What\’s Wrong With A Euro Big Man With Skills?

The Power Forward Dilemma


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

If last season\’s title run by the Dallas Mavericks proved anything, it is that you can surround one superstar with a strong supporting cast and still beat a team with three superstars, two arguably the best to ever play their positions.

What it means for New Jersey is that you can win with less if you know how to make it more. Put another way, the sum of the whole can be bigger than the sum of the parts.*

Everybody in the NBA is looking to create the best \”Big Three\” collection of superstars to win a title. Dallas had the best overall talent evenly distributed and one great superstar: Dirk Nowitzki.

Dallas\’ Coach, Rick Carlyle, also outcoached his opposition when it boiled right down to it, but the \”Big Two\” prevailed: Nowitizki & Co. It was a title series for the ages.

Now it seems that the Nets have been searching for a Power Forward replacement ever since they let Kenyon \”K-Mart\” Martin abscond to Denver in free agency. Now, granted, he was a great part of the Nets that made it to the finals and brought a certain swagger with him, but it was fortunate for the Nets that they let him depart before his knees eventually gave out.

That said, I\’ve often wondered if the Nets were punished for letting him go? Since, they\’ve not been able to put an all-Star PF at the 4.

If the Nets can pair up Brook Lopez (or Dwight Howard should it come to that) with a star PF via the draft, in-trade or else wise, then it will mark the first time they\’ve done that since K-Mart left.

These players are out there. Some are vintage veterans, some are emerging young players and others are all-Stars already or waiting to be drafted. All the Nets have to do is acquire one, sooner or later.

PF Kris Humphries is a solid double-double machine (nothing to sneeze at), but he isn\’t an all-Star yet. If he could extend his range like David Lee, maybe he has a chance, but the Nets need a Tim Duncan or Dirk Nowitzki type to pair alongside Brook (or Dwight) as the case may be!

If the Nets don\’t find one soon enough in order to keep Deron around, then I will suggest they put Owner/PF/C Mikhail Prokhorov at the position.

I know they\’ll get an honest effort. No one wants to win more and, of course, the wing positions will take care of themselves.

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 2011 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

Where To Go From Here Pt 2

Mulling Moves


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

As the Nets moved from the Jason Kidd era to the Deron Williams, they were a little slow in moving an aging Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson-post ankle surgery.

While the Nets got value for each, they got the most for Jason Kidd. Vince Carter yielded swingman Courtney Lee, but they had to part with Brook Lopez\’s buddy PF Ryan Anderson. *

I would rather have made that trade without swapping Ryan Anderson for Courtney Lee. The Nets needed 4s. Similarly, I would not have been so quick to dump PF Yi Jianlian after swapping SF Richard Jefferson for him, though I understand the motivation for the transaction.

Also, when Miami wanted to trade SF Michael Beasley to the Nets, I was very tempted to take that trade and find another way to free up cap space if there was realistically any chance to acquire the services of LeBron James.

While the Nets were focused on the bluest of blue chips, other emerging players were being overlooked that were snapped up while the \’wait\’ was on.

One example was SF Rudy Gay. The other was PF David Lee. David could spread the floor and complement Brook in so many ways.

Another example is that while the Nets were waiting on Dwight Howard, the Orlando Magic were busy signing Glen \”Big Baby\” Davis at the behest of Dwight. That could keep Dwight in Orlando.

The Nets could have drafted (or signed in free agency) this unique player, Glen Davis, instead of PF Sean Williams (a marvelously gifted athlete with issues) who is no longer in the league. [Incidentally, since Billy King likes to stock the roster with the \”Williams\” surname – not a bad idea – perhaps he\’d consider bringing Sean back from Israel and Marcus back from Russia?]

All told, however, you have to seize your opportunities. If Dwight wants to play for the Nets, he will, but it\’s complicated. Make the easier, lower-risk deals first while waiting for the tougher ones to materialize.

The Nets should also take note that former SF Richard Jefferson routinely outplayed SF Andrei Kirilenko, but AK-47 is familiar to Deron. I\’d rather have SF Michael Beasley right now than either player, but the Nets lost the opportunity to pick up this highly drafted distressed asset when Miami was clearing space for the LBJ, Bosh and Wade coup.

I haven\’t seen former Net SF Boki Nachbar of late, but his game reminds me of AK-47s. He never got a chance to play the 3 as he can, but played very well all around. I like his toughness. He can be one of the shooters surrounding Deron.

Finally, there are many choices out there. You have to seize your opportunities. I\’m glad Billy acquired Deron.

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 2011 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

Mini-Report

State of the Nets


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

The state of the Nets can be summed up by one name: Brook Lopez! How Brook goes, barring any major roster move(s), will largely determine how the Nets fare this season.

Don\’t get me wrong. They will be better than last year. All-Star PG Deron Williams is a very crucial addition, but Brook\’s play will determine the trajectory of the entire season.*

The better he plays, the more likely that Brook will make it to Brooklyn and be a cornerstone of the franchise for years to come. Realizing what he can do and asserting his strength is something that he can work on.

7-foot Center Brook Lopez has the size, length and talent to be one of the best and impact the Nets\’ fortunes dramatically. BUT, it is a matter of his focus on rebounding and defense nightly that will make all the difference.

In the interim, the Nets will try to upgrade the roster as necessary, but if and when that happens is open to speculation. All that the existing squad can do is play basketball.

I, for one, am very optimistic. I think the Nets right now have more than they started with last season, with the exception of T-Will, who I liked, or Sasha Vujacic. They also have another year of Avery Johnson\’s coaching under their belt.

All of the foregoing could push the team into the 30 win category, maybe 40. The playoffs, as suprising as that sounds, may not be entirely out of the question.

If Deron plays off the ball some with Farmar at the point, maybe Deron can drop 50 on some teams like he did in Turkey? SF Andrei Kirilenko, if he signs with New Jersey as rumored, could bolster the team in some categories.

Realistically, though, I like rookie SG Marshon Brooks so far. If he develops an overall game, he could be a very significant addition. I\’ll reserve comment on other personnel until the preseason is over.

In sum, the Nets have made some moves on the periphery while trying to upgrade the core. They\’ll succeed if they keep trying.

Remember, while they didn\’t land LeBron or Melo, they acquired Deron Williams, who I think will impact their team as much, if not more. Enjoy the season!

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 2011 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

Here We Go Again

Howard Talks Off


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

They\’ve ended. The Dwight Howard talks are no more according to reports.

Whether it\’s because the Magic have decided to take their chances on retaining their franchise center come this offseason or that they will wait for a more opportune moment to move him is anyone\’s guess.

If reports are indeed accurate, Dwight has now warned the Magic that they will lose him for nothing like they did Shaq if they don\’t trade him by the March 15 deadline. This runs counter to the report that he might stay if things change.

If Dwight wants to play with Deron, he can tell the Magic to trade him to the Nets so he can play with Deron by Christmas or lose him for nothing like Shaq. He can even sit out if he wants to get his way.*

Perhaps, the best course for the Nets is to preserve their assets to acquire elite talent in free agency like Miami had. Dwight would probably be more attracted to the Nets with a robust rather than depleted roster.

As in the Lebronathon or Melo-stakes, the D-12 wheel-of-fortune discussions have abruptly ended for the time being. I guess the only thing left for the Nets to do is exercise their amnesty rights on SF Travis Outlaw\’s contract if they wish to do so in order to have more cap room available for Dwight in free agency this summer.

It now looks like the Nets will fall back to a plan B or C or maybe D which includes preserving cap space for another run at Howard whether in the offseason or at the trade deadline. It means that they\’ll sign some reliable, serviceable and familiar talent like PF Kris Humphries, SF Andrei Kirilenko and/or SF/SG Shawne Williams in order to flesh out the roster. They will likely be offered oversized one-year jumbo contracts in lieu of multiyear deals in order to preserve their cap room flexibility for making another run at elite talent.

This is a sensible move that could leave them with a better roster if they win someone like Howard in free agency. It gives them a better chance at superior talent.

As I said: 98% of things rumored never materialize. Wake me up when a deal is done … ho hum …!

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 2011 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

D12 Drama

Weighing in on the Hoopla


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

The latest news has All Pro Orlando Magic Center Dwight Howard requesting a trade to the New Jersey Nets among others. Well, that\’s good news for Nets fans.

Other rumors have the Nets on the verge of acquiring Denver Nuggets PF \”Nene.\” What will happen? Who knows? 98% of things rumored never materialize.

The best deals are the ones that are made behind closed doors. The only media hoopla should be about a deal already done.

That said, it should be remembered that whatever happens, the Nets have one of the top young centers in the league already: Brook Lopez!

In his own words directly from his website, \”Deron Williams Live From Jersey\”:

D-Will believes [Brook Lopez] can be a perennial All-Star.
… \”He could be so good. He had a good season last year, don\’t get me wrong. And finished the season even better. But if he becomes a better rebounder. But if he becomes a better rebounder night-in, night-out, that\’ll just help … to dominate a game.\”

That tells you what Deron thinks of Brook. I\’ve watched Brook Lopez play for a long time. Last season, Brook Lopez was coming back from mononucleosis which saps all your energy. It takes a long time to come back, but he is only beginning to show what he can do.*

I believe that Brook Lopez will become a dominant pivot man in this league. He has the size and skill to go down as one of the best to play the game. He also shoots his free throws at an 80% clip.

If the Magic don\’t want Brook Lopez, then the Nets should keep him and pair him with Dwight and Deron to form an incredible team. Maybe D12 tells the Magic that if they don\’t trade him to the Nets right away, he\’ll play out his contract and sign with them anyway in the offseason? That way, he gets to play with all the burgeoning talent on the Nets already with a roster that has not been severely depleted to bring him aboard.

In any event, the melodrama and hoopla surrounding his final destination will rival LeBron\’s. It would be nice, though, to hear him say that he\’s taking his talents to Brooklyn?!!!

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 2011 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

Where To Go From Here?

Offseason Thoughts


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

Depending on what the Goodbye New Jersey and Hello Brooklyn braintrust has in mind to do this offseason, it will likely make or break the Nets for some time. Therefore, it is critical for GM Billy King and Coach Avery Johnson to bring aboard key personnel (whether by trade, free agency or otherwise) that will improve the fortunes of this franchise in an immediate sense, if they can. *

This only holds if the Nets can be sure of retaining the services of franchise-PG Deron Williams. If not, I think you head in another direction.

As a consequence, I think you sit down with Deron Williams and his agent as soon as possible and sound out his feelings about remaining with the franchise. After all, the team gave up a lot for him and he\’s only played 12 games for the Nets and may leave after the next 66 notwithstanding what the Nets might offer in order to retain his services.

If Deron is unwilling to commit long term to a maximum contract equal to what the Nets might offer in free agency, then why expect him to re-sign once he\’s a free agent? It\’s a signal of uncertainty and possibly a desire to play elsewhere. In that case, maybe you take Dwight Howard and picks for Deron?

Building around someone who may not be around is like, as someone put it, buying furniture for a new penthouse before signing the lease. You need a commitment from Deron to make it all happen or why buy the furniture?

The Nets need more defense, rebounding and scoring. They should go after well-rounded defensive minded players that can do all of the foregoing.

There\’s been talk of Boki Nachbar\’s return. If the Nets want to bring back 31-year-old SF Bostjan \”Boki\” Nachbar as a spot up shooter, he could probably help. I haven\’t seen his play since he went to Europe, but he was a crowd favorite whose game fit when he was here.

If the Nets try to acquire SG Aaron Afflalo and SF Luc Mbah a Moute, the Nets will have players, including PG Jordan Farmar, familiar with each other from their college days. That could be a plus.

Seasoned, 35-year-old PF Tim Duncan could upgrade the team right away. PFs Glen Davis and Josh McRoberts are young players with upside potential as well. 22-year-old C DeAndre Jordan also intrigues.

There are other names worth considering as well. Try: SF Thaddeus Young. A lot depends on the \’price tag\’ after you get over the \’sticker shock.\’

I think the Nets need to decide how they\’re going to structure their roster and what fits into their plans. A lot also depends on what they\’re able to actually obtain in the real world market for talent.

My short list is ready. I know what I would do, but I\’m curious to see what GM Billy King does.

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 2011 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

Offseason moves

Free Agency


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

In the matter of free agency and related transactions, the Nets ought focus on big men first (there are fewer around) and then consider others. The Nets should also stay away from riskier players that have had serious issues whether physical or healthwise. *

Not only did former President and GM Rod Thorn shy away from players that wouldn\’t pass a physical for knee issues (such as Shareef Abdur Rahim), but he passed on heart issues (Tractor Traylor) as well. If you invest in such players, caveat emptor.

Many names have been tossed about. Some are worthy of consideration. If Dwight Howard wants in, maybe the Magic will make a deal. Once again, though, the Nets can\’t afford to wait ala LBJ or Carmelo while other fine prospects are lost.

Remember, if you sign good players outright, you are adding assets. You can always eventually trade up if someone to your liking is not available now.

In the matter of bigs, Howard and Chandler stand out. Of course, Tim Duncan, DeAndre Jordan, Glen Davis and others are on the market as well.

Finally, whatever you do, try to avoid big mistakes. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

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 2011 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

LO & BEHOLD!

NBA Season Gets Underway Christmas Day!!?


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

Lo & behold! There may be NBA basketball comin\’ our way!

After 15 hours of intensive negotiations, the parties to the NBA impasse came together long enough in a Manhattan law office to reach a framework understanding, if only tentative, to put on a shortened 66-game season starting December 25. There is still much to be worked out, but if the deal holds, we will be watching our favorite NBA stars play on Christmas day!*

The details aren\’t as important as the fact that an understanding was reached that would allow the games to go on. When the lawyers were brought in, with legal actions pending against both sides, did each take serious the need to reach agreement for the sake of the game.

After all, who wanted to watch mega-millionaires and billionaires wrestle over how to share $4bil when the average man was figuring out how to stay afloat? As a bystander to the \’sumo match\’ that led to this impasse, my sympathies were with the average fan that \’breaks his back\’ to put a roof over his head & food on the table while shelling out \’big bucks\’ to take in only a few games a year that he can barely afford to entertain his family with each season!

What is important now is what the Nets do in free agency or otherwise to shore up the team in time for their farewell to Jersey and debut in Brooklyn! If they can\’t acquire the services of Dwight Howard, perhaps, Tyson Chandler will be a defensive complement to Brook Lopez? In any case, the Nets must invest wisely in quality and opt for the best. In this manner, the season may turn out better than last! In the meantime, it looks like Santa came early for the NBA! The Grinch could be out in the cold!!?

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 2011 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

Litigation Takes Center Stage

Players Take The Court


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

As you may know by now, rejecting the owners latest offer, negotiations fell apart and the players took to the court today – not the hardwood – but the marble floors of the halls of justice. The union formally disbanded and the players brought actions in various jurisdictions to hear their grievance(s).*

Now whether this is a negotiating ploy or something that\’ll go to the mat, who knows? Much of it reminds of the NFL saga, yet I can\’t help but think of what became of the players in the NHL.

The only parties playing right now are the lawyers. If you want to watch professional basketball, you\’ll have to tune to the WNBA.

When it is over, the Nets should be well positioned to resume play. Only the basketball deities know for sure when that\’ll be.

In the meantime, the greatest shame is that, for the sake of the fan, the owners and players couldn\’t come together on this – their mutual interest in reaching agreement notwithstanding. It now becomes a high stakes legal battle between the owners, the players and their agents.

Which way will it go? Only time will tell and the skills of the respective counselors at law. The real battle now is in the courts of law – not on the hardwood!

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 2011 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

Negotiations

Lockout Blues: Sobering Thoughts


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

If recent negotiation results are any indication, it could be a while before the lockout is resolved and the NBA gets going again in earnest. At issue is how to share the $4bil in revenue the league brings in each year and the nature and structure of any agreement to do so between the owners and players.*

So far, the parties are far apart on many things. Essentially, it seems the owners want a fairer split of business income (currently only 43%) and structuring of the contract leading to more viable businesses that can independently turn a profit on their own properly managed. Owners believe that players are uniformly in business to turn a profit from their careers and why shouldn\’t the owners be entitled to do the same from their franchises?

Players, for their part, prefer the status quo and don\’t care to roll back much of the enormous labor gains they\’ve achieved under successive contracts leading up to the last one that just expired. Would you? If anything, they\’d like to carve out further gains while conceding as little as possible.

Herein lays the \’rub.\’ How long will it take to reach agreement? The negotiators for all sides have to work out formulas that make sense to each side and hammer out an agreement each side can live with. They also have to work through the expectations both sides have that may need serious adjustment – if not painful compromise.

Until that happens, there will be no basketball. Given the differences and what I\’ve seen from negotiators so far, I, for one, believe it will be a longer process rather than a shorter one. Prove me wrong?!!

In the meantime, you may be able to watch some of your favorite stars play overseas for less. Does this mean part or all of the season is lost or canceled? Does this mean European players come to play in the US for more? What about Developmental League teams? Will they be the only basketball we can watch on TV? As revenue is lost and paychecks go unsigned, what is the fan to do?

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 2011 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