Author Archive

 

By Evan Kaplan

Fast-forward about seven weeks and envision this scenario. There are 5 seconds remaining in the Nets opening night game against the Pistons. The score is tied and the team needs a bucket to win their debut at the Prudential Center. Who is going to take that all-important shot with the game on the line?

One of the team’s main problems in 2009-10 is that there was no clear answer to this question. Many times the Nets would keep the game close until the last few minutes but would be unable to hit that big shot needed to secure victories. There was no Vince Carter, no Jason Kidd on the team that could be relied on in crunch time. This season the team needs to find a player that can be called upon to make big plays when they are most needed, especially if they want to try and contend for a playoff spot.

... MORE →

Monday Morning Mailbag #5

Posted on: September 6th, 2010 by Sebastian Pruiti Comments

 

Day in and day out, we here at NetsAreScorching try to provide content that you guys want to read, however, we don’t know what exactly you want to hear about, and some things may fall through the cracks. This is what the mailbag is for. Every Monday we are going to be answering questions from you the reader, don’t be afraid to e-mail your questions to mailbag@netsarescorching.com.

It was a pretty short mailbag this week with only two questions e-mailed in.  They were interesting though, so I felt the need to answer them.  Remember guys, we want to be able to do this every week, so please, send in any questions that you may have.  We'll blame this one on the holiday...let's get it next week.

Jeff

Over/Under 5 Triple Doubles For T-Will?

I really want to say over, I really do, but it is going to be under.  Every time Terrence Williams steps on the basketball court he has the potential to get a triple double, and while I do think he may pull 1 or 2 this upcoming season, 5 is just way too much.  Williams will have a few close calls as well I think, just like the end of last year.  He has a few better shooters around him, another year of experience, and maybe more playing time this year.  However, there are some things working against him as well.  Scorers mean there are lets shots to go around for him, and no question that Coach Avery Johnson is going to make him work on the defensive end, and that could take away from some of his offensive game.  So yeah, 1 or 2.  What does everyone think?  Let me know in the comments.

Ryan

The Nets-Knicks rivalry has always been a good one locally in the tri state area, but doesn't really get that much buzz, will that change this year?

I know that I personally hate the Knicks, because growing up my dad was a Knicks fan so in order to trash talk, I rooted against them.  That has always stuck with me as I grew up.  As for this rivalry going national, it all depends on one thing, will both teams be good.  Last year's Knicks-Nets games were pretty good and competitive last year, but nobody was paying attention because there was only 5 wins between them.  When the Knicks were good back in the day, the Nets were awful.  Same for when the Nets were really successful, both teams have just never been good at the same time.  If these two teams are right around 35-40 wins and battling for the final playoff spot, people will start to pay attention again.

Monday Morning Mailbag #4

Posted on: August 30th, 2010 by Sebastian Pruiti Comments

 

Day in and day out, we here at NetsAreScorching try to provide content that you guys want to read, however, we don’t know what exactly you want to hear about, and some things may fall through the cracks. This is what the mailbag is for. Every Monday we are going to be answering questions from you the reader, don’t be afraid to e-mail your questions to mailbag@netsarescorching.com.

Welcome to the fourth edition of the NetsAreScorching Mailbag.  In this week's edition we look at the Carmelo Trade, Damion James, Jordan Farmar, and the slim pickings in the Nets' team store.  Let's get started.

Manuel Martinez

Would you rather trade for Melo and give up practically all our assets maybe leading us to mediocre playoff team (which some Nets fans think this will happen if we make the trade since we will no longer have flexibility, but i dont) or just keep our roster intact this season and let our young guys grow together and form chemistry and continue building our team through the draft?

That's tough, but I think the Nets would end up making this trade for a ton of assets, and I would actually be ok with it.  Part of the reason why you build assets like younger players and picks is so you can make yourself available to take advantage of teams in a position to deal one of their best players.  The only problem I would have is if Brook Lopez was to be included in the deal.  This is because the team wouldn't even be competitive, let alone make the playoffs, if Carmelo were to come over with Brook Lopez going in the other direction.  If the Nets can somehow get Carmelo without including Brook they would have a future front-line of Carmelo, Derrick Favors (can't be traded for a year, so he is staying), and Brook Lopez.  Pretty solid if you ask me.

How comfortable would you be with Farmar as our starting PG if we do get Melo for a package including both Harris and T Will?

I'd be ok with it.  Farmar wouldn't be asked to do what Devin will have to do if Carmelo doesn't come over.  That is score and get the Nets into their offense.  There would be so much scoring power in the front court that all Farmar would have to do is bring the ball up, get the Nets into their offense, and hit an open shot here or there.

John Katehis

What kind of NBA player do you see Damion James developing into and what NBA player does he remind you of. He reminds me of Gerald Wallace, a good defender, a good rebounder, but ok (streaky) offensively. Also they both can play at the SG, SF, and PF position, and both are 6-7 and 220 lbs. What do you think?

For me, it is hard to call him a Gerald Wallace type player especially when we haven't seen James play as a pro yet.  Also, I think it would be a stretch to say he can play the shooting guard position.  James isn't the best ball handler, and if he is playing the two, he would be required to handle the ball a ton.  This year, I am just looking for James to contribute on the defensive end of the court.  Anything else is an added bonus.

... MORE →

 

Evan Kaplan is a new writer for NetsAreScorching and he will be posting here once a week.  Evan is a lifelong Nets' fan, so he shares the same passion for the Nets as all the other writers do.  To keep track of Evan's work, you can go here.

The Nets won just 12 games last season. It was by all accounts one of the worst seasons in NBA history. So don’t blame me if I’m a bit skeptical of starting point guard Devin Harris when he says the team’s expectation is to make the playoffs in 2010-11. Let’s just take this thing one step at a time, Devin.

There is no question that this year’s version of the Nets will have more talent. The additions of Troy Murphy, Derrick Favors and Jordan Farmar will certainly help the team (and I guess you can throw Anthony Morrow, Travis Outlaw and Johan Petro in there, too). But with so many new pieces a major factor will be how this team meshes together. New Head Coach Avery Johnson will have the task of getting everyone on the same page and making sure everyone knows their role on the team. But in the increasingly point-guard driven NBA, much of the success of this season will fall on D. Harris.

Devin Harris will be entering his third full season in Jersey and the team is hoping he can regain his 2008-2009 form. Despite the team winning just 34 games two seasons ago, Harris’ numbers were quite impressive. He averaged 21.3 points, 6.9 assists and 1.6 steals, on his way to being named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team. But his numbers trailed off dramatically in 2009-2010, and he admitted that in 2010-11 he needed to get healthy and regain his All-Star form.

The relationship between Harris and Avery Johnson will be one to keep a close eye on. The two were together in Dallas and many in the media felt that Johnson did not let Harris play the point guard position with enough freedom. However the Nets point guard did say he was excited when the organization hired Johnson to be the team’s new head coach.

The former Wisconsin star is the definition of the modern-day hybrid point guard. He is most effective when he’s scoring the ball first and dishing to teammates second. But with the new pieces the Nets have on their roster, he needs to be more of a facilitator and get everyone else involved. In 64 games last season, Harris had 10 or more assists just 7 times. If the Nets are to improve in this upcoming season and take a substantial step towards respectability, he will need to up his play and be the team’s true floor general. Devin Harris can say he expects the Nets to make the playoffs in 2010-11, but much of the team’s success will fall on his shoulders, and if he can become an All-Star caliber player again.

 

After struggling with a 12 win season last year, Nets fans are feeling good about their current situation.  A much improved roster, a successful coach, and an owner willing to spend has fans thinking about the playoffs.  We here think that the playoffs are a possibility but not a guarantee.  Over the next two weeks, we are going to look at four things that need to happen for the Nets to make the playoffs.

The Nets Will Make The Playoffs If...Avery Johnson can get the Nets to play solid team defense

Why Is It Important?

In my opinion, defense is just as important as offense when it comes to winning basketball games.  It can get you through cold stretches on the offensive end, and if you play good defense, it helps set a tone.  Given Avery Johnson's reputation as a defensive minded coach, you know he is going to hold players accountable on the defensive end, however it is going to be a challenge.  This is because of the personnel that he has.  As four of the five projected starters (Harris, Morrow, Outlaw, Murphy, and Lopez) can be considered a defensive liability individually.

On the perimeter, we already know about Devin's tendency to reach and get lazy, allowing for his man to get by him.  Anthony Morrow is just as bad, if not worse on the defensive end.  According to 82games.com, Morrow allowed opposing SGs to put up 23.3 points/48 and post a PER of 17.8 (average is 15).  On the inside, while Troy Murphy does pull down defensive rebounds, he is a pretty weak defender.  Murphy allowed opposing PFs to put up a PER of 21.5, and when he was on the court the Pacers' defense allowed 4.1 more points per 100 possessions than when he was off the court.  Brook Lopez is a decent one on one defender, but his poor foot speed and lateral movement is a concern, especially when pairing him with Murphy, who doesn't have the quickest feet.

Nets' fans saw how much a poor defensive team hurt the momentum of the Nets game in and game out.  With a new coach, a new system, and a ton of new players the Nets might not start off too hot on the offensive end, which is why defense will be so important.

Can It Happen?

Despite all of the flaws on the defensive end, the Nets can still be a solid defensive team, and this is where Avery Johnson and the rest of the Nets' coaching staff come into play.  Avery Johnson needs to install a concept of team defense where everyone has each others' back.  If someone gets by Devin or Morrow, a big helps, while the rest of the team rotates correctly.  On the pick and roll, the Nets are going to have to use a team defense concept to stop the offense.

In my opinion, it can happen, but Avery Johnson needs to get this team trusting each other.  We saw last year how a lack of trust can hurt a team on the defensive end.  There was poor communication, people switching while everyone else was staying home, and rotations were off.  Eventually the team started looking out for themselves rather than the team, and that doesn't work on the defensive end.

Johnson has a reputation of holding players accountable, and I think this accountability will force each and every player on the Nets to trust his teammates on the defensive end, and in conclusion be a pretty solid defensive team.

 

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to be allowed to attend Panini's 2010 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot.  Over 40 rookies were in their uniforms walking around from station to station, getting their pictures taken for their first Panini basketball cards.  Media were allowed in, and I was able to grab both Derrick Favors and Damion James and talk to them for a little bit.

What really impressed me about both James and Favors is that they were both willing to talk about their weaknesses and what they needed to improve on.  I asked Favors about his defensive struggles during Summer League and what he needed to do to improve on that end, and he offered no excuses saying "Adjust to the NBA style of play.  I got called for defensive three seconds a lot so I just need to adjust to the NBA-style of defense."  When I asked how he would be able to do that, he told me "It comes with work and experience."  Favors also mentioned that he was working to improve everything, especially his strength.  Meanwhile, James told me that he was working on his ballhandling.  This is pretty important, because James played both the three and the four in college, but at the pro level he is going to play the three mostly.  He needs to be able to handle the ball a bit better than he did in college (turnover rate of 14.0 last year with Texas).  It was reassuring to see that both James and Favors are able to identify their weaknesses, come to terms with them, and be willing to do the work to improve on them.

In addition to their weaknesses, both rookies seem to be excited about building a winning team and playing for coach Avery Johnson.  As Favors told me, "He's a nice guy, and I am going to try to help build something with him."  As for Damion James, I was really interested to see what he had to say about coach Johnson because he has been mentioned as an Avery Johnson type of player.  When asked if he was excited to play with coach Johnson he said, "No doubt man.  I know he is eager to come back to coaching and he is going to try to turn the team around.  I want to be a part of that, and I look forward to it."

Finally, with the fact that most guys have seen Derrick Favors play, but haven't been able to see Damion James play too much, I asked him to describe his playing style.  "I'm a guy that's relentless.  Never let up on my opponent and try to dominate him on every play.  I go hard on both ends."  And then, to make sure he got his point across, he concluded, "I play hard."

After the jump, check out some video of both James and Favors getting their picture taken and some general thoughts/observations of the photo shoot.

... MORE →

 

Mike Fratello was a head coach in the NBA for 16 seasons, coaching three different teams (the Hawks, the Cavs, and the Grizzlies), and he is one of the most respected basketball minds in the game.  Currently he is an analyst for TNT, and YES calling a good amount of Nets games (he was one of the few things that made Nets' games bearable last year).  When he isn't on TV, you can find him talking about basketball either on Twitter or over at his blog (both are must reads).  Coach Fratello was kind enough to take the time out to answer a few questions about the Nets:

There aren't too many holdovers from last year's 12 win season, but the guys who are still here are pretty important (Devin Harris, Brook Lopez, and Terrence Williams).  Should these guys use last year as a learning experience and motivation, or is it best that they just put it behind them and move forward?

Any time you play an 82-game schedule you want to use that as a learning experience. You have to learn how to win. And sometimes learning how to win comes through losses. So after last season, I would think that when those three players enter training camp this Fall they will remember the pain that they went through in only having 12 wins, and that should be a motivating factor for them to get off to a better start and to wind up having a much better season than they had a year ago.

With the way the team is currently being built, in terms of the roster and coaching staff, what kind of playing style do you expect?  A half-court defensive team, or a team that can get out and run?

I think that Avery Johnson will try to establish a defensive presence at one end of the floor, and at the other end explore his transition opportunities with a guy like Devin Harris who has speed and quickness to push the ball and penetrate and get in the lane, creating shots not only for himself, but for his teammates as well. The Nets are trying to become a more athletic team. Their first round draft pick has the ability to run the floor; and the pieces that they have brought in certainly show that they are trying to become a team that can attack you in transition as well as a team that is able to score in the half-court, either with Lopez and Harris playing a center pick and roll game or through post-up opportunities with Lopez down low.
... MORE →

 

After struggling with a 12 win season last year, Nets fans are feeling good about their current situation.  A much improved roster, a successful coach, and an owner willing to spend has fans thinking about the playoffs.  We here think that the playoffs are a possibility but not a guarantee.  Over the next two weeks, we are going to look at four things that need to happen for the Nets to make the playoffs.

The Nets Will Make The Playoffs If...Brook Lopez has a 20/10 season

Why Is It Important?

Devin Harris might be the former all-star on the Nets, but without a doubt, Brook Lopez is the best player on the New Jersey Nets right now.  That is pretty impressive for a center who is entering his 3rd year in the NBA, after just recently turning 22.

So why is a 20/10 season from Brook so important?  Well, because if Brook Lopez can make himself a threat every time he touches the basketball, it opens things up all over the court.  Look at how the Orlando Magic run their offense with a 4 out and 1 in strategy.  The Magic surround Dwight Howard with 4 shooters, and dump the ball in.  Eventually teams are forced to send double teams, and that opens up shooters.  While the Nets don't have the shooters the Magic do, they have a roster that you can consider a "poor man's Orlando Magic," and that means they can have success with the 4 out and 1 in.  Brook Lopez has a better post game than Dwight (not saying that he is a better player), and that will lead to more double teams.  Lopez is a solid passer, and he will be able to find open teammates on the perimeter.

Even without the 4 out and 1 in (not sure how much it would be run...never saw Avery's Dallas teams run it), the Nets and Avery Johnson seem to be a perfect fit.  Their projected starting five isn't a team that is going to get out and run (Brook Lopez and Troy Murphy are two slower guys and Anthony Morrow isn't the most athletic player, just a spot up shooter), but that is just fine for coach Johnson.  Despite his Mavericks teams being near the bottom of the NBA when it comes to pace, his teams were always near the top when it came to offensive efficiency.  That tells me he was good in the halfcourt, mainly because of Dirk.  With the Nets, he is going to need a guy to go to in the halfcourt when the team needs a basket, and that will be Brook Lopez.  If he is able to put up 20 points with these touches, the Nets could have a successful season.

Can It Happen?

Yes, it can.  Brook Lopez put up 18.8 and 8.6 last year, while he was still raw in the post (in my opinion).  At 22, Brook still has a ton of time and potential to develop a more mature post game (right now he relies on his size and touch, and while it works, it can be stopped), and I think that development will start this upcoming season.  In addition to creating more baskets, a more fundamental post game will lead to more fouls on his opponents, sending him to the line more.  For most bigs, this would be a problem...however, for Brook this is a good thing as he has a very good stroke from the line.

Another reason why this will happen is because of the quality of his teammates have improved.  Much like how Brook's success will help his teammate, his teammates' shooting ability will help Brook.  Last year, Brook faced constant double and triple teams because there was no shooting threats on the outside.  With guys like Troy Murphy and Anthony Morrow on the court, there will be less double teams thrown in Brook's direction, meaning more room to operate.

 

I was asked to participate in the summer forecast that ESPN has been running, and I voted in all of the categories.  In addition, I was asked to write a little something about their turnaround.  You can find it here.  Mark and I should both have something up over there tomorrow, so be sure to check it out!

Monday Morning Mailbag #2

Posted on: August 16th, 2010 by Sebastian Pruiti Comments

 

Day in and day out, we here at NetsAreScorching try to provide content that you guys want to read, however, we don't know what exactly you want to hear about, and some things may fall through the cracks.  This is what the mailbag is for.  Every Monday we are going to be answering questions from you the reader, don't be afraid to e-mail your questions to mailbag@netsarescorching.com.

The first edition of the Monday mailbag was so successful that we decided to do it again and turn it into a weekly feature.  Today, we are going to talk about Rod Thorn to the Sixers, Troy Murphy coming to the Nets, the playoffs, and Brook Lopez's contract.  Onto the questions...

Keenan Milbourne

What's up with Rod Thorn going to the Sixers???  Something's fishy.  Making me  really start thinking that something went down between him and the owner.  Can  you expound?  Please?????

I was totally expecting for Thorn to take another job, mainly because when Rod Thorn announced he was leaving, he made sure to mention that he wasn't "retiring."  I think that the way that Prokhorov and Avery Johnson wanted to build the team was different than what Rod Thorn wanted to do, and that lead to his departure.  Thorn probably wanted to conserve cap space going into the new CBA instead of building a team that can compete for the playoffs (If Thorn was still around, the Murphy trade doesn't go down).  I don't think there was any animosity, and as NetsDaily reported, Prokhorov worked hard to keep Thorn, but it was just a difference of opinion.  Was I surprised that he signed with the Sixers?  At first, yes because there weren't any rumors or anything like that.  However, when you take a closer look, it does make sense.

Jesse Voremberg

Hey NAS,

Brook Lopez is essentially guaranteed to be with us through the   2011-12 season, and then he has a 4.1 million qualifying offer for   2012-13.  There is no doubt in my mind (unless of course some disaster   happens) that the Nets need to resign Lopez with a long contract   extension, perhaps for another 5-6 years.  Do you think the Nets,   under the new management and ownership, will extend however much money   is necessary to retain Lopez before he is a FA?  If so, what would this contract look like?

This is going to be something to look out for.  It is so hard to say what will it take to keep Brook in New Jersey because of how up in the air the CBA is.  Rumor has it that owners want less money and years to be the max, and if that happens it will change the value of just about every player in the NBA.

While the exact numbers/years up in the air, I totally expect the Nets to be willing to do whatever it takes to sign Brook Lopez.  He just recently turned 22, and put up 18.8 points and 8.6 rebounds a game in just his second season.  He is still pretty raw (at least in the low post) and I think he has a chance to put up a 20/10 season.  Big men like Brook are few and far in between and I think the Nets' front office realizes that.

... MORE →

 

On Wednesday afternoon, the Houston Rockets, New Orleans Hornets, Indiana Pacers, and New Jersey Nets pulled off a four-team blockbuster, swapping several key contributors.Rahat Huq of Red94, Ryan Schwan of Hornets247, Tim Donahue of 8 points, 9 seconds, and Sebastian Pruiti of Nets are Scorching got together to provide assessments of the outgoing players from their respective ballclubs.

Rahat Huq (Red94) on Trevor Ariza: I’ve written a comprehensive series of essays on Trevor Ariza entitled ‘Assessing Ariza,’ evaluating his strengths, weaknesses, and player potential.  (Parts 1, 2, and 3)

In short, he’s an ideal role-player who thrives off the ball, spotting up or using his superior athleticism to slash to the basket.  Now having the benefit of playing next to Chris Paul, I expect Ariza to return to form from his playoff run with the Lakers – he really took off after the acquisition of Kevin Martin; Ariza is at his best playing next to dominant players.

If you’re hoping Trevor will grow into his physical gifts and emerge as a primary option, you’re going to be disappointed.  While a capable ball-handler against light pressure, he doesn’t have the handles to create for himself off the dribble.  He also has extremely poor footwork and body control.  Even worse, Ariza has an oddly inflated sense of entitlement–possibly due to his Lakers pedigree–leading him to force bad shots and make poor decisions; Ariza struggles when needing to think on the basketball court.

The issue of Ariza’s defense is a contentious one.  His reputation precedes him, but his is a reckless, instinctual approach, garnering him gaudy steals totals but often leaving his teammates scrambling to rotate after blown coverage.  Still, this manner can be conducive to forcing tempo if that’s your cup of tea.

All in all, assuming expectations remain reasonable, I think the Hornets will be very pleased next year with Trevor Ariza.  While his struggles with the Rockets are well documented, playing next to Chris Paul is a situation tailor-made for a player of Trevor’s skillset and abilities – in returning to his former role with the Lakers (next to a superstar guard), I think Trevor will really thrive.

Ryan Schwan (Hornets247) on Darren Collison: After watching him for a season, I’m comfortable claiming that Darren Collison is the proud owner of the “fastest man in the NBA” title.   When he played, the Hornets pace increased by five posessions, as he exploded up court every chance he could.  Considering the heavy-footed players he was dragging with him up the court, it is a pretty amazing feat.

Collison started off his rookie season pretty rough, shooting poorly from deep, and struggling valiantly to figure out how to score over the faster, taller atheletes he met in the paint.  In fact, for the first month, a pick and roll run by Collison typically had very little going for it.  That all changed, however, when Chris Paul went down.  Given long minutes, constant coaching by Paul, and confidence that never seemed to waver, Collison started deploying a stutter step and mid-range pull up jumper that made him deadly on the pick and roll by the end of February.  His long-range shot, which was amazing in college, began to settle in, and soon he was deadly from three, both as a spot-up shooter, and as a guy who could pull up off the dribble and knock it down.

As a passer, Collison is excellent in the open court, solid at the pick and roll, but tends to struggle in the pick and pop.  He’s great at driving into the paint and laying the ball off to a big man for a dunk or finding the roller, but when he has to find the open men on the perimeter, he still struggles.  As a result, though he gets a lot of assists, he also gets a lot of turnovers.  He also has the tendency to be called for a carry once or twice a game, though that was fading by the end of last season.

Defensively is where Collison has his biggest problems.  He makes Allen Iverson look fat – and unlike mighty mouse Chris Paul, he’s also  not physically strong at all.  That leaves him to be exploited terribly in post ups last year, and because of his lightness, a good screen or series of screens can take him out the picture on defense despite his recovery speed.

As a team leader, Collison was remarkable.  He was barking commands to veterans like Okafor and David West from the start of the season.  On more than one occassion I saw him get on teammates for not being where they were supposed to be.  He’s intelligent, knows how to get a team into its offense, and it shows.  He’s also cold-blooded.  He had two game-winning shots last season, and another three that put a nail in a run the other team was making to come back.  He doesn’t shy from that big shot – and he has a decent track record of making it.

In the end, I feel Collison will be an exciting-as-hell, explosive scorer in the mold of Tony Parker, and most nights will outscore his opponent.  At the same time, I’d also expect his opponent to regularly score more than is usual.

Tim Donahue (8 points, 9 seconds) on Troy Murphy:

Offensively – The short answer is that Murph is a 6?11? Steve Kerr.  He is an extremely efficient scorer, and serves as a safety valve for the offense.  I can see him being a very nice player with your personnel, offensively, as he is a low-usage guy.  The Pacers use him to float at the top of the key, and he took all but like 10 of his three’s from the arc (very few corner threes).  He has no post game to speak of, and he’s a solid passer, but not a great high post guy.  He does a good job of reading his defender, and is very good at reading the closeout, putting the ball on the floor and finishing at the rim.  He doesn’t get many offensive rebounds because of (a) where he plays and (b) his lack of footspeed, but could get more if he played closer to the basket.  However, I think you’d be an absolute fool to play him – offensively – in any other way than the way O’Brien used him.  Look at his eFG and TS numbers the last three years under Obie vs. his time in GS.  He plays completely within his skill set (almost to a fault), and I have never – never – seen a guy with better shot selection than Troy.  Very, very nice complementary shooter to have on your team.

Defensively – He is definitely a liability, and that is because he’s slow and physically weak. He gets lots of defensive rebounds, but he doesn’t really control the glass the way most guys who pull down the volume of boards he gets.  He is not a block out guy, but has a good nose for the ball.  One-on-one he will never be better than, well, bad, but he can learn and will follow team defensive concepts.  In other words, if the opponent decides to target him, then he’ll get beaten, but he won’t blow defensive team schemes.  Overall, your team’s defensive performance will drag when he’s on the floor.

Lockerroom & Fit – He appears likable enough, but not really a presence.  Seems to get along with everybody well enough.  There were rumors last year that he wasn’t happy about Hansbrough eating into his playing time, but they were way external to the organization and I never believed them.  As far as fitting with your big guys, he should be a great fit with both Lopez and Favors offensively, and probaly a poor fit defensively with Lopez, but pretty good with Favors – assuming I’ve got a reasonable handle on their respective games.

Here’s the most important part – you can’t look at the 14 & 11 and think he’s that traditional double-double guy.  He is very much someone who accentuates his positives, but doesn’t improve on his negatives.  He is not a physical player, at all.  He is who he is, but that can be a good thing.  Assuming Avery doesn’t choke on his defense, I suspect he’ll love the guy because he is perhaps the most reliably consistent player I’ve seen in three+ decades of watching the NBA.  He will hit shots, he will get some boards, and he will suck on defense. He will score, but he is a safety valve – not a primary or secondary option.  It sounds strange, but I think coaches like that because it’s something they don’t have to worry about. They put him out there, and work on everything else.   This is why he can have some big games and not really make a difference.  He’s kind of a like an offensive lineman.  He can have a great  individual game, but if the rest of the line sucks, it won’t matter.  At the same time, if he’s great and the rest of the line is great, nobody will notice him.

Sebastian Pruiti (Nets are Scorching) on Courtney Lee:Courtney Lee is a guy I like and with Avery Johnson coming to New Jersey, I thought he was the perfect Avery Johnson guy.  He shoots the three ok (last years numbers are too low for his shooting ability in my honest opinion), he can penetrate and get out and run, but where he is most valuable is on the defensive end.  Courtney is both a very good one on one and team defender, and he works very hard on that end.  Lee doesn’t have a high ceiling  (and that is why I suspect that the Nets held onto Terrence Williams), and the player he is now is the player he will be years from now.  That’s not a bad thing, but there is very little room for him to grow.

 

Yesterday, the Nets were involved in a four team deal that sent Courtney Lee to Houston, while receiving Troy Murphy.  The other two teams involved in the deal were the Pacers (who got Darren Collison and James Posey) and the New Orleans Hornets (who got Trevor Ariza).  I, like most Nets fans that I have heard from, really like the deal for a number of reasons.  So I just wanted to give my thoughts on the deal.

Financial

All salary numbers coming from the great ShamSports.com

To me, this is most important and my favorite aspect of the deal.  The Nets started yesterday with $14,547,681 in cap space (by my count) for the 2010-2011 season.  They used up $10,615,613 on it to get Murphy (Murphy's contract minus Courtney Lee's contract), only giving them right around $3 million to work with for this up coming season.  However, what makes this deal work is that Murphy is in the final year of his contract.  At the start of next season, the Nets are going to have both Murphy and Humphries coming off the books, plus they are saving what Courtney Lee would be making next year ($2,225,093).  This means that they are going to have somewhere in the area of $15 to $16 million worth of cap space to work with next year, when a certain indecisive forward in Denver becomes a free agent.  Even if the Nets don't make a run at Carmelo, they have a lot of money to continue adding pieces to their roster.  In addition to the cap space next year, Murphy's contract is going to be very attractive to teams at the trade deadline, and if Favors is playing well enough, I can see the Nets flipping Murphy for some young talent/trade exceptions/draft picks.

Roster

From a roster standpoint, the Nets now have a power forward who can come in right away and be "the guy" at the spot.  Murphy, the New Jersey native, is going to be the opening day starter, no question about it.  So what does that do to the rest of the front court?  It makes Derrick Favors the back-up, and this is probably the best scenario for him in terms of development.  He is still going to get minutes, but since he is coming off the bench he will be going up against team's second unit.  Not a real big difference, but it makes that transition from college to the pros a little bit easier.  Plus, it shields him from the "he's a bust" cries.  The expectations for Favors coming off the bench aren't going to be as high as they would be if he was the starter from day one.  Murphy's expiring deal comes into play in this aspect as well, since he will only be blocking Favors for a year, maybe even less.  Most other guys the Nets were looking for would probably have demanded a 2 to 3 year deal from the Nets.  If Favors develops in a year (which I think is probable) that would lead to a tough situation.  However, where things stands now, Murphy can hand the reigns over to Favors after a season.

... MORE →