Thursday, October 2, 2008

Pre-Hibachi's: New Jersey Nets

The Nets could be one of the most improved teams in the NBA this year. Vince Carter will become a leader and captain of a young, promising team. The Nets will make the playoffs. The Nets will surprise people this year. They are building for the 2010 Free Agency period (LeBron James and co.) The Nets are going to win less than 35 games this year. The Nets could finish top 6 in the East at the end of the regular season.
Those are just some of the ideas and thoughts being thrown around during the pre-season. Most is wild speculation, some of it not so far-fetched.

The Nets finished last seasons campaign with a 34-48 record under Lawrence Frank. They hope to win just as many games this year and will be lucky to get a half dozen more W's by seasons close. Although a minor win increase (around 36-46) is reasonable, playoff expectations for the current roster is unreasonable. I expect them to finish 9th or 10th and 2 or 3 games outside the eight.

IN: Ryan Anderson (R), Keyon Dooling, Chris Douglas Roberts (R), Jarvis Hayes, Brook Lopez (R), Eduardo Najera, Bobby Simmons, Yi Jianlian.

OUT: Jason Kidd, DeSagana Diop, Richard Jefferson, Nenad Krstic, Bostjan Nachbar, Marcus Williams.

As good as Vince Carter is (and sometimes isn't) theres no way that he can carry a team of (basically) scrubs to the playoffs in an ever improving East.

Devin Harris is the only other true starter for the Nets and is a guy, who, defensively can lock his man down for minutes at a time and really disrupt the other teams mojo. Offensively, he can get to the basket and inside the key whenever he wants, but lacks that killer scoring punch, although he did show promising signs last year. Harris can run a team and is becoming a leader in his own right, but how much his development is stifled under Lawrence Frank is something that might have all 4 Nets fans worried. Frank has promised more freedom and creativity but I'll wait until December to see the (rotten) fruits of his lack of labour if they go on a 5 game losing streak.

Carter, will once again have the weight of a franchise resting upon his shoulders. Can he do a better job of it than '03? Time will tell.

Starting Line-up:

Bobby Simmons
Yi Jianlian
Josh Boone

The Nets bench is solid, but not deep. Brook Lopez could be starting over Boone by seasons end and Yi could either break out or go into damage control at any stage, he (in my opinion) can break or make this Nets team (even more than Carter can). Vince is looking for a new contract and should be on his best behaviour (like Ron Artest).

Josh Boone is solid and can be expected to rebound, set good picks and hustle, while Sean Williams is.... unpredictable. If either of them can get it together, then in 2 or 3 years time the Nets could be a very dangerous team come playoff team. Harris is only 25 and is entering his 5th season and with (hopefully) a big free agent signing into the future the sky is the limit for the core of this squad. Losing (over the course of a season) the captain, leading scorer,leading rebounder, floor general, and veteran presence in the locker room hurts however way you slice it. But that also means that big minutes are available to those willing to step up and take them. Or are forced into them.

The Nets will improve, but not drastically so, they'll have their chemistry issues, losing streaks and positive play, but will ultimately be looking to trade or sign free agents to improve their depth (Bobby Simmons starting!?)
If anything can be taken from last year though, take a look at the Sixers 10 games pre-all-star game to the playoffs. Best run apart from the Celtics and Houston. Maybe the same can be expected from the Nets? Unlikely, but the 4 fans can dream.
Hopefully we can go from this:
-And thats just one game worth of improvement!


Hursty said...

Yeh. Nobody cares about the Nets, so its not like I was expecting comments or anything. I'll just assume that you are all stunned by the brilliance of my writing and are speechless right now.

Anonymous said...

VC will jump over a fool this season. More in the 6'5 range, but nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

vince has carried a scrub team to the playoffs before- see toronto raptors

Hursty said...

HA! That was 7 years ago anonymous. When Vince was 25 or something. He's 30+ now man....

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