Monday Morning Mailbag #6

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].

Well, you folks truly outdid yourself this week – we got a lot of really great questions for the mailbag. You guys always bring up great topics to discuss. Thanks again, and remember to keep sending them in for next week!


With Kevin Durant emerging as a superstar last year, in his 3rd season, do you see Brook Lopez having the same leap? Maybe not becoming a superstar but putting up all-star numbers? Thanks

Yes and no. Kevin Durant is a once-in-a-generation type of player – all you need to see is yesterday’s FIBA Gold Medal final to learn that. The Nets don’t have Kevin Durant, but that’s okay – only one team in the NBA does. As for Brook, I’d say he’s already been putting up all-star numbers, just without the all-star pedigree. Truth be told, I’m not exactly sure what’s going to happen to Brook’s numbers this year. The entire structure of the team has changed so drastically that it’s possible he’ll even see a slight decrease in his touches but a huge leap in his efficiency since teams can’t just double-team him in the post anymore.

So that being said, I don’t think he’ll make a “leap” like Kevin Durant made because Kevin Durant made a leap into the MVP discussion and became the youngest scoring champion ever at 21 years old, but I will say that I think if Brook has recovered fully from the mono and stays injury-free he should be a lock to make the all-star team. Being on a team that’s spread with shooters around him is going to do wonders for a guy with his offensive skillset, and truth be told if he brings to the table what he brought last year there’s a good chance he’s going to get a lot of points in this upcoming season. Add in any potential development, and it’s hard not to be excited about Brook in 2010-11.


Assuming the starting lineup is Lopez, Murphy, Outlaw, T-Will, & Harris, do you see both Outlaw and T-Will averaging about 18 points and 7 boards? I think with better scorers around him that Harris’s numbers will drop while everyone else’s will rise. Just let me know what you guys think thanks a lot.

Well firstly, we can’t assume that T-Will is going to be starting. There’s a good chance that the starting shooting guard will actually be Anthony Morrow. Assuming that T-Will does start though, it would be pretty hard for both of them to average 18-7 for a few reasons. Firstly, neither has shown that they’re that kind of scorer – Outlaw has averaged 15.8 points per 36 minutes in his career, and T-Will only started scoring in the 13-14 range in the last two months of the season. Secondly, those two guys aren’t going to be the primary offensive options. While you’re right that having more offensive options will allow Devin Harris to spread the offense, Brook Lopez and Harris will assuredly be the #1 and #2 offensive options on this team, and it’s hard enough to have two guys on your team who average at least 18 points per game, much less four. It’s difficult to say who’s going to be averaging what since we’re not really sure how the team looks in Avery’s system yet, but it would be pretty difficult for both of them to average 18 a game when they’re not primary offensive options.


I dont know if it was just me, but it seemed like big men played really well against Brook last season. How much of a defensive liability do you think Lopez and Murphy will be as our starting bigs next season?

This is probably our team’s biggest question mark right now – defense in the frontcourt. As bad as that sounds, it’s actually good news – last year it was much worse with Yi Jianlian & Josh Boone playing the primary minutes at the 4. Hopefully Derrick Favors can soften the blow a bit, but he’s still the youngest player in the NBA and the Nets can’t realistically expect him to make a huge difference while he transitions to the speed of the NBA game. However, so much of a team’s defense is reliant upon their system, and Avery Johnson is known for being a defensive-minded coach. If he can implement his defensive strategy effectively, it’s possible Brook & Derrick make significant strides defensively throughout the year. Murphy is the kind of guy who’s never been known as a good defender, but I’m fine with him playing the primary minutes at the 4 – he grabs defensive rebounds at a furious rate (he led the entire NBA in 2009 with a 32% defensive rebound rate – that’s right, better than guys like Dwight Howard and Samuel Dalembert, and by a pretty fair margin), and while his post defense isn’t great he’s surprisingly adept at guarding the pick-and-roll. He’ll complement Brook well in the starting lineup, and even if they won’t be the most formidable defensive frontcourt duo they should be serviceable on most nights.


Now that Yi is traded, do you think that the Nets acquired him more from a business perspective or a basketball perspective? Business perspective being the Marketing opportunity that Yi presents since there is a large Asian population in the NY/NJ area. I’m starting to think more of the former than the latter because we traded Richard Jefferson, a borderline All-Star, for Bobby Simmons (contract) and Yi which in mind was for strictly potential. What do you think?

I think it was a little bit of both. On the financial side, trading Richard Jefferson was a financial move – it was the second step in shedding contracts for the Summer of LeBron, and going young, cheap, and expiring was the plan. Also, not only was Yi tapping into the Asian market locally, he was also tapping into it globally – having the rights to the only true face of China in the NBA outside of Yao Ming means you’ve got a market of a billion people overseas. On the basketball side it was hard not to be intrigued by Yi’s potential – he’s always been an excellent athlete (look at his combine numbers if you’re interested) and although he faced some issues in his rookie year you could definitely see the potential in his game. I do wonder if he’ll ever put it together, but I am glad that we’ve moved on from the Yi era.


With the rosters now leaked, who are you picking on the Nets for your NBA Jam twosome? I’m going with Petrovic and Lopez. Also, which team besides the Nets are you most excited to play as? I’m thinking the Hawks with Johnson/Smith/Dominique.

You hit it right on the head – Drazen Petrovic and Brook Lopez is going to be the best Nets combo by far, although it’ll be hard to not play with Kenny Anderson a few times. Too bad Courtney Lee is still on the roster – hopefully they can do an update sometime. As for the rest of the teams, I love the possibilities of a Rose-Rodman combo and a Rondo-Bird combo, but at the end of the day I can’t pass up John Wall & Manute Bol.


I was wondering if there will be more podcasts for this upcoming season? And I also saw on twitter that Devin reads NAS pretty cool.

What Matty is referring to is Devin Harris recently linking to Sebastian’s article about him on his twitter account, and then telling Sebastian that he does in fact read us here at Nets Are Scorching. This is very cool, and we’re glad to have Devin as a reader – not just because he shares a name with me, either. As for podcasts, it’s still up in the air but it looks like you should hear a few from us this season.


How good are the Nets chances of getting Carmelo Anthony? When would they get him?

Every week we hear another rumor. Carmelo’s going to join Amare and Chris Paul in New York. Wait, he’s open to an extension with the Nets. No, he wants a trade to the Rockets. No, he actually wants to stay. Oh, the Bulls are a possibility. The Carmelo rumors are getting out of control, for whatever reason – maybe the reality TV fan in each of us is jonesing for the next “Decision.” Carmelo Anthony is a great player and I’d love to have him on the Nets (but only for a fair price, and certainly not for our prized Derrick Favors), but at this point it’s impossible to tell where or when he might be dealt until more concrete information starts to come in.


Can you weigh in on something I’ve been wondering about? Why would the Nets trade valuable assets to the Nuggets now for Carmelo if he’s only signed through this season? It seems to me it would be an epic disaster if they traded at least two key players only to see Carmelo leave as a freee agent after the season.

The assumption is that a team (any team) would only trade for Carmelo if he were to agree to at least a three-year contract extension. There’s no way he’s worth giving up the farm for a one-year rental when the team wouldn’t compete for the title with him for that one year anyway.

Keenan Milbourne

Would you like the Nets to pull off one more transaction or are you satisfied with this team as currently constructed?  If you did want them to make another trade, who do you think we need to get in the playoffs and put a scare into someone?

I’m fine with this team right now. Making the playoffs is unlikely but possible, and even though we’re not shooting for a 2011 title this team is going to be a lot of fun to watch now. What sort of difference will Avery Johnson’s system make? How will Brook Lopez develop with real shooters around him? How will Devin bounce back from the past year? Can T-Will can prove he belongs for a full season? Will Anthony Morrow break any three-point shooting records? How many times will Derrick Favors slam the ball through someone’s face?

And, of course, how well will the Nets compete?

I’m ready to go to war with the team the Nets have now, and while we’ve still got a ton of weaknesses there aren’t many players right now who would make such a difference getting that I’d want to mess with the makeup of this team. There’s the elephant in the room I haven’t mentioned (hint: his name rhymes with Charfellow Mansion-y), and obviously he’d be a great addition, but I’m not hung up on acquiring him. There’s a lot to be excited about, right here, right now.

Thanks again to everyone for sending in your questions!