Tag Archives: New Jersey Nets

No Sleep ‘Till Brooklyn. (And Dwight?)

The Nets certainly have a owner who is most likely to go down as the greatest rapper ever and an owner most likely to have someone killed in a Siberian prison.

What can you say about the Nets? They definitely had, and still are having one of the most interesting off seasons of any NBA team. Deron Williams broke for Turkey during the lock out, then came back and had his number retired after playing 15 games with Besiktas of the Turkish Basketball League. The Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov has decided to try his hand in electoral politics by challenging Vladimir Putin for the presidency of Russia, Kris Humphries married, divorced and then had one of his minions attack a Kardashian all in a span of four months and Dwight Howard rumors are flying all over New Jersey especially with the big man placing the Nets in a list of four teams on his free agent ‘wish list’.

But what does all this really have to do with the basketball team head coach Avery Johnson will be tasked with leading this season? Well some of it helps (D-Will coming back, possibilities of Howard) and some of it is just superfluous (the presidential run and anything related to Kris Humphries). Either way Nets basketball is certainly on the up after years of circling the NBA toilet.

"This could work right? Right?!" - New Jersey Nets Fans

It’s still uncertain how long D-Will’s stay in New Jersey is going to be as he can opt out at the end of this season (let’s hope if he does

New Jersey doesn’t embarrass themselves by retiring his number) but as long as they have him, he is unquestionably the best player on this team. Williams is one of the top five point guards in the NBA (the list in order being Paul, Rose, Williams, Westbrook and Rondo). Williams only averaged 15 points per game as a member of the Nets last season but he also had a jump to 12.8 assists per game after coming over from Utah. Expect to see his scoring numbers go up and for his assists numbers to hover at 10. The offense is going to run totally through him and that’s something he is comforatable  after averaging over 18 points per game in his last four and a half years with Utah as it’s primary option. They definitely need him to score more as the Nets were 28th in scoring last season.

Williams will get some help in the back court from Jordan Farmar, a decent back up point guard who has championship pedigree, Anthony Morrow who was able to score respectably last year.  The Nets first round draft pick, MarShon Brooks out of Providence also adds some depth to the front court. If anything he should help a team that doesn’t score much as he averaged over 24 points per game last year with the Friars. The Netshave also made some changes on the wings cutting Travis Outlaw in exchange for Shawne Williams who is a decent long range shooter (40.1 percent from three last year).

On the blocks the Nets have found another player to build around in Brook Lopez. Lopez is still developing but is clearly one of the better young power forward/centers in the game. He can obviously score (20.4 points per game alst season) but he needs to improve in the rebounding game and defensively from last season when his rebounds per game dropped to 6.0. You can’t win many basketball games when your primary rebounder can only grab half a dozen boards a game. After Lopez the Nets are razor thin in the front court. Kris Humphries surprisingly averaged 10.4 rebounds per game but adds little offensively or defensively, so unless he goes on a vengeful tear after his public divorce he’s not giving much. The Nets recently journeyman signed Shelden Williams to help but after watching him play for the Celtics that’s not really that much help. (Also since when is Shelden Williams known as the Landlord? I didn’t think guys who couldn’t scrape together more minutes than the length of a Pixar movie in a whole season could get a nickname.) Obviously Dwight Howard clears these issues right up but until then, they

Can you believe that the guy on the left led the Nets in rebounding last season? He's going to be doing more of the same this year in more ways than one. Bada Bing!

have to deal with what they have which is Lopez and little else.

Best Case Scenario- 36-28, 2nd in the Atlantic

The Nets get Dwight Howard and then basically become what Orlando has been the past few years, a strong team with little championship potential.

Worst Case Scenario- 22-44, 4th in the Atlantic

Dwight Howards comes to his senses and realizes noones wants to play in New Jersey even if it’s only for a season until they move to

Brooklyn. Additionally Deron Williams pushes for a trade all year leaving Brook Lopez to carry a team to another cellar dwelling season.

How They’ll Actually Finish- 31-35, 4th in the Atlantic

It’s tough to make a real prediction without knowing where Dwight is headed but if he doesn’t head to New Jersey this team is too thin to contend with more talented squads in New York, Boston and Philadelphia.

-Phil

Think the Nets are going to get Dwight Howard? Are the Nets are a legit playoff team or just another stop on the Deron Williams World Tour? Let us know on Twitter (@seeuinoctober) or sound off in the comments.

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Major Market Meltdown

One of the two biggest pieces expected to move this season had his bags packed and was prepared to move to Los Angeles when the league stepped in and vetoed the trade. The Lakers had previously stated they were willing to trade everyone outside of Kobe Bryant to land Chris Paul and Dwight Howard and it appeared they crossed one item off their Christmas list. Sending Lamar Odom to New Orleans and Pau Gosol to Houston as part of a three team deal that would also give the Hornets Kevin Martin seemed like a good deal for all those involved outside of perhaps Los Angeles. With ownership of the Hornets it was commissioner David Stern who vetoed the trade based on the trade being a bad basketball decision.

Stern felt immense pressure from small market owners who felt the tail still wagged the dog as a superstar voiced his plans to form yet another big (cp)3. Does this mean that the Knicks and Celtics have no chance in landing the point guard? It certainly looks that way.

With Tyson Chandler on the way, could Amar'e be on the move? (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images North America)

Knicks Rumors

There is no way the Knicks can match the proposed deal from the Lakers, unless of course they send Amar’e Stoudemire to the Bayou. The latest rumour running around the mill in the frenzied shortened free agency is Tyson Chandler, fresh off a championship run, wants to sign with New York. Chandler was a huge difference maker on that Dallas team last year and owner Mark Cuban isn’t interested in paying him what Golden State or the Knicks are willing to pay the center. What would the Knicks do after signing Chandler? Chauncey Billups and Ronny Turiaf would most likely be out to clear cap room for the big money deal through either the amnesty clause (If owners succeed in pushing through a “hard” salary cap – or a soft cap at a much lower number, teams would be given a one-time opportunity to remove a contract from the salary cap as a way to help reduce payroll.) or via trades.

With Billups gone the Knicks would be in the market for someone to run the point. CP3 has publicly stated his desire to sign his long term deal with the Knicks, but it appears whoever wants him will have to trade for him this season. The Knicks roster was gutted last season when acquiring Carmelo Anthony, so there isn’t much value. Rumor has it the Knicks would be willing to give up a superstar in exchange for a superstar by trading Amar’e. Knicks fans are outraged by the mere notion of trading Stoudemire after an exciting first season that included a playoff run.

Could Superman fly into Jersey? (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)

Nets Rumors

Despite the insistence of center Dwight Howard that he will only play in warm weather, ESPN’s Chris Broussard reports that Superman’s representatives told the Nets, New Jersey is his top choice. The Nets would give up center Brook Lopez along with two first round picks to get the NBA defensive player of the year for the past three years running. New Jersey is also willing to take on the contract of Hedo Trukoglu from the Magic. Not a bad salary dump.

-Erik

Should the Knicks trade Amar’e to get CP3? How good will the potential addition of Dwight Howard make the Nets? Bad idea trading Lopez because it blows up the “Brook’s in Brooklyn” ad campaign? Let us know what you think via our twitter (@seeunioctober) or leave us a comment.

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The Other Lockout

Stern Look. Ha!

Nobody liked the NFL lockout. It meant listening to a lot of legal jargon on ESPN when all you want to see was the Top 10. It meant months of seeing b-roll of guys walking into buildings in New York in suits looking disgruntled. It meant listening to press conferences where both sides talk about all the progress when what they really mean is nothing has happened. It meant confusing feelings about the NFL draft. It meant a whole lot of negative feelings towards the NFL.

So what did the NBA decide? Well we have to have one of those!

Today the NBA postponed training camps which were originally scheduled to begin on October 5, and cancelled 43 preseason games, which makes it almost certain that some of the regular season will be missed.

The lockout is going to have drastic repercussions for the league itself. The NBA has risen in popularity to a higher spot than since Jordan sunk that jumper over Byron Russell. The signature franchises (Boston, Los Angeles, New York) are relevant. There has been a huge influx of young and exciting talent (Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin to name a few). One of the most polarizing teams in recent memory is keeping interest high (the Miami Heat). On top of that is the loss of millions in ticket/merchandise sales. The NBA has just about everything going for it. Everything except agreement between the players and owners.

But the lockout won’t just have negative effects on the league as a whole but individual teams and those here in the Northeast are no exception.

Tick Tick Tick

Aging in Boston

33. 35. 36. No that’s not how many points Dirk Nowitski scored in the finals in Games 1 through 3 last season. That is the age’s of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen respectively. The Big Three Party isn’t as fresh as it once was. It already began to show in the past few years with Kevin Garnett continuing to battle injuries since messing up his knee in 2009. Pierce, although putting up his most efficient statistical year last season, is no longer as athletic as he once was and struggled getting to the hoop against athletic defenders like LeBron James last season. Ray Allen might be the least banged up and can still hit threes like Floyd Mayweather can hit a defenseless boxer, but every year makes him a step slower than the other two-guards in the league.

Even with the injuries and aging the Celtics have remained competitive since winning the title in 2008, and if Kendrick Perkins had played in Game 7 of the 2010 finals the Celtics may have gotten another title. They remain a contender but losing a year could destroy their title chances.

The Celtics have a fantastic young point guard in Rajon Rondo. Rondo makes passes other point guards couldn’t pull off against their younger siblings. He has great hands, is lightning quick on defense and has really shown leadership and toughness with Celtics. He played with one arm in the playoffs against the Heat last season and still put up numbers. However outside of Rondo where’s the youth movement in Boston?

Jeff Green proved last year he is in no way the wingman of the future. Green consistently lacked confidence and shrunk in big moments. When he was on the court the team’s offense stalled leaving it to Pierce and Allen to score all the points. When they’re gone is Green going to change that?

Big Baby Davis gives huge helpings of effort but is not athletic enough nor talented enough to be a starting power forward.  The Celtics can’t rely on him once Garnett finally throws in the towel. There is also Avery Bradley and rookie JaJuan Johnson, but Bradley played limited minutes last season and Johnson hasn’t even seen an NBA court yet.

Half Season lost- Here’s an interesting wrinkle. A half season might actually be better than a full season for the Celtics. The team already has amazing chemistry with Garnett leading the locker room so missing some training camp won’t hurt them as much as other teams. The Celtics were 32-9 through their first 41 games last season, and although they had Perkins at the time, having fresh players certainly had something to do with it. Whose to say that losing some of the grind of a full season wouldn’t help the Celtics?

Full Season lost- The Celtics still remain very much reliant on their Big Three. If the NBA loses an entire season the clock, or perhaps grandfather clock is more accurate, on the Celtics title hopes may just reach midnight.

That Guy on the Right? He Should Be Chris Paul.

New Face Knicks

What will the lockout mean for the boys in MSG? That is a lot less clear cut than for their Atlantic division foes to the North.

The Knicks made two huge moves last season signing Amar’e Stoudemire before the beginning of the season and trading for Carmelo Anthony during the season. So offense was no issue for the team. Defense? Well that’s another story. Mike D’Antoni teams have never put much value in defense so that’s unsurprising. D’Antoni’s contract is up after this year and thus far the Knicks have not offered him an extension. Not a very good sign. After this year the Knicks may go out and get a defensive minded coach similar to what the Bulls did with Tom Thibodeau. If a coach can come in and drill some defense into this team they can seriously contend, not just make the playoffs and get swept out by a better coached and more balanced team.

The Knicks are also looking forward to the 2012 free agent summer. Although they’ve already added two superstars, they are still missing a point guard for the future. Chauncey Billups was a decent filler, but has more than lost a step. I wonder if there is a point guard in the 2012 class who is young, talented and can play defense? I wonder if there is a point guard who put on a show in the playoffs last season cementing him as a top point guard in the league? I wonder if that same point guard has expressed serious interest in playing in New York? I wonder if you understand I’m talking about Chris Paul? CP3 would be an amazing pickup for the Knicks. With teams like the Heat building super teams by taking pay cuts, what’s not to say Paul could do the same in New York and re-create the Knicks-Heat rivalry of the nineties, although instead of overly physical brawls it would be high-octane, athleticism fueled contests. A seven game series between those two teams would be instant ESPN Classic fare.

The only concern with Chris Paul is a history of injury issues. A year off from NBA competition may allow him to fully heal and make him that much more dangerous for whatever team he goes to in 2012, including the Knicks.

Half Season lost- Losing half a season is no good for the Knicks. Would they win a lot of games? Yes. Would they make the playoffs? Yes. Would they really contend for a title? No. Losing half a season takes away any continuity that could have come from last season. The team’s chemistry still looked suspect last year, especially in the playoffs. Not playing together for half a season and missing full training camps would not help. Also this Knicks team is not built to win a title yet. They are a very good team and exciting to watch and have finally made Spike Lee have something to cheer about again, but until they add some defense and a real point guard, which they can’t really do in a half season, they’re not title contenders.

Full Season lost- No team in the NBA wants to lose an entire season to this lockout. However the Knicks wouldn’t totally lose everything by not playing this season. Losing a whole season doesn’t help the Knicks continue to improve on last seasons breakthroughs but Melo and Amr’e aren’t going anywhere. Chris Paul would get a year to heal, although let’s not jump the gun. The last time the Knicks thought they were going to land a huge free agent that would lead them to a title he ended up shipping off to South Beach. D’Antoni goes and the Knicks can start with a clean slate. All in all not too shabby.

Turkey Isn't Exactly Where Nets Fans Want This Guy.

No Sleep ‘Till Istanbul?

The Nets are already in a transitional period. They were bought by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, who already showed he’s willing to make big moves when he traded for Deron Williams last season. Plus the Nets will be moving to Brooklyn some point in the future. Jay-Z also has a part ownership in the team and that ‘s pretty awesome, although how it helps them basketballwise is unclear. Brook Lopez in a nice power forward to go along with Williams, so a good core has already begun to take shape.

The Nets may have been a playoff team this season if it weren’t for the lockout. However, it’s tough to make the NBA playoffs when your best player is playing in Istanbul.

Deron Williams signed with Besiktas of the Turkish Basketball League and while that may be exciting to crowds in the former Ottoman Empire, it is not for those who live near the Boardwalk Empire. Playing any professional sport comes with some risk of injury and with Williams playing overseas there is no exception. If Williams goes down at any point it could be detrimental to what the Nets are trying to build. Williams is also a free agent after this season so they may not get Williams for more than the half season he played last year.

While other players have jumped on the playing-overseas-trend, few have gone as far as to sign with a team. If Williams goes through with it, he could end up being the only one. This is ultimately a move for leverage in the negotiation process. The players have to prove they don’t need the league and the league tries to do the same to the players. Playing overseas is a terrible solution for fans. Do we really want games to be on in the middle of the afternoon to watch our bigger, stronger, faster players dominate?

Half Season lost- This scenario allows the Nets to work on the core they’ve already built and possibly make moves towards the future. This team is not a championship contender in any way, so they in no way become more dangerous with only half a season but it would get Williams back to New Jersey and allow for a better conversation over his possible resigning. Furthermore a little Prokhorov in the NBA is jut good for everybody, not just the Nets.

Full Season lost- Losing a full season might just lose Deron Williams for the Nets either through injury or free agency. Then the team must begin from scratch and build around Brook Lopez, who is definitely talented, but has not shown that he can be the franchise guy and with teams like New York and Miami building teams with more than one franchise guy it’s tough to see Lopez alone leading the New Jersey (Brooklyn) Nets, or whatever they get renamed, to title contention.

-Phil

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