A long time ago, maybe 78 years or so, the Pilgrims sailed along the Atlantic from Novia Scotia and landed on Plymouth Rock. They were met by the Indians who were minding their own business when the pale men approached them and bought the island of Manhattan for some gold coins and a couple of boxes of Jujy Fruit. Hence, the holiday, Thanksgiving came to be. Or something like that as I’m not too sure about the details. However, this much I know – what I’m thankful for regarding the New Jersey Nets!
First and foremost, I’m thankful for a new owner who doesn’t mind spending money on not just players, facilities, and personnel, but also on the ladies. New Jersey Nets majority owner Mikhail Prokhorov, if I may steal from Sade, is a smooth operator. And while his prediction of making the playoffs this season may not come to fruition, I appreciate the cojones in that bold statement. Wait, did I just say I appreciate cojones? In any case, secure in my masculinity, I can safely say that I have a man-crush on Prokhorov because he has a vision and is taking every step to see it happen.
Second on the list, without question, is the Little General, head coach Avery Johnson. He brings a strong presence, unlike that Kiki Vandenoonelistentome person. You listen to Johnson and his rules or you sit your buttocks down on the bench (c’mon Terrence Williams!). He certainly has a solid coaching record, albeit a small sample, and an NBA championship ring to his credit. Like Prokhorov, Johnson has a vision (from a shorter point of view) and when dealing with a young team like this, is selling this to his team and herding them into believing. Even though I’m a huge T-Will fan, I’m glad Johnson is laying down the gauntlet and not taking any shiznit.
I’m happy that Devin Harris seems to have found his swagger back. Watch him play and you can see how confident of a player he is and he’s playing defense again! Harris is also attacking the basket and getting to the free-throw line as Johnson wanted him to do before the season and it looks like there isn’t any tension in the relationship between coach and player. Can Harris become an All-Star again? I think so, with the ubiquitous caveat that he stay healthy. So far, he’s looking good.
There was a prolonged rough patch for Brook Lopez earlier this season, but after the Atlanta Hawks game earlier in the week, as well as his new close-cut hairstyle, Lopez looks like he can get back on track. Regardless, how thankful does everyone that loves the Nets have to be to have a young big that can do the things he does. Lopez has been getting so much hype in his young career, but yet it hasn’t fazed him in the least. A potential superstar without any attitude issues? Thank you, basketball gods!
As much as most people didn’t like the Nets’ offseason haul, I’m thankful for Jordan Farmar, Travis Outlaw, and Anthony Morrow. Johan Petro… not so much. However, the aforementioned trio has made their presence felt in a significant way at different times during the young season. As the season moves forward, I totally expect the new guys (sans Petro) to become regular factors in games. All this team needs is to build its chemistry a bit more and this trio (again, sans Petro) will become difference-makers.
I am truly thankful that the Nets front office haven’t traded rookie Derrick Favors, as of yet anyway. I’m a big opponent against bringing in Carmelo Anthony, especially at the cost of Favors. Melo is a chucker and while he scores a ton, he doesn’t exactly do it efficiently. Besides, I think he would mess up Lopez’s development because he would demand the ball in the half-court offense and not even give Lopez a real chance. Plus Melo doesn’t play any consistent defense, if any. My favorite hashtag of late on my Twitter when it comes to the Nets and/or Melo is #nomelo. I think we need to start a movement.
In any case, on to the main point of the previous paragraph… I am thankful that Favors is still on the Nets and hope he stays on it. He’s shown flashes and really did well at the beginning of the season. The revelation that is Kris Humphries (another thing I’m thankful for) has kept Favors on the bench more recently, but I’m patient and can wait for Favors. Sitting him during his rookie season is actually a smart thing in my opinion because he can get used to the NBA life and learn from the bench. Since Avery is a good teacher and Favors an equally good student, I really think Favors is going to be a keeper.
Well, that’s what I’m thankful for when it comes to the Nets and I’m really hoping that soon enough there are more things to appreciate about the team. They’re not the Lakers or Celtics, but the Nets are definitely better from last season (which isn’t a hard thing to do), but more than the W-L record, there’s tangible hope for the Nets… and I’m definitely thankful for that.