(un)Happy New Year!
By Tony Maglio
After losing to the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves for a SECOND time this season, I’m guessing the Nets players and coaches woke up to find mostly coal in their stockings on Friday morning. And much like how coal takes tens of thousands years to turn into diamonds, it might be the same length of time before the Nets turn this around. Possibly longer.
I faired better than them under the Christmas tree last week, but received no Nets-related gifts this year. This is in no way a bad thing.
I did have one piece of Nets gear on my list though: the new adidas shooting shirt - but my father’s appropriate and accurate reaction was simply, “The Nets suck”. I’m pretty sure Santa would have said the same thing.
My girlfriend considered buying it for me a little longer than that and asked me whether I would want it personalized or of an existing Nets player. Now, ordinarily I am against anyone over 12 years old wearing a personalized custom jersey of a professional sports team, but I realized it might be even more embarrassing to choose any of these current players to support in public. Plus, between the injuries and poor play, the way this season is going, I figure I might have an actual shot to make the team. Or at the very least I could walk out of the stands and hit enough jumpers during the shoot-around to fit in. So I figured if I had the official gear I wouldn’t arouse much suspicion. But unfortunately for NBA.com, much like three-quarters of the Nets season tickets seats – this was not purchased.
The only time I find it otherwise acceptable for a grown man to wear a personalized team jersey is if it is customized in a humorous manner. My friend Dave has been generous enough to let me in on his family’s Giants season tickets for years now. After a few frustrating seasons of suffering through too many Luke Pettigout penalties, Dave decided he was going to get a jersey customized that said: “FALSE START, 77”. In that spirit I was considering getting the Nets shirt made up to say “AIRBALL, 2” – but considering Josh Boone will probably be out of the NBA in six months, I decided that would be wasteful. So as it stands, if any NetsAreScorching fans are searching for a late Christmas gift for me, I’ll make an exception on my own rule and take “MAGLIO, 42”. Or just send cash.
Speaking of the G-men, I just returned from their final game at Giants Stadium where the home team got beaten so badly that it should have been played across the NJ Turnpike at the Izod Center. With a closing stadium, a displaced hockey team, an empty basketball arena with a team on the move, a bankrupt and unfinished indoor ski slope – now is not exactly the golden age of the Meadowlands. It was sad to leave our beloved mezzanine seats and take a picture of the old stadium for the last time – but it was possibly even sadder that the Izod Center in the background spoiled the photos.
While there are not enough holidays in December for this team to get everything they want and need, no team should be happier to say goodbye to 2009 than the Nets. In that spirit, I thought I might suggest some New Year’s resolutions for the players/coaches:
Brook Lopez: Resolve to play offense in the second half. Seriously, this guy is such a stud early, and does essentially nothing late. Is he aware of the number of quarters that make up a basketball game? On Wednesday, my buddy Crack and I exchanged gifts and then watched the T-Wolves ruin Christmas. On the first six Nets baskets, Lopez had five assists. He finished the game with just two more and only nine points, which means the offense wasn’t run through him at all – game over. At least I got a Bo Jackson throwback. In a related resolution…
Kiki Vandeweghe: Get the ball inside to Brook late. I’m sure Lopez gets doubled more later in the game, but how often do the Nets need to come back and then miss jump shots to seal the loss? This guy is making 2009 Lawrence Frank look like 2004 Lawrence Frank.
Terrence Williams/Courtney Lee: One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to quit smoking. While some of the Nets run the floor like they’re long time smokers, what some of these guys really need to quit is shooting. This group is highlighted by Terrence Williams and Courtney Lee. Put the ball on the floor. Especially T-Will. This guy dunks like he’s in “NBA Jam” and shoots like he’s in “NBA Live 10”.
Chris Douglas-Roberts: 1) Fire agent. 2) Learn how to pass. I’ve seen this guy throw more wayward passes than Jamarcus Russell.
Devin Harris: Resolve to get back to all-star form. I don’t know if this is a health issue, a reps issue, or a lack of help issue – but I refuse to believe it is a lack of skill. I’ve seen Harris just TAKE OVER games in the past with his speed. And although he scored, when I saw him get absolutely broken down on the defensive end against Minnesota - I chose to believe he still isn’t 100%. Festivus was not over until Johnny Flynn pinned him.
Josh Boone: Should resolve to return to UConn to finish his degree. And I don’t mean in the summer – I mean right now. Leave the team, and go back to school. We’ll all be very proud of you.
Yi Jialian: Lift. Try the Body By Jake Tower 200. I got one for Christmas and I love it already. Come by tomorrow – Tuesday’s arms and back. It’s boring, but it’s a part of my life.
Eduardo Najera: Take up golf.
That’s all for now guys. Have a safe and Happy New Year’s. And much like the annoying/un-clever co-worker who says the same thing every December 31st – see you next year!