenix and he put up a season-high 17 points to help the Nets outlast the Suns 102-100 after leading by 12 at the half and as many as 16 overall. The Nets obviously needed every one of those points to beat a Suns team playing without their best forward and one of their best reserves up front, although his presence wasn't enough to help Brooklyn avoid an embarrassingly huge edge in offensive rebounding for the Suns.
The difference between two nights for the Nets can't be the difference in Humphries' output. You can't win consistently in the NBA if your team relies on getting something from a forward who had been benched for weeks, but we've just about given up on the Nets doing anything consistently.
Deron Williams brings it pretty much every night at this point in the season, dishing out plenty of assists on nights when his shot isn't falling and pretty much checking the boxes he needs to check. Brook Lopez had a brief moment when he fell out of favor, but the All-Star has been a reliable source of strong offense and hideous rebounding all year long.
Beyond that, though, the Nets are like a box of chocolates. Maybe Joe Johnson plays, maybe he sits, maybe he hits his shots, maybe he doesn't but the one thing that's clear is that relying on Johnson to do anything more than be a third banana is a waste of time this season.
Gerald Wallace, Keith Bogans, Andray Blatche and C.J. Watson all join Johnson and Humphries into the pile of players whose ever-shifting performance winds up informing the Nets' results in various ways since Carlesimo's rotations remain a nightly guessing game. The former is a problem all teams need to deal with, but the latter is one the Nets should have figured out by now.
The lack of identity can be linked directly to that lack of rigidity when it comes to playing times and roles since the Nets don't know from night to night who they can count on to make plays. On Sunday it was Humphries, but the Nets need something a little more certain to finish off the games against the good teams.