Pregame Open Thread: New Jersey Nets @ Dallas Mavericks

Mired in a six-game losing streak, the road for the Nets gets no easier, as they take on the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas. The Mavs are on a ten-game winning streak, including some serious performances from Dirk Nowitzki and former Nets point guard Jason Kidd. The big Nets news for tonight’s game is the shakeup to the lineup: rookie Damion James has earned the start, moving Travis Outlaw to the bench. Without deeply analyzing this move, I’ll merely say that I’m a fan of it; Outlaw was at his most effective as a scorer off the bench and James is an Energizer bunny. He’s a great sparkplug to have in what’s often been a snoozeworthy starting lineup.

On that note, here are a few things to look out for in tonight’s game.

Power Forward minutes. This one seems to be up here every game, but this time the implications have increased. Avery Johnson has officially stated that Derrick Favors will be in the starting lineup sooner rather than later, and that means that he believes the Nets have three rotation-quality power forwards in their ranks. Something’s gotta give. I expect a trade soon. On a basketball note, though, it’ll be interesting to see just how much Favors plays tonight, given both this announcement and the power forward on Dallas that I hear is pretty good. Either way, these are much better problems to have than Yi Jianlian, right?

*Update: According to Al Iannazzone, Derrick Favors will be out tonight with a thigh contusion. A three-player PF rotation becomes two.

Welcome back, Terrence Williams. After averaging a monstrous triple-double in Springfield (and sharing some time with me after his first game), T-Will is back in a Nets uniform and slated to play. He said he was sent down because he had to regain his love for the game, and it’ll be interesting to see how he performs now that he’s been afforded the opportunity in the NBA again. I still think he’s got all the tools to be a perfect sixth man, and having his size at the 2 spot is going to be a huge help.

The point guard battle. Remember “Thank You Cuban”? Devin has absolutely torched these guys in the past, and while he didn’t do so as much last year he’s looked much more like 2008 Devin than 2009 Devin this season. Jason Kidd defensively is a shell of his former self, and while he’s still got some of the best court vision to ever enter an arena Devin should be able to overtake him on pure quickness alone.

For more coverage of the Dallas Mavericks, check out TrueHoop affiliate The Two Man Game.