Author Archive

#14: Bernard King

Posted on: October 4th, 2011 by Dennis Velasco Comments

 

The amazing Bernard King began his career with the New Jersey Nets, drafted seventh overall in the 1977 NBA Draft from the University of Tennessee. Despite averaging 24.2 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.5 steals in 79 games his rookie season, King lost the NBA Rookie of the Year award to Walter Davis who put up the same number of points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.4 steals. Someone was robbed!

Okay, it was close and Marques Johnson of the Milwaukee Bucks could have also made a case (19.5 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.3 blocks), but the robbery I'm talking about actually took place a year later when the Nets traded King to the Utah Jazz for Rich Kelley after King's second season with the team (21.6 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.4 steals in 82 games). Kelley finished with 7.6 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 0.9 steals and 0.9 blocks for his 11-year career and stuck around New Jersey for a whole 57 games.

Regardless, King is known for being one of the New York Knicks' legendary players and rightly so. In only four seasons with the Knicks, King put up some spectacular performances and was basically unstoppable by other NBA players. He led the league in scoring for the 1984-85 (32.9 PPG). Around these parts, King will always be a Knick and the only thing that could stop him was his own body; King only played six games in his last season with the Knicks in 1986-87 after missing the whole 1985-86 season because of a torn ACL.

If King had found his NBA glory a few decades later with the Nets, imagine how wild and crazy Barclays Center would be as the Brooklyn-born and Fort Hamilton high school product King was announced during starting line-ups. It would trump anything King ever did with the Knicks. Alas, woulda, shoulda, coulda. However, it would have been nice if King stayed with the Nets after two excellent opening NBA seasons, especially when you consider that Kelley didn't stay long or made his presence felt while with the Nets. He could have been (to a much lesser degree), the Nets' new Dr. J, but in the NBA.

I take it back... the Nets weren't robbed. The fans were... again.

 

Other than my duties here on Nets Are Scorching, I also write at The Basketball Jones. Recently, I rounded up some of the best NBA bloggers in the business, our very own Devin Kharpertian included, and conducted an all-time NBA fantasy draft. You can check the particulars and results here. Devin has actually been getting a lot of props in the comments section, so check it!

#18: Kenny Anderson

Posted on: September 29th, 2011 by Dennis Velasco Comments

 

After taking Derrick Coleman first overall the 1990 NBA Draft, the Nets drafted Kenny Anderson 2nd overall a year later in 1991. The two players were supposed to form a destructive duo in the swamps of New Jersey, but instead of popping off, they imploded upon themselves, never to fulfill the potential they had coming into the NBA. Yes, that's the case with most players, but it should've been different for Anderson.

In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Anderson spoke about being afraid to fail:

Anderson developed not a fear of failure but a fascination with it. "I study downfalls," he says. "I've always wanted to know how a player at the top slips off that pedestal. If I look at a guy's stats and I see he only made it to the All-Star Game once in his career, I have to ask around, I have to find out why. Did he start hanging out too late at night? Did he get a big head? Did he start playing just for the paycheck? I want to know all the different ways a guy can start to slide."

It's sad to see that Anderson became "that" guy, only making the All-Star Game once (1994) and fell off his game due to off-the-court issues. It was supposed to be different for Anderson... the high school phenom that became the first ever freshman to be named All-City in New York, the all-time New York high school points leader (2,621) until Sebastian Telfair came along and broke it in 2004, the smooth lefty that had amazing handle and the ability to get to the basket.

Kenny A started his NBA career missing the whole preseason and first three games of his NBA rookie year due to a contract dispute. When he eventually reported to the Nets, head coach Bill Fitch basically was ticked off at Anderson, a player he didn't want from the beginning. So, for whatever reason you want to give, Anderson sat on the bench and learned from starter Mookie Blaylock. It was supposed to be different for Anderson.

In his second season, the legendary Chuck Daly, coach of the back-to-back NBA champion Detroit Pistons' Bad Boys, seemingly came in and saved Anderson from failure. Before the season, the Nets traded Blaylock and gave Anderson the rock. Unfortunately, with the Nets looking good at 30-24, Anderson broke his wrist thanks to the New York Knicks' John Starks and the Nets finished at 43-39 with Anderson off the court he was just beginning to shine on. It was supposed to be different for Anderson.

His third year saw Kenny A become an NBA All-Star, finish fourth in the league in assists (9.6; Mookie Blaylock was third with 9.7) and was the highest-scoring point guard (18.8 PPG) in the L. After such a high, Anderson fell off and only played one-and-a-half more seasons with the Nets before being traded to the Charlotte Hornets. It was then that Anderson became a journeyman, playing with the Portland Trail Blazers, Boston Celtics, Seattle SuperSonics, New Orleans Hornets, Indiana Pacers, Atlanta Hawks and Los Angeles Clippers. It was supposed to be different for Anderson.

But, it wasn't.

Kenny A had all of the talent in the world with a spotty jumper being his main physical flaw. Mentally, he didn't assert himself as a leader as much as he probably should have. His position on the court and production certainly warranted him leading his team. Instead, it was the enigmatic Coleman that led the way for those Nets and that led to the land of "supposed to be different" for both Anderson and the franchise.

Anderson could have been so much more than the cautionary tale he feared, but in the end, maybe he wasn't supposed to be.

 

 

Man-child. If this is not the definition of Brooklyn's sons, then a meaning doesn't exist for the borough's young warriors. New Jersey Nets fans that happen upon Barclays Center next season will feel this in the air if they explore further than the professional court. Born from Brooklyn are numerous urban hoops tales and legends that remain forever young to those that have experienced it first-hand. However, in today's digital world, concrete proof can be had at the click of a button.

Man-child. If you ever stepped on a court in Brooklyn, you know that the court isn't the only thing hard and able to put a hurting on you. Get juked and sprain your ankles on a crossover while defending someone with crazy handle and your ego will hurt for days. For both young and old, pride and respect are the main things fought for on Brooklyn's net-less courts.

Man-child. The fight for respect starts early for ballers and in today's internet-crazed age, it's no longer held prisoner to several pairs of eyes and few exclamations of "Daaaaamn." YouTube is full of dunks launched from the top of the key, dribbling that makes you swear there's a string on the ball, and millions upon millions of views all to sate a thirst to watch greatness with a basketball.

Man-child is one of those instances of greatness.

Brooklyn filmmaker, Ryan Koo, a Webby Award winner and noted up-and-coming filmmaker is looking to put this tale of a young basketball player that feels the pressure on and off the court to the screen. Check the plot:

An amateur video of 13 year-old Terran "TJ" Jackson playing basketball hits the internet and turns his life upside down. TJ is soon nationally ranked among other 7th graders and declared to be "the next Dwayne Wade" despite being in middle school.

As a result of this exposure, free athletic gear and various hangers-on find their way to the doorstep of his small, predominantly-black Christian school. While TJ navigates the religious curriculum -- and simultaneously a sexually active relationship with his girlfriend -- he learns about the youth basketball world and the recruiting machine that powers it. With his newfound fame, he must choose between educational institutes, father figures, and belief systems.

A few years from now TJ could be a millionaire, but right now all he has is basketball. It’s a lot for anyone to handle -- much less a 13 year-old.

It's been too long since we've seen a basketball film that has the potential to touch us beyond our fandom for basketball. Not since Jesus Shuttlesworth have we seen a glimpse of someone like TJ onscreen. As fans of basketball, and hopefully the various human elements, we need to help Man-child get done. Here's a Lookbook if you need to see more:

The movie will be funded through Kickstarter, which is a revolutionary website that helps creatives like Koo get their projects done and put forth to and for the masses. Man-child... forgoing the established studio route and doing it on your own. With your help, this celluloid crossover will make you "ooh" and "aah" like anything else you've seen on the hardwood.

Go to Man-child's Kickstarter page and become a part of history... just like Phil Jackson.

NOTE: I am not affiliated with the movie in any way, other than being a Kickstarter "backer."

#30: Mookie Blaylock

Posted on: September 21st, 2011 by Dennis Velasco Comments

 

In-TEN-sity!

Mookie Blaylock was non-stop intensity. For proof of this, see the above picture during a stretching session. And even if the above was Mookie just having gas, if you've seen his speed, well, it's all relative isn't it? In all seriousness, Blaylock was a lean speedster with quick hands and court presence. Unfortunately, like a lot of Nets, his time with the club didn't see his best years.

As a rookie, Blaylock was perhaps best known for his name and being the second "Mookie" in the city that never sleeps, with the New York Mets' Mookie Wilson being the first (and most-loved). He averaged 10.1 points on 37.1% shooting from the field and 77.8% from the free-throw line, 4.2 assists and 1.6 steals in 25.3 minutes per game that first year (1989-90) with the Nets. His next season saw improvement as Mookie gained experience and was getting more burn - 14.1 points on 41.6% shooting from the floor and 79.0% from the charity stripe, 6.1 dimes and 2.3 thefts in 35.9 minutes per game. Things were looking good for the "other Mookie."

Alas, Blaylock would only play one more season with the Nets (a pretty good one too - 13.8 points, 6.8 assists, 2.4 steals) before being traded to the Atlanta Hawks for, umm, Rumeal Robinson. Robinson, who didn't put a smile on anyone's face after leaving Michigan, only played 97 games over two seasons for New Jersey. What did Mookie do? Set career-highs across the board (17.4 points in 1996-97 and 9.7 assists in 1993-94 as examples), led the NBA in steals twice (2.7 in 1996-97 and 2.6 in 1997-98; finished with a 2.3 career average), made one NBA All-Star game (1994) and was All-Defensive First Team twice (1993-94 and 1994-95) and All-Defensive Team four times (1995-96 season through 1998-99).

3... 2... 1... OUCH!

Oh, and perhaps what Mookie Blaylock is more known for to America, he was the original band name for Pearl Jam. Yes, that Pearl Jam. The one with the lead singer that didn't want to be famous, but invariably became famous because of his proclamations of not wanting to be. It was the formula to become famous that evolved into today's becoming famous for doing nothing. In any case, Bethlehem Shoals wrote an excellent article about Pearl Jam and Mookie on Deadspin that is a must-read.

So, far what we are learning with these Nets rankings is this - it's a painful exercise.

#36: Nate “Tiny” Archibald

Posted on: September 16th, 2011 by Dennis Velasco Comments

 

Disclosure: There aren't many pictures of Nate "Tiny" Archibald in a New York Nets uniform on the internet. So, you get the above slightly off-kilter picture of the NBA Hall of Famer, whose career is most noted for being played with the Boston Celtics and Kansas City-Omaha Kings where he led the league in scoring (34.0 PPG) and assists (11.4 APG) during the 1972-73 season. What did he do for the New York Nets? Excellent question!

Let's be honest here, the Nets are not a shining example of an NBA franchise historically. Okay, fine, in other ways as well. But brighter days are surely ahead! The Nets don't have the legacy the Boston Celtics or Los Angeles Lakers have. Heck, no other NBA franchises really do. The history of the Nets glory days are pretty much limited to a time when Julius 'Dr. J" Erving donned the ABA version of a Nets uni and the Jason Kidd days that we are all longing for with Deron Williams playing the J-Kidd role (but with the NBA championship title enhancement). In other words, the Nets' stature of success is small. "Tiny" if you will.

And that's exactly what Mr. Archibald's tenure with the Nets was - successful, but for only a short period of time.

Archibald took to the court for the Nets for one season (1976-77) before he moved on to the aforementioned Celtics for what was basically the rest of his career. In any case, during this lone Nets season, Tiny averaged 20.5 PPG on 44.6% shooting from the floor and 78.5 from the charity stripe. He added 7.5 APG, 2.4 RPG and 1.7 SPG. Impressive numbers from the 6'1" guard, right? Of course, but in typical Nets fashion, he only did his thing for 34 games that season.

All of the above considered, it's only fitting that I make this particular post short and immediately cut it off here...

Draft Week: Nolan Smith

Posted on: June 20th, 2011 by Dennis Velasco Comments

 

The 2011 NBA Draft will soon be upon us, and the Nets are starting to carve out a list of prospects. This week, Nets are Scorching takes a look at the players the Nets might select.

College Stats: 34.0 MPG, 20.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 5.1 APG, 0.1 BPG, 1.2 SPG, 45.8 FG%, 81.3 FT%, 35.0 3P%

There are two things that you think of almost immediate when you hear/read Nolan Smith's name - jerk and hatred. Okay, maybe that's more from North Carolina fans, but in all seriousness, the two things you think of (or should think) are leadership and basketball IQ. Smith is the rare four-year college player heading into the draft and it's not any sort of regular four years, but four years at the storied Duke program where Smith won a national championship in 2010.

Smith doesn't have any sort of skills or physical ability that jumps out at you, but he's a plethora of non-stop effort, toughness, and doing a bit of everything. During his senior season, Irving took over the point guard position after super-frosh and projected first overall pick, Kyrie Irving, injured himself. Looking at the numbers, Smith did pretty well and garnered Player of the Year consideration, but had to settle for being a First Team All-American.

Smith has the tools to succeed as an NBA point guard, if that position was the old school version. Today's point guards are explosive and can drop 20+ points on the regular, which Smith won't do at the next level. However, with starter minutes and being with the right team, a 14 points/7 assists ceiling is possible. Smith doesn't have any sort of burst, but will get by on his heady decision-making on his shot, whether to attack the rack hard or to throw up a teardrop. He's proven that he could run a team and should continue to improve at the NBA level, despite being a senior and convention saying that the upside is minimal. Not so as Smith wasn't always a point guard exclusively. His experience at the shooting guard position gives Smith some versatility in his game. Defensively, Smith has nice length, good instincts, and can play the passing lanes.

Quotable (on what the NBA wants and what he can give)

"I definitely feel like we're all first-rounders," said Smith. "One, I think that we're all winners and that's what the NBA is looking for. The NBA wants winners and somebody that's going to come and bring a winning attitude and a winning feel to a locker room and to an organization. They're also getting players that can just play the game, can do different things, very versatile... We just want to play basketball and win."

Final Thoughts: Smith is a solid player and will start his career on the bench, which would work out nicely for the Nets. He'd provide solid minutes and if, heaven forbid, Deron Williams should bolt, Smith would be a capable stopgap for the next star point guard the Nets would surely crave. Hopefully it doesn't come to that.

In Jordan Farmar, you have a shoot-first lead guard. Despite being a huge fan of Sundiata Gaines, he still has a lot to prove. Smith is indubitably about team and is more polished than most players coming into the A from college. If he gets a chance to learn from the bench and play against Deron Williams everyday, Smith will learn quickly and just as fast translate that into production.

 

There isn't as much of a buzz this year for the NBA Draft as there was last year when the Nets owned the third overall pick. However, with the 27th overall pick, the Nets could possibly draft a player that can contribute off the bench or even develop down on the farm with the Springfield Armor, possibly making some noise later in the season. So, who might be available?

In my first round mock draft on The Basketball Jones, I have the Nets taking Justin Harper of Richmond. However, he's been fluctuating on other mock drafts and could possibly be gone by the time the Nets pick. What's great about the draft is all of the speculating and seemingly quick movement, up or down, of players. For example, in the same mock draft, I have Marshon Brooks going to the Chicago Bulls with the 28th overall pick. But if a team likes him better than Alec Burks, the projected top shooting guard in the draft, Brooks could possibly be a lottery pick and likely picked in the teens or early 20s.... MORE →

 

Obviously, this is a New Jersey Nets blog, however, the NAS crew absolutely love the NBA in general. So, every week, Mark, Devin, Justin, Danny, Vivek, and/or myself will answer questions regarding the L.

1) Has LeBron James turned a corner? He's had ice water in his veins this postseason, so is this when he becomes legendary? Will he lead the Heat to the promised land?

Mark: How can you turn a corner when you've continually been the best for years? What about the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals against the Detroit Pistons? I know LeBron's teams have flamed out spectacularly the past two years, but if there's been any corner turned it's tied-in to what people have been saying since July. LeBron has legitimate teammates now in Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. He can take over a fourth quarter more easily because he's not the only guy who can kill you. Trust me, I hate this. I hated Superfriends since Day One, though I'm secretly hoping that Nets can replicate it with Dwight Howard and Deron Williams in Brooklyn. But the fact is, anyone who didn't see a Miami postseason run like this is crazy. LeBron is and will be a beast for years, and now he's got two other top 10 players (including a top five guy in Wade) standing right next to him.

Devin: I'm with Mark. The guy's been the best player in the league for years now. Before this year, when everyone decided that hate was worthy and Derrick Rose was God, LeBron James was your two-time reigning MVP and undisputed King. He had hit more than his fair share of clutch shots in the playoffs, though people seem to recall last year's game 5 over his overall body of work. Those who cry ringless lose track of the team element of this game. I don't know if Miami will win the championship, but I do know that we've been witnessing greatness for a long time.

Justin: I have never been a big believer in the "LeBron's not clutch" argument. Let's face it, he's hit  game-winners in the playoffs against the Washington Wizards and the Orlando Magic. He had his 25 straight points in the win over the Pistons. He's scored 40 points or more in eight playoff games (Kobe has nine since '02) including a Game Seven and he's gone to the NBA Finals once. This is just the best supporting cast he's had, and yes I do think the Heat will be the champions this year. I predict LeBron wins three of the next five NBA championships.

DV: I never got that feeling about LeBron the way you did about Kobe in the playoffs. That "I'll do anything and will my team to victory" type of feeling. Kobe over the years has proven that desire and effort, that assassin-type of mentality. You never got that feeling from LeBron... except now. His eyes light up now with excitement and looseness like he knows he's going to break the other team's neck, no question. It's a different feeling nowadays and it will probably land the Heat another NBA title and LeBron's first.

2) Mike Brown is the Los Angeles Lakers' choice to replace Phil Jackson as head coach of the team. Is this surprising considering other candidates such as Rick Adelman and Brian Shaw?

Mark: I do not get the fascination with Mike Brown. It's like "Hey, we're a storied franchise that just got embarrassed, so let's bring in the guy who watched his star quit on him last year." Needless to say, I'm not a fan of Brown's, nor was I even remotely interested when he was on the Nets' radar last summer.

Justin:It was somewhat surprising just because I thought they would go with either Rick Adelman or Brian Shaw. Mike Brown, however, is a good choice and maybe his fresh approach will breathe new life into this Lakers squad. I don't have any doubts about Brown's ability to construct a game plan, I just wonder what type of relationship he'll form with Kobe Bryant.

DV: I think Brown will bring in a strong sense of defense from the team because that's where his strengths as a coach lays. However, offensively, I'm not sure what's going to happen. The triangle offense has been such a part of the Lakers it will be weird to see them run anything else. I know this much, Brown better win over the veterans and the fans quick because he'll have a short leash in LA in regards to support. That's what happens when you replace a legend.

3) How much of an impact will Jerry West make in the front office of the Golden State Warriors?

Mark: Well, the guy is a winner, though how much say will he ultimately have? That's still not entirely clear. And while I would take either one on my team as a scorer, a backcourt with both Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry is not the cornerstone of a prospective playoff team. One of those guys needs to go for a frontcourt piece.

Devin: You ever play NBA 2K11 and start a franchise with the Timberwolves or the Clippers, just for the hell of it? While the financial incentive is obvious, and his impact is yet unstated, I do think Jerry West loves a challenge. The Warriors have a lot of moves to make, and West is a brilliant basketball mind. Larry Riley would be foolish not to listen to him. I think the direction of the team will be more solidified by draft day: Riley has to make moves to improve that frontcourt and their defense, and the Warriors definitely have the assets. We'll see if Jerry West helps them turn Golden State into gold.

DV: I think it's a great PR move and, obviously, West knows how to construct a winning team. However, how deep will his involvement be? Trades will probably go down and perhaps a change in offensively philosophy with more stress on defense. Yes, it actually does exist, Warriors. West has a brilliant basketball mind, but how many brain cells will he actually put into use with the Bay Area squad?

 

Obviously, this is a New Jersey Nets blog, however, the NAS crew absolutely love the NBA in general. So, every week, Mark, Devin,  Justin, Danny, Vivek, and/or myself will answer questions regarding the L.

1) Who wins the respective Conference Finals?

Mark: In the East, my heart says the Chicago Bulls, but my brain says the Miami Heat. The Heat seemed to have figured out that whole "how will they close out a game" situation in the postseason, and I'm starting to think a team just can't win a close game against these guys. And given that one of Chicago's better scorers in Carlos Boozer is also perhaps their biggest liability defensively, I just don't see how they're going to score enough in the fouth quarter of a close game to keep pace with Miami.

In the West, I think the Oklahoma City Thunder are going to find a way to take down the Dirk-momentum train and the Dallas Mavericks. It'll go all seven games, but I have to think a team with younger, fresher legs is going to prevail there.

Devin: Firstly, I think the Mavs win, no question. The way Dirk Nowitzki's been playing, I can't imagine Dallas not making it to the NBA Finals. I know Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant have been great, but Dallas' attack was bordering on unstoppable before Dirk Nowitzki scored 48 points on 24 free-throws and 12-15 shooting. As for the East, I picked the Bulls before the playoffs started, but now I couldn't tell you. The only thing I'm sure about after these two games is that this series is going to seven. Miami has two unstoppable scorers finally working in tandem, and Chicago has had an excellent defensive formula and ballerina/wizard Derrick Rose running the point all season. They're as evenly matched as it gets. For what it's worth, I do think the winner of the ECF will be your eventual NBA champion.

Justin: Miami and Dallas. Miami showed in Game 2 they can tighten the screws on defense, and Chicago doesn't have a lot of answers for that. The Heat have enough length and athleticism to make finishing around the rim tough for Derrick Rose and Lebron and Wade can make enough plays on offense for Miami to win.

I saw enough from Dallas against the Lakers to pick them before this series started and game one only cemented those thoughts. While I think this series will stretch to at least six games, OKC has no answer for Dirk, and he's crafty enough to continue getting himself to the foul line where he's made 50 of his last 51 attempts.

Danny: Now that the Heat have stolen home-court advantage, Udonis Haslem is officially back, and they seem to have found a way to contain Derrick Rose, I'll stick with my original prediction of Heat in seven. As for Thunder-Mavericks, I obviously loved Dirk's Game 1 performance, but the fact that the Thunder hung so close in the game regardless was alarming. Still, I've got the Mavericks in six.

Vivek: The way things are looking right now, I would go with the Chicago Bulls and the Dallas Mavericks. Originally, I felt that the Heat could take down the Bulls in six, but I clearly underestimated Tom Thibodeau. The guy has stopped LeBron and Wade before and I believe that he can do it again. As for Dallas, Dirk is just unstoppable right now. He won't get 40-50 a night (or at least, he shouldn't), but the guy is a near lock to score 30 points against any team in the playoffs. The Mavs have the perfect combination of star power and depth, so this is their year in the West. However, KD will be back soon.

DV: I believe in the Chicago Bulls, especially since it seems like they haven't peaked yet during the postseason. I know it's in them and Derrick Rose isn't the MVP for nothing. They have enough length in the frontcourt, especially from Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson, in order to make an impact. Interior play will be the key, both with how players get to the rim and how players defend it.

Thunder up! I'm a big Durantula fan (who isn't?) and if Westbrook can play under control, the Thunder will go far. What's really good about the Thunder is that Eric Maynor is capable of running the team and James Harden off the bench can be devastating. Nothing against the Mavs, but OKC all the way.

I believe both series will go the full seven games.

... MORE →

 

After a 24-58 season, the New Jersey Nets will have to make some changes heading into 2012. This week, Nets are Scorching takes a closer look at some soon-to-be-available names.

Stats: 82 G, 1 GS, 26.0 MPG, 12.7 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 1.0 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.3 BPG, .541 FG%, .273 3P%, .707 FT%, 110 ORtg, 18.4 PER

Why Billy King Should Be Texting Him Now: Give Young the rock and watch what happens. Hint: it's usually good things. Coming out of Georgia Tech four years ago at the tender age of 19 (born 6.21.88), Young was raw, but generally considered in having unlimited potential thanks to his long wingspan and off-the-charts athleticism. Why the Philadelpia 76ers haven't unleashed the beast by giving Young all the burn on the deck that he wants, I'll never know. Damn the depth chart!

Young has the physical tools and skill to play both forward positions, although his jumper still needs a bit of consistency and more accuracy for him to play the three on the regular. He shot 33.3% from 10-15 feet, 34.0% from 16-23 feet, and his shot from beyond the arc is negligible.

However, Young can finish at the rim, shooting an amazing 73.4% by the basket. And it's not just off of alley-oops or putbacks. Young has enough handle to drive from the top of the key and go down the middle on a break with the pill. He has a multitude of ways to finish, which is where his athleticism comes in, and has great touch to kiss the ball off the board.

Young also has the ability and physical tools (length, foot speed, lateral quickness) to be a very good defender. Most importantly, he's a hard and intelligent worker. Oh, and he's only going to be 23-years-old this upcoming season.

Don’t Risk The Fine: Young is still not as polished as he could be, which just means there's more upside. However, that also means he'll get paid for that huge upside, which the Sixers seem to be willing to pay for. So, this can all be one big tease. Besides that, Young still needs to work on that J and his ball handling is only average. Young's ability to penetrate to the rack would be so much more better and pleasing if he had better handle.

And the Winner Is… Tamper: There's a lot of potential here as Young's 18.4 PER this past season attests to. The youngster only averaged 26.0 minutes per game this season and still averaged 13 and 5. Imagine the potential and production if you add 10 more minutes per. Sweetness.

 

After a 24-58 season, the New Jersey Nets will have to make some changes heading into 2012. This week, Nets are Scorching takes a closer look at some soon-to-be-available names.

2010-11 Stats: 73 G, 23 GS, 24.3 MPG, 12.8 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 1.8 APG, 0.1 BPG, 0.9 SPG, .434 FG%, .367 3P%, .788 FT%, 106 ORtg, 16.5 PER

Why Billy King Should Be Texting Him Now: Here are some numbers from Thornton's brief stay with Sacramento this past season, which totaled 27 games - 21.3 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 3.4 APG, 1.7 SPG, 2.0 3PTM, .450 FG%, .805 FT%. Don't think that these numbers are flukes from the sophomore either. All Thornton needs is a chance. During his rookie season with the New Orleans Hornets, in 29 games after the All-Star break, he averaged 20.3 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 2.4 APG, 1.0 SPG, 2.0 3PTM, .466 FG%, and .835 FT%. The kid can score and rebound and create a bit for others and play passing lanes to steal the pill and shoot well from the floor and charity stripe and I like him a lot for the Nets. He'd finally be that scorer that can create his own shot and score in bunches, as well as spot up, receive the rock from Deron Williams and snap twine on the regular from the perimeter.

Thornton turns 24 in June and if you're going to give a long-term contract to a player, you give it to someone as young as him. He's physically strong and has to be hungry to get regular big-time minutes. He's certainly earned them and if you're you're a Thornton and Nets fan, you have to hope that Thornton and Tyreke Evans don't like each other and/or the tenuous situation regarding location for the Sacramento Kings has them not matching any offers for the restricted free agent.

Don’t Risk the Fine: There's a lot of upside to Thornton and he's proven in his short time in the NBA that he can get the J-O-B-D-O-N-E like Big Daddy Kane given the burn on the deck. If there is any negative aspect to Thornton, it's his lack of height and a wingspan to make up for it for the two-guard position. He's only 6'4" and can have his man shoot over the top of him. Thornton can body up with any shooting guard in the league, but isn't athletic enough or has the ridiculous hops to overcome defending a 6'6" player.

And The Winner Is... Tamper: Get this guy. He's an offensive weapon and isn't a defensive liability at all. He's not a stopper, but he isn't a pushover either. In fact, his 108 DRtg isn't far off from Arron Afflalo's 111 DRtg and Afflalo is the one with the defensive rep. Thornton is young, can take it to the hole, get off his shot, hit from three-point land, and he'd be an excellent complement to D-Will and Brook Lopez. Again, GET THIS GUY!