State of the Nets

By: NBASCOUT / Special to

Much like the US President who issues an annual state of the union address, I think it appropriate to do a brief one for the New Jersey Nets at this juncture. The Nets are enroute to Brooklyn via Newark. They will end up playing in a spanking new arena. All indications are they will be called: the New York Nets.

New Principal-Owner-to-be and mega-billionaire Mike Prokhorov, who has fielded a basketball champion of his own overseas, is set to take charge some time in April if all goes as expected. It remains to be seen, however, if he will bring a title to the Nets, but I have every confidence that he can!

In the meantime, it appears that interim coach-GM Kiki Vandeweghe is doing a fairly nice job developing some of the young roster talent albeit he is short on wins. While immediate results don\’t reflect much on the victory side of the ledger — though the Boston victory was impressive — give it time or bring aboard a worthy coaching successor! Kiki deserves more time to turn it around and I think he\’ll wind up to be a very good coach as well as GM given the chance.*

If the trajectory of improvement follows, the Nets will probably start winning more after unwittingly locking up the best shot at the number one overall pick in the draft, i.e., the worst overall record. While this dismal season may have a silver lining, the braintrust needs to do its homework on the draft.

Merely having helped Rod Thorn to facilitate the acquisition of an all-Star caliber player like PG Devin Harris for an aging, disgruntled, now 37-year-old all-Pro in Jason Kidd — that badly wanted out — should have earned Kiki Vandeweghe a new contract and a chance to see things through along with President Rod Thorn. It\’s not that Kidd isn\’t good for Dallas, but he was poison for New Jersey in his final season and Rod and Kiki got the job done. Kiki also had a hand in engineering the cap space that could land a quality free agent. Maybe staying the course, at least for a little while, is the best answer. Both shaped the roster to return to glory and give the team a fighting chance in free agency.

It should be noted once again that the best teams are built through the draft – not free agency. In fact, there is nothing free about free agency. It merely is an opportunity to overpay for players – many of whom are not worth it when all is said and done.

None the less, if you have the opportunity to improve your team without compensation and add a high-quality player (read: franchise impact), sometimes you gamble.

There are many ways to go about rebuilding a winner. The key is to invest well and make few mistakes along the way.

As for some of the names bandied about as prospective free agent acquisitions like LeBron James, Rudy Gay or David Lee, suffice to say that no free agent (first or second tier and this year or next) will find a better supporting cast with more upside, cap space or a bigger stage than in New York. Is LeBron smiling that rarefied billion-dollar smile just yet?

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 2010 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

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