[Mark Ginocchio is walking along Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, NY. On the right is the Atlantic Terminal mall and across the street is the Barclays Arena. We hear his voice commenting the action, as a narrator would. This narrating voice will be labeled MARK’S NARRATION to distinguish it from Mark’s actual words within the story]
Deron Williams. As Justin DeFeo said plainly, Williams has had what you would call a "frustrating" season: the maximum-contract point guar has yet to perform to the lofty expectations set for him when the Nets dealt Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, and two first-round picks to acquire him in February 2011. Outside of some brief spurts of greatness, Williams has struggled to hit shots, with blame rotating from his many injuries to lack of rest to systemic issues and back.
That's not to say that Williams has been a complete dud. The frustration only exists because his track record suggests that he can be better, and even considering... whatever it is that's held him back, he's still had some excellent moments. After the jump, check out two videos: the first a highlight mix of honorable mentions, and the second our list of D-Will's top 10 highlights of the season. Enjoy!
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In the aggregate, Brooklyn Nets shooting guard Joe Johnson hasn't had the season we'd imagined when the Nets traded pennies on the ($19 million) dollar(s) to acquire Johnson in July; his PER is below league average, his scoring and efficiency are down across the board, and there are games when he hardly looks like the six-time All-Star he was in Atlanta.
But it hasn't all been bad. Even with some Iso-Joe issues, Johnson has been the team's late-game catalyst, a rock with the ball in his hands (evidenced by his team-low turnover rate), and outside of Brook Lopez, its most consistent scorer. After the jump, here are his top ten plays at the halfway point of the season, with some bonus highlights at the beginning.
Brooklyn Nets starting forward and swiss army knife Gerald Wallace has had an enigmatic season; his numbers are down across the board, yet the team plays well with him in the game thanks to his willingness to guard the opponent's best scorer and lack of regard for his own safety. Wallace will twist, contort, and throw his body in any direction to make the play and embraces contact more than any player on the Nets.
In honor of Wallace's season thus far, as well as his hard-nosed, reckless style, we've got two highlight videos for Crash: the first honoring his biggest highlights of the season, and the second in recognition of his non-stop, frantic "crashes" that seem to happen at least once a game. Check them out after the jump... MORE →
Brooklyn Nets center Andray Blatche has undergone a resurgence in Brooklyn; after fighting both on- and off-court issues in Washington that led to his eventual amnesty, the Nets signed Blatche to a non-guaranteed contract in September in the hopes that they could maximize his offensive creativity while keeping the off-court issues to a minimum.
The latter didn't exactly pan out, but in his new role as a backup center, Blatche has quickly put together the best season of his career. Check out his ten best moments from the first half of the 2012-13 season after the jump... MORE →
Brooklyn Nets forward Mirza Teletovic hasn't had the smoothest road in the NBA: in 53 games, Teletovic has logged spotty playing time, punctuated with similarly inconsistent play. But when he's on, he's on. Check out his full highlight reel from the first half of the season, complete with insane fallaway shots, rhythmic spot-up threes, and SKY MIRZA.
Brook Lopez led Team Lopez in Comic Book Trivia the "Shooting Stars Competitions" as part of NBA All-Star Saturday in Houston. The Shooting Stars Competition teams a current NBA player, a WNBA player and a retired NBA player in a time based competition in which the participants have to make shots from six different posts of increasing difficulty in sequential order. Shot one is a 10 foot bank shot from the right angle, shot two is a 15-foot bank shot from the left angle, shot three is a straight on NBA three, shot four is an 18-foot right baseline jumper, shot five is a three pointer from the left angle and shot six is a half-court shot.
Wrist, ankle, calf, thigh, weight, sight lines, fatigue, system... Throughout his tenure with the Brooklyn Nets, there have been a multitude of reasons (excuses?) as to why point guard Deron Williams has not played up to the standard that fans, coaches, management and even Deron himself expect.
Though it hasn't always been good, the first half of the first season in Brooklyn Nets history has been nothing if not interesting. A franchise-record start led by Jerry Stackhouse and Reggie Evans, a Coach of the Month fired less than a month later, a sudden resurgence led by an interim coach nobody expected to last long, an inevitable slide, a first-time All-Star voted in only after being snubbed... It's been a roller-coaster ride worthy of Coney Island.
As we slide into the All-Star Break with the Nets all but assured a playoff spot and still very much in the hunt for first place in the Atlantic Division, it only makes sense that we take our game-by-game feature -- grading the game -- and stretch it across the season. In honor of the first half, what follows are midseason grades for each Brooklyn Nets player, plus interim coach P.J. Carlesimo.
Enjoy. (Or don't. Don't let me tell you what to do.)
The hits keep coming. According to Stefan Bondy of the NY Daily News, the Nets have expressed interest in Portland forward/center J.J. Hickson. The 6'9" Hickson is having a career year for the Blazers, averaging 12.7 PPG and 10.2 REB, but as Bondy notes in his tweet, not only would Hickson lose his bird rights if dealt, but he could also veto any trade.
Bondy later tweeted this:
Got pushback from the Nets regarding my report that they're interested in Portland forward JJ Hickson.
The Nets are no stranger to trade rumors, and it's no secret that they've looked to bring in someone new to fill the power forward spot. But as we've learned in the past, rumors are just rumors until something actually happens. So for now, just sit back, enjoy Brook Lopez's new haircut this weekend and take in what should be a fun round of All-Star festivities in Houston.
Speculation was sparked Thursday, just before Dwight Howard and the Lakers were about to get blown out on national television against their same-city rivals, the LA Clippers. Stephen A. Smith and Nets announcer Ryan Ruocco held their usual daytime radio show on ESPN Radio, 98.7 FM, NY. During the show, a caller asked the duo about a potential Dwight Howard trade to the Knicks. Ruocco responded by saying how Dwight's recent comments have sounded like a guy who will not be in LA next season. Smith agreed and shed even more knowledge on the former Orlando Magic center's thinking:
SAS: He's not happy being in LA, he's not happy playing alongside Kobe. No matter what he says...so I don't know what's gonna happen. Jim Buss is walking around telling everybody he's 95% certain Dwight's staying. Now; he can sign a 5 year deal for like $117 million I think, with the Lakers. He can sign for about 4 years and like $87 million with anybody else. But that 5th year is usually an option year. And so really it's like an extra $3 million as opposed to and extra $30 million on the contract....
I'm just of the mindset, and I had a reliable source tell me this, Dwight Howard will categorically deny it, but I trust my source; when they were playing Toronto, he sat there on the court and told Rudy Gay - "You messed up bad man, you should've waited and ended up with me in Brooklyn." that's what he told him. Now here's the problem; he doesn't determine that. He can't force his way to Brooklyn, he can't pull that off.
Now remember, the way the rules are stipulated now, you understand, the reality of the situation is that the Nets...he had his chance. Now if they want let go of Brook Lopez and they're able to unload Kris Humphries, you know, things of that nature, that could happen. But the Nets will have to be willing to capitulate and the Lakers have to be convinced that he's definitely going to leave. They've got less than a week. The trading deadline's rapidly approaching, it's February 21st, so it's a problem, but I'm just telling you...
RR: He's still saying that. He still thinks he's going to Brooklyn?
SAS: He still believes it.
RR: Is he just delusional or...?
SAS: Yes, he is...it's not that it's impossible, it's that he doesn't have the right to dictate anything. Now he's got an exceptional agent in Dan Fegan that can make some maneuvers, but if Dan Fegan had his way, he would've been in Brooklyn last year. You gotta remember when he opted in to stay in Orlando, he did that behind Dan Fegan's back.
RR: Dan was not happy about that, I'd assume.
SAS: Now Otis Smith, the former general manager for the Orlando Magic...understand that Otis Smith didn't like, back door Dwight or anything. When Dwight Howard came to him after they lost to San Antonio that Tuesday night, Otis Smith said go ahead and think about it. Don't make a rash decision. He didn't back door him. He wasn't sleazy or anything like that. Dwight Howard came, spoke to people and obviously, pressure from the family because the dad...the Orlando Magic organization did a phenomenal job of ingratiating itself with the Dwight Howard family. The father did not want him to leave, did not want him to leave. I'm telling you, I know what I'm saying. I met the father, I talked to the father. Father don't rate particularly fond of me. You understand because I looked him in the face told him where I stood on the matter...he wants...he wanted his son to remain in Orlando.
So my point is that when Dwight Howard opted in, he did it behind Fegan's back. Fegan had nothing to do with that.
RR: "Oh yeah, yeah, I know."
SAS: "So, if you could do it behind your agent's back once, you're very unpredictable...."
Smith's comments have to make fans wonder whether Dwight Howard to the Nets is still a possibility. Although incorrect with his estimations of the different types of contracts Howard could sign if he were to re-sign with LA or go elsewhere (it's really about 5 years, $100 million with LA and 4 years, $75 million elsewhere), the main point is that according to Stephen A., Dwight still yearns for Brooklyn. Also according to Stephen A.; Dwight still remains delusional.
Others around All-Star weekend are also trying to concoct ways in which a Dwight to Brooklyn move would be possible. Chris Sheridan of sheridanhoops.com offered a scenario in which the Lakers and Nets could do a sign and trade deal to bring D12 to BKN. Unfortunately, with both the Nets and Lakers being severely over the cap, a sign and trade during the summer would be near impossible. Sheridan responded by saying this:
To tweeps dismissing Dwight scenario because tax teams can't do S&Ts, my cap guru says would be difficult but not impossible for #Nets.