Nets open practice: your thoughts

After yesterday’s open practice that some of you could attend but I unfortunately could not, I encouraged you guys to e-mail us your thoughts. Below are those thoughts.

1) Stephen Graham and Johan Petro have been upgraded- Shelden Williams and Ime Udoka may not have been the sexiest free agent signings, but both showed that they could make a valuable contribution to the Nets this season. Udoka, who played on the “blue team” (which were the starters as well as Udoka and Sundiata Gaines), shut down Stephen Graham, not that stopping Graham is such a difficult task. Udoka also has a nice jumper. Unlike Graham, Udoka is actually a good defender, and showed in warmups and the game that he can nail a corner three when needed.

Shelden Williams was unsurprisingly on the starter’s team. Williams played okay, hustling on defense and grabbing some rebounds. However, playing “okay” as a backup bigman would be a significant improvement upon last year’s performance by Johan Petro. Williams and Udoka could be valuable role players on a Nets team that was in dire need of a bench spark last season.

2) Damion James is going to be very useful this season- James only played 25 games last year, but showed in a small sample size that he can defend well and rebound at a good rate for a small forward. If healthy, James proved tonight that he could get major minutes at both forward spots, as he once again played excellent defense. Like Udoka, he was guarding the likes of Dennis Horner and Stephen Graham for most of the game, so just about any NBA forward would have had a decent defensive game, but it was still clear how good of a defender he was.

3) Marshon Brooks could be a star- Brooks wowed the crowd in warmups by doing a few great dunks (including a ridiculous one-handed 360), and his play in scrimmage was equally great. In one instance, Brooks followed in Iman Shumpert’s footsteps, cleanly stripping Deron Williams off a dribble and leading the attack the other way. Although they didn’t announce the stats, Brooks surely led the “white team” (bench players) in points, showing off his offensive arsenal with a flurry of dunks, shots, and even a poorly thrown alley-oop that he turned into two points. The two sides were clearly not going all-out defensively (the starters won at the buzzer), but Brooks played better than expected on defense and was clearly the MVP of this game.

— Cory Bernstein

  • Marshon Brooks is an athletic specimen. His arms are… beyond long{{1}}[[1]]ed. note: Brooks’s wingspan measured at the combine at 7’1″, longer than any player his height or shorter in the history of the combine. -D.K.[[1]]. And his high-flying dunking ability was impressive.
  • Jordan Farmar displayed some impressive shooting, launching 3s over D-Will all night.
  • Jerry Smith (just waived) impressed me, way more than Sundiata Gaines, in fact. Gaines was constantly fumbling the ball; didn’t see a glaring mistake from Smith all night.
  • Damion James is huge… and his offensive skills looked better than ever. I hope they can find him some time in the rotation even after the addition of AK.
  • Jordan Williams did not play in the scrimmage, but looked awful in the shoot-around. It seemed like he couldn’t hit anything.
  • Whatever’s going on with Johan Perto’s hair…

— Logan Stevenson

Thanks to Cory and Logan for your thoughts.