A Couple Guest Posts

Mark and I always encourage you guys to e-mail us with questions or thoughts on the Nets (our e-mails can be found on the contact page).  If yours is interesting, well written, and level-headed we would love to post it.  Over the past two days, Mark and I got two e-mails exactly like this, and we decided to post them here.  I am not saying I agree/disagree with either, but they were both interesting, and I thought they both could lead to interesting discussions in the comments.

First we have an e-mail from Christopher Cavallo on the draft:

Hey guys. Been following the site for awhile now, and as a long time Nets fan, this year has obviously been really difficult for a couple reasons. One of the few high points about a year like this is the lottery pick implications. Lucky for us, I think this is a very special draft class.  And I think today exhibited that fact nicely.

12:00 pm. Ohio State v. Michigan. Kentucky v. Tennessee. Evan Turner. John Wall.

Demarcus Cousins? Possibly. If things go terribly wrong.

I was faced with the hardship of a Nets/Celtics game at 1pm, and the sheer terror of imagining watching all three games at one time. So I opted to watch the Nets game later. I have NBA League Pass Broadband, so all 50-odd Nets losses are archived for me for weeks, thank the Lord.

I just have some basic thoughts on what I saw.

Evan Turner is absolutely for real. And he may indeed be as good as John Wall. While Michigan isn’t the same caliber team as Tennessee, I thought Evan Turner far outplayed John Wall in his respective game today. They are both playmakers, for sure. Wall is more explosive. Turner is more polished. Does this mean I think the Nets would take Turner with the #1 overall? Absolutely not. It does comfort me greatly that history’s streak of rewarding a team WITHOUT the worst record the #1 pick may extend into the lottery this year—because we have other options.

I paid equal attention to both games today. I did NOT see every play from both games. Here’s what I witnessed, from my bed, in my lazy Saturday afternoon haze:

Evan Turner – 8/11 shooting – 0/0 3pt – 2/3 ft – 11 reb – 7 asts – 4 blks – 8 TOs – 18pts

John Wall – 6/16 shooting – 0/4 3pt – 7/8 ft – 5 reb – 6 asts – 0 stl – 5 TOs – 19 pts

They both played 39 minutes. Turner had a steal too, along with his blocks. They both are forced to control the ball. Turner may control the ball even more than Wall, which is alarming. They both have terrific handles. They both force the issue and sometimes get into trouble.

Specifically today, Wall really cost his team down the stretch with a charge. He was having success the entire game getting into the middle of the lane. Especially off the fast break. Wall led the charge and erased a double digit deficit late in the 2nd half. Two coast to coast And 1’s had Ian and Jim reminiscing about Jason Kidd, and had Kentucky back in the ball game. In the closing minutes, Wall forced himself back into the middle, ran over a Tennessee big man, and great defense ended this game.

Wall did a good job finding open men, matching his average in assists. Wall also has to contend with Bledsoe, who goes haywire for spurts and dominates the ball. Turner faces issues like that less, although Buford (any relation to Rodney?) sometimes attempts the same. It was certainly not Wall’s best game, but his open court brilliance and his ability to take over games for long stretches at a time is breathtaking to watch. He loves to get his teammates involved, but he also knows when he has to take over. It didn’t work out today, that’s all.

Over on ESPN, at the same time, Evan Turner floored me. At 6’7”, Turner should not be able to handle the ball that well. His midrange game was perfection today. He was 8/8 before missing his final three shots. Turner had a couple drive-pullups to the baseline, all of which he swished. In first half, he had a ridiculous cross-over to behind the back dribble stop that froze his defender dead, only to watch another mid range jump shop hit nothing but net.

One of the key moments of the game saw a driving Michigan defender fly by the defense, only be completely negated by a backboard pinching block by Turner.  Turner flew down the length of the court, found an open man, collected the missed basket, got by a defender and laid the ball. He looked like he exerted no effort. His movements are silky smooth, and his jump shot, when in range, is beautiful. He is a weak three point shooter, but he never forces them, as evidenced today. 0/0.

The block on the aforementioned play was one of four. He’s a tight defender with long arms and great instincts. The only mar on his state line is the 8 TOs. When you control the ball that much, I suppose turnovers are bound to happen.

In conclusion—John Wall will be the #1 pick for Nets, if we are fortunate enough to get that pick. Evan Turner at #2 would be a hell of a consolation prize.  Thanks for all your coverage! Hope the draft watch continues. I love college basketball.

The second is from Jake Alpert on the Nets’ Future:

Seeing as this season has virtually come to a close for the Nets, I got to thinking ahead to some off-season moves they might want to consider making.

1. Trading for a superstar point guard:

If the Hornets do not make the playoffs this year, it is quite possible that they will think of making changes just as they had with the firing of former Net coach Byron Scott. Although he is the face of the franchise, I do not believe that Chris Paul is untouchable. My idea of a good trade for the Nets would be to offer Devin Harris, Terrence Williams, and the 2010 first round draft pick to the Hornets for Chris Paul. The Hornets will receive a player who has already made an all-star appearance in Devin Harris who also has many very good years ahead of him. Terrence Williams is also a player who has shown flashes this season of becoming a solid NBA player. The first round pick, with the Nets record this season, will most likely wind up with one of the picks 1-5, which gives the Hornets the option to possibly take future stars of John Wall, Evan Turner, or DeMarcus Cousins. Chris Paul would bring an energy and leadership to the point guard position that hasn’t been seen by the Nets since Jason Kidd brought them to back-to-back championship appearances.

2. Big name free agents:

After this season, the Nets need to make a splash. The combination of an uncapped year and the amount of money coming off the book should prove to be key for landing big name players. Although it would be amazing to get Lebron James, it is relatively unrealistic because of the speculation that he will stay a Cavalier or go to the Knicks. A player that is a definite possibility would be Chris Bosh. He is a perfect fit for a Nets lineup that is reasonably weak in the frontcourt. Other players that should be considered are Al Harrington, who is very versatile in his game, Rudy Gay, who is developing into a superstar, and Richard Jefferson, who loved it in New Jersey and would be a great homecoming for a great player. Also consider resigning Jarvis Hayes, who’s proven to be a nice player coming off the bench.

3. NBA Draft:

If the Nets trade away their first overall pick, they still have the 23rd and 31st overall picks. I’m not sure where they should go with the 31st pick, maybe Sherron Collins or Jarvis Varnardo or Jerome Dyson. As for the 23rd overall pick, I suggest they choose Paul George out of Fresno State. He is NBA ready in terms of size, with a 6’8” 210 pound frame. The strengths on his scouting are immense and the weaknesses listed are all easily correctable. He is very versatile with his jump shot, ability to create his own shot, and his rebounding and shot blocking ability. As a freshman, he shot 44.7 percent from beyond the arc, which would be a huge help to a team that has had the worst three point shooting percentage in the league. There are many upsides with him and it should prove to be a low risk and valuable pick.

Let’s discuss this stuff in the comments, and remember if you want an e-mail posted here, send them over.  Mark and I love to read them.