Monday Morning Mailbag #3

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 [email protected].

For the third straight week, you guys sent in some awesome questions. We here at NetsAreScorching appreciate & love to hear them, and oftentimes you guys are able to start some really interesting discussions. Sebastian was your resident Nets guru for the first two mailbags, and this week I get to slide into that role. Here are the answers to some of your most burning Nets-related questions.


Will Derrick Favors be the next Kwame Brown? Kwame Brown was once projected as a freak athlete with good defensive skill but very poor offensive skill. If he won’t be, what qualities does he have that will make him successful? How do you project his career?

I’m going to answer your questions in reverse, because that’s what makes sense to me. I always find it hard to project player careers – none of us really know how this will all play out, and while we can take guesses there are just too many indeterminate factors. Best-case scenario, Favors becomes a mix of Amare Stoudemire and Dwight Howard. Worst-case scenario, he becomes… well, a better version of Kwame Brown. The truth likely lies somewhere in the middle.

Favors and Brown is an interesting comparison for the reasons you note – both were so highly touted for similar reasons. However, outside of some physical attributes I don’t think they have much in common. First, let’s take a look at how they stacked up physically before the draft:

Kwame is a little taller, but Favors has him beat essentially everywhere else – he’s got a longer wingspan, a higher reach, a better vertical, and he’s faster end-to-end. (Kwame benched more, but don’t put too much stock in bench numbers for strength – the bench press inherently favors players with shorter arms because of the compact power needed to press. That’s why if you believe the combine Luke Harangody is the strongest player in 2010.) Also, they didn’t measure for it in 2001 but Kwame has very small hands and difficulty gripping the basketball, which is certain death for a post player. Derrick’s hands are huge – not as big as a guy like DeMarcus Cousins but he certainly won’t have any trouble controlling the basketball with one hand.

Another one of Kwame’s problems is that he wasn’t mentally ready to handle the NBA – there’s an absolutely fascinating article from 2002 about Kwame Brown’s struggles dealing with an entirely new life in professional basketball. That should be required reading regardless of your feelings on Kwame; it perfectly details why he was essentially designed to be a bust. Nevertheless, his laundry list of character issues includes a rape accusation (to be fair, the charges were dropped), a misdemeanor arrest, and a likely innocuous but still ridiculous cake-throwing incident. This is not a problem that Derrick suffers – he’s a shy kid, but he’s certainly not a child. Also unlike Kwame, it doesn’t appear that Favors is going to feud with teammates & coaches, skip practices, and be the general all-around cancer that Kyle Weidle was able to so beautifully illustrate back in 2008 on TrueHoop Wizards affiliate Truth About It.

Finally, Kwame was a kid who was shot out of high school into Michael Jordan’s playpen with no seasoning and no opportunity to be exposed in college. Derrick Favors was a top-5 prospect before Georgia Tech and didn’t do anything to hurt his stock while he was there. He was given an opportunity to fail, and he didn’t. He wasn’t an all-around superstar, but as I noted in my video analysis, his team’s system is more to blame for that than him. Had Kwame spent a year in college, there’s a good chance his major flaws would have been exposed and he never would have been a top-5 selection. So to answer your first question, Derrick’s blend of skill, athleticism, and personality, along with his one-year collegiate track record, make him a far more enticing prospect than Kwame Brown, and I’d be utterly shocked to see his career follow the same trajectory.


Who do you think has a better season for the Nets this season, Anthony Morrow or Terrence Williams?  Who are you pulling for?

I’m pulling for both! Morrow and Williams do very different things on the court – Morrow is a sharpshooter with defensive issues and T-Will is a jack-of-all-trades with a broken jumper. “Better” is a weird arbitrary guideline – I think both guys will play their role very well and exceed expectations. I expect (and would prefer) Morrow to be the starter, so statistically he might have prettier basic numbers solely because of playing time, but T-Will is the more well-rounded player so that also has to be taken into account. If Avery can get a stranglehold on T-Will’s abilities, I think it’s possible he makes a huge leap this year – but he’s got a lot of work to do with his decision-making before he can be a consistent asset.


What do you think about the Nets filing paperwork to officially change the name of the team, do you like the idea and what potential name can you think of?

I wouldn’t put too much stock in it – the Nets have to file the paperwork to change their name even if they’re keeping “Nets” just because they’re moving. They’re obviously not going to be called the “New Jersey Nets” in Brooklyn. That being said, I think they’re going to keep the Nets moniker and be the Brooklyn Nets. I’m fine with that, but if they do want to change it I think a cool name would be the Brooklyn Knights. Of course, then we’d have to change the website name, and no one wants that hassle.


Hey NAS, I’m a daily reader.  I have been wondering, is there any chance that the acquisition of Troy Murphy could possibly mean that the Nets could package Favors and some picks in a trade for a stud like Carmelo? Seems to make sense, doesn’t it?  Thanks guys!

I would honestly be very, very surprised to see the Nets include Favors in a deal for Carmelo. I felt that way before Murphy and I still feel that way now. All the reliable reports I’ve read indicate that they love Favors, and Carmelo won’t want to go to a team that’s going to be missing one of its prized young big man of the future. I think our most likely option in getting Carmelo is to swing a three-team deal – one that can send a quality expiring to Denver in return for Devin Harris from us, all the while sending prospects, picks, and cash to Denver to sweeten the pot. Last week, I made this offer to Roundball Mining Company‘s Jeremy Wagner:

That deal would include a first rounder (2011 top-8 protected, if top 8 it becomes 2012 top-12 protected, if top 12 becomes unprotected first in 2013), the right to swap firsts the year after the other first-round pick is exercised, second-round picks in 2014 and 2016, and $3 million cash. I think that’s the best realistic deal we can offer without giving up Favors, and if it comes down to it I’d rather the Nets keep him than acquire Carmelo.


What do you think of putting Terrence Williams and Damion James as starters?

I like both guys, but I personally don’t think either one should be starting. I think if T-Will is going to succeed, it’s going to be in a sparkplug sixth man’s role. He’s not a good enough ballhandler or decision-maker to be a full-time point guard, and he’s not a good enough shooter to be a shooting guard. What he can definitely be is a guy who can come in for 20-25 minutes a game and change the landscape of it with big plays in short bursts.

Damion James is another one of those “sparkplug” players – he’s more NBA-ready than a guy like Favors because he has four years of seasoning, but I don’t think he’s good enough to start from day 1. He’s going to be a very good player, but he’s not an upgrade over Outlaw or Murphy at the 3 or the 4 right now.

Thanks again for sending in your questions. If you have more, send them to [email protected] for next Monday!