New Era Nets

New Era Nets


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive

It has been said that the Devin Harris era begins for New Jersey, but that is premature. Devin has been hurt and we know that a team is only as good as its postseason credentials.

With that in mind, this current Nets\’ group seems to have a pretty good shot at picking up where the Kidd-era team left off (no kidding!). There\’s depth, versatility and size. These guys make up a pretty nice roster.

If history is a guide, the Nets always play better after the trading deadline passes. Why? Because the players know who is going to be on the team and can then concentrate on playing.

The team is almost three-deep at every position (if you incude Van Horn) and you have some new personnel that are willing and able to play defense in Hassell, Diop and Harris. Although Nets\’ President Rod Thorn may not admit it right now, he didn\’t want Trenton Hassell\’s contract in the first place. He\’s probably now thinking after the Chicago game that \”isn\’t it nice to have a lockdown defender on the roster that can shut down other shooters on the perimeter better than anything the Nets had before?\”*

The Nets traded Jason Kidd to the Mavericks the other day because it was time. Judging by the first game of the post-Kidd era, the Nets are playing a more relaxed and intense brand of team ball.

Jason wanted to move to \’greener pastures\’ in his quest for an elusive ring. The Nets accommodated and as a result eliminated a major distraction clouding the Nets\’ immediate fortunes from the collective team psyche.

Nets\’ President and GM Rod Thorn basically swapped starting point guards with Mark Cuban. Under the circumstances of being forced to trade the \’face of the Nets\’ franchise,\’ he would have taken Devin Harris even if Devin was returning from Iraq with a deep shrapnel wound and couldn\’t join the starting lineup until next season!

Cuban got his leader … Someone who could win it all now. The Nets got some value in return … and a chance at a better future that continues this evening with a game against the faltering Indiana Pacers.

Make no mistake about it, Kidd will be sorely missed by the Nets\’ faithful, but the new-era Nets may still earn a playoff berth in the weak Eastern Conference this season yet again. Moreover, some of the new faces, like DeSagana Diop (someone the Nets tried to acquire as a free agent before Dallas pounced) add much needed size in the middle and a willingness to work on defense, rebounding and the intangibles that make for team success.

Vince Carter, Richard Jefferson, Nenad Krstic and the balance of the veteran squad should be more relaxed with players like Hassell, Harris and Diop covering their backs. Young talent like Mo Ager, who was mentioned in the same breath with Shannon Brown and Hassan Adams by former GM Ed Stefanski, can\’t hurt and may surprise!

With the emerging Marcus Williams, Devin Harris (eventually) and Darrell Armstrong at the point; Vince Carter, Trenton Hassell and Mo Ager at the off-guard; Richard Jefferson, Boki Nachbar and Stromile Swift at the small forward; Josh Boone, Sean Willliams and Keith Van Horn [I can dream Keith, can\’t I?] at the power forward; and Krstic, Diop and Magloire at the center, I like the overall team balance, size, versatility, depth and athleticism. In short, I\’m beginning to like the Nets\’ chances.

With Marcus Williams\’ continued development, Vince Carter\’s rounding into form and Richard Jefferson\’s rededicating himself, if you look at it, this squad has much … if not more … than what it had before. If it all comes together quickly, expect the Nets to make some real noise in the postseason and take the team to new heights.

NBASCOUT is an independent freelance sportswriter that covers the NBA and the New Jersey Nets. He is not affiliated with the National Basketball Association. Copyright 2005-2008 by NBASCOUT, all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the express written consent of the author. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and not necessarily this website. You may e-mail NBASCOUT in care-of his wife, who writes for children, at kathyforkids@cs.com

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