Avery Rounds Out His Staff

Coach Johnson Adds Assistants


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

New Nets Head Coach Avery Johnson rounded out his Assistant Coaching staff this day by adding former Raptors Coach Sam Mitchell to the staff as the \”Lead Assistant\” while electing to retain holdovers John Loyer and Tom Barisse. Word is that Johnson will add one more Assistant to go along with the newly hired Popeye Jones. Former Coach of the Year Sam Mitchell coached Chris Bosh fueling speculation that he might help the Nets recruit him in free agency.*

The Nets may not currently have quite enough cap space for Chris Bosh to join LeBron, but they can bring in David Lee. Alternatively, they can try to clear more if LeBron commits to New Jersey, but I would be adamant about retaining Brook Lopez, Terrance Williams and Derick Favors as untouchables along with Courtney Lee and, possibly, Yi Jianlian (if he\’s shown enough improvement) as a supporting cast.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the express written consent of the author.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 kathyforkids@cs.com

Rod to Retire?

The Vaunted Offseason Arrives: Thorn To Step Down?


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

The Nets completed their trade of SF Chris Douglas Roberts to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for a future second round draft pick. The next announcement, if reports are acccurate, is that President of Basketball Operations, Rod Thorn, is set to retire after his contract expires on June 30 while staying on through July 15 in order to facilitate the free agent presentations to players like LeBron James.*

Reports continue to circulate that the 69 year old Rod Thorn, who has had a long and distingushed career with the Nets, after ten years at the helm, won\’t ink any new contract proposal as it appears that it is time for all to move on. Family pressure to retire, health and other factors may have led to the decision, but until it happens, it is only unsubstantiated rumor.

Rumor further has it that former Suns chair and current USA basketball director Jerry Colangelo is the leading candidate to replace Thorn. Thorn will apparently be involved in picking his successor, if this is confirmed.

Other rumored candidates include former Lakers great and GM Jerry West, and current Lakers Coach, Phil Jackson, should he decide to step down next week.

All candidates for new blood in the Nets organization are sound. Colangelo has remarkable connections and both Phil Jackson and Jerry West are incredible basketball minds, with the latter having GM experience with Memphis and Los Angeles.

It is premature, but if rumors of Rod Thorn\’s iminent retirement are true, I think the Nets should bring aboard as many of the new candidates as possible, if not all three, though, I believe that Colangelo has the inside track because of his international connections and current stature with USA Basketball. Still it couldn\’t hurt [emphasis added] to have the all-time winningest coach in the NBA (Phil Jackson) a part of your organization along with the man (Jerry West) who brought PF Pau Gasol in to the NBA in the first place.

The odds are that Phil Jackson retires as Lakers Coach after this season. Jerry West is currently available and Colangelo won\’t shrink at this high profile position.

Finally, it should be noted that LeBron James will be holding court in Cleveland to hear presentations from teams interested in his services. First up is New Jersey where you can be sure that Prokhorov, Jay Z and Rod Thorn will be making their best pitch seeking to entice LeBron James to become the first global brand worth a billion dollars operating out of the tri-state (New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania) metropolitan area.

The Nets may not currently have quite enough cap space for Chris Bosh to join LeBron, but they can bring in David Lee. Alternatively, they can try to clear more if LeBron commits to New Jersey, but I would be adamant about retaining Brook Lopez, Terrance Williams and Derick Favors as untouchables along with Courtney Lee and, possibly, Yi Jianlian (if he\’s shown enough improvement) as a supporting cast.

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 kathyforkids@cs.com

Nets Tab Favors and James (in-trade)

NBA Draft Results


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

While all of the Nets offseason moves aren\’t in the book yet, as anticipated, the Nets drafted the 18 year old Georgia Tech Freshman PF Derrick Favors with the 3rd selection in the draft.

In a move that is something of a headscratcher, the Nets also had Atlanta select SF/PF Damion James 24th for New Jersey in return for the Nets taking SG Jordan Crawford and C Tibor Pleiss with their 27th and 31st picks.*

I hope this means the Nets will be able to sign LeBron James and Chris Bosh or David Lee.

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 kathyforkids@cs.com

CDR to Milwaukee?

CDR to Milwaukee for Pick?


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

Reports are circulating, if accurate, that SF Chris Douglas Roberts may move to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for a future draft pick. Rumors are also out that the Nets may be interested in free-agent-to-be Carlos Boozer and drafting Wesley Johnson because they share the same agent.*

While Carlos Boozer can play very well when he wants, I think his best play often occurs during his contract year. My interest runs to other Power Forwards.

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 kathyforkids@cs.com

War Room Stories

On The Clock: Random Thoughts About The Draft


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

The Nets will have many good options come draft night. The key for New Jersey is to remain flexible and fluid.*

At the end of the day, you have to go with your best judgment. Gut feelings are often correct.

All said, however, the Nets have done a good job working out and evaluating talent. They also will be preparing for any scenario.

How many GMs make the \”safe\” pick because it\’s about their jobs? How many are secure enough to risk a mistake and hit big?

The Nets can do a number of things on Draft night. They can risk failure and make the big score. They can move down and add insurance. Or, they can stay put and do the safe or expected.

If I\’m still not sure in which direction to go, I might move down a little and let someone else bear the risk. In this manner I can add value to my participation in the draft that may compensate for or mitigate the consequences of any risky decision.

The rights to another player and/or multiple picks that can be used for a highly regarded fall back insurance player that plays the same position can often back up a risky move in the draft and make it more palatable. You feel more confident swinging for the fences when you know you\’ll get extra at bats.

I recall that during the 2006 draft, the Nets were in need of a point guard to become the eventual heir to Jason Kidd and, as usual, the priority power forward to replace Kenyon Martin. The Nets had the 22nd and 23rd picks in the draft.

There was talk from the Nets about packaging those picks to move up (usually, but not always, a bad move) somewhere into the 10 to 15 area for a chance to draft PFs Hilton Armstrong, Cedric Simmons or Saer Sene, all of whom are certifiable busts (so far). This was because the Nets felt that they couldn\’t move up enough to crack the top ten in order to snag PF/C Patrick O\’Bryant (another major disappointment who went #9). Armstrong and Simmons were highly regarded then as was O\’Bryant.

Randy Foye was the consensus stud point guard and character pick of the day that went to Minnesota at #7. I thought Rajon Rondo was the stud, sleeper value pick that might likely fall to where the Nets drafted with the only question mark being his free throw shooting that could possibly be improved. I just didn\’t happen to care for any of the above-mentioned big men touted as worth moving up for. I thought the Nets should stay put.

As the draft unfolded, Rondo was still there on the board as the middle of the draft was about done. I listened to the announced rumors that Phoenix wanted to move their 21st pick for cash and I felt so strongly about him that I would have made a deal along these lines with Phoenix for their pick.

As the 20th pick turned out to be Renaldo Balkman – not Rondo – for the Knicks, I thought New Jersey would almost surely get the opportunity to pick Rondo though the higher rated Marcus Williams (who was also on my radar but lacked Rondo\’s quickness) was also falling due to character concerns. I didn\’t want the Nets to risk losing Rondo.

I felt so strongly about it – that the Nets should acquire the 21st pick for cash and select Rondo – and then fall back with Marcus Wiliams as an insurance pick. (Insurance picks are something that rarely, if ever, occur during the Thorn era for philosophical reasons).

I agreed with also filling the most glaring need for the best available power forward with the remaining pick. However, when Rondo was taken one pick ahead of New Jersey\’s 22nd selection and it was announced that Phoenix acquired a future first-round pick from Boston for Brian Grant, the Draft rights to Rajon Rondo and cash considerations, my annoyance with New Jersey\’s failure to spot some cash for a player worth taking boiled over.

The Nets are no longer cash poor. Therefore, I might suggest backing up your decision should it be swinging for the fences and worrying about striking out. Remember, the Nets were once in the hunt for Monta Ellis and couldn\’t buy a second round pick. They could have bought one to acquire Paul Millsap to back up Josh Boone.

Addendum Update:

Rumors that Memphis is looking to acquire Minnesota\’s 16th pick for their 25th and 28th. Does that mean Memphis is willing to deal Gay or that Minnesota will package these two picks along with their 4th pick and the rights to Rubio in order to move up and acquire the 3rd pick from the Nets to tab Turner or Johnson? … Or is it a smokescreen to grab another player?

******

Rumor has it that Miami is looking to sell their 18th pick to clear cap space. Does New Jersey want to buy? Does New Jersey want to stockpile the 18th pick from Miami along with the 4th, 25th and 28th pick from Minnesota along with the rights to Rubio in exchange for the Nets 3rd pick?

****

Rumor has it that the Detroit Pistons want to add DeMarcus Cousins to their roster. Joe Dumars is a very good evaluator of talent.

****
If their desired big men go first or second in the draft, will New Jersey draft Turner or Johnson or slide down further to get another big?

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 kathyforkids@cs.com

Favors vs. Cousins vs. Johnson

NBA Draft 2010


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

The Nets have now worked out all three of the top \’consensus\’ candidates for consideration at the number three slot in the draft. PF Derrick Favors and C/PF DeMarcus Cousins were in today. SF Wesley Johnson was in last week. I did not attend any of these workouts.*

The results, as reported, would seem to indicate that the Nets have more food for thought than they had originally contemplated. By all accounts, Kentucky one-and-done 19 year old DeMarcus Cousins demonstrated a considerable skill set that includes deft shooting from range (that extended out to 20ft), better footwork and more overall polish than rawer, but somewhat more athletic 18 year old Georgia Tech Freshman Derrick Favors who struggled to make shots further than 16 feet.

All said, however, the workouts apparently went well and neither player hurt their stock in any significant way, though Cousins improved his dramatically. Along with Wesley Johnson, the Nets now have three solid candidates to consider drafting.

This leaves the Nets in something of a quandary as to whom to select when draft day rolls around this Thursday. It also opens up the possibility of moving down with some other team like the Timberwolves or Kings, and picking up extra value in the process, because one of the players the Nets like would still be available, assuming they have no clear preference.

As I\’ve said, the Nets could use some consistently good big men to pair with Brook Lopez. They haven\’t had any since Cliff Robinson and that\’s an understatement. They could also use another wing like Wesley Johnson and a backup PG or C, but that is more easily attainable lower in the draft, via trade or in free agency.

As far as big men are concerned, if the player is athletic and can score, that\’s even better. The Nets could also use a bruiser on the blocks that\’ll clear space.

If DeMarcus Cousins is versatile enough to play the 4 (and he played it in high school) and can also provide a center presence down low, maybe he\’s the man for the job? Why not also see what new Head Coach Avery Johnson thinks as he will be deploying any talent?

Both DeMarcus Cousins, Derrick Favors and Wesley Johnson intrigue. The Nets now have the information to determine who to go with.

For my money, I\’d rather risk a potential problem child (Don\’t think he\’s another Z-Bo) that is talented than a promising athletic project that never develops. Of course, every talent evaluator has their own proprietary, unique, and specialized way of evaluating talent and that doesn\’t mean Favors or Johnson won\’t work out either.

Let me muse here a little bit about drafts past that have some bearing on this matter. In the 2001 NBA Draft the Nets engineered a draft day trade of the seventh pick to the Houston Rockets, who coveted the talented, but troubled, too-young Seton Hall star, PF Eddie Griffin, for the thirteenth, eighteenth and twenty-third picks in the draft. Current Lakers PF Pau Gasol was one of the best players in that draft and taken third.

The Nets then proceeded to have the Houston Rockets select for them SF Richard Jefferson at #13 (a good pick) and C Jason Collins at #18 (somewhat mediocre) ahead of PF Zach Randolph (#19) among others. The Nets then squandered a pick on PG Brandon Armstrong (not even D-League material) at #23 ahead of SF Gerald Wallace (#25), PG Tony Parker (#28) and SG Gilbert Arenas (#31).

Although Tony Parker and Gilbert Arenas (until the suspension) have had stellar careers and all-Star Gerald Wallace a good one, All-Star Zach Randolph\’s has been mixed, but arguably better than Jason Collins on balance, at least in the productivity department. A young Randolph obviously also had more trade value as well first coming out.

Could the Nets have drafted Wallace, Parker and Arenas and called it a day? How about Randolph, Wallace and Parker?

The point is that there are a lot of ways to go, but you must make correct evaluations. Wesley Johnson is a great small forward. Maybe as good as Evan Turner, though Turner\’s numbers are simply astounding.

As far as the big men are concerned, there are pros and cons to each. Favors is 6-8.75 in bare socks and Cousins is 6-9.5 – a full three quarters of an inch taller.

Cousins is far stronger. Favors more athletic.

One tends to play better above the rim. The other below.

Cousins may be able to play the 4 and the 5. Favors only the 4.

Each produces in his own way, but Cousins is more polished.

Cousins skill-set allows him to produce right away. Favors is maybe years away, but could possibly contribute next year.

If the Nets may acquire an accomplished PF in free agency, would they be better served to back him up with Favors or Cousins? … Who can also back up Brook Lopez?

In other words, would you take the next Bob-Lanier-Zach Randolph-Erik Dampier over the Next Al Horford-Shareef Abdur Rahim-Stromile Swift? That\’s the $19.3 million dollar question.

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 kathyforkids@cs.com

What To Do Now?

The Draft, Trades and Free Agency


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

The matter of the draft is really quite simple. You take the best player available. That, however, is easier said than done. You need to do your homework.*

When you draft near the top, all you are truly getting is \”consensus.\” It doesn\’t mean you\’ll come away with a very good or any good players at all, for that matter, as history has often shown.

Usually, there are some players worth taking in any draft. The trick is to figure out who they are.

You have to work to ascertain which players are worth drafting and only draft those. In that regard, you may find some golden nuggets if you are careful, wise and/or lucky.

The Nets could use some big men. Someone down low to rebound, defend and dominate couldn\’t hurt.

If the player is athletic and can score, that\’s even better. The Nets could also use a bruiser.

Someone that can set a hard pick to clear lanes for scoring will also open it up for others. Anyone that can act the role of an enforcer in a test of wills that\’ll boost the confidence of other players and give the team a swagger is needed as well.

Both DeMarcus Cousins and Derrick Favors intrigue. The Nets need to work them both out to determine which has the characteristics most needed to fit with the team\’s style.

For example, if one brings agility, athleticism and defensive prowess while the other provides scoring, rebounding and shot blocking, each aspect has to be weighed and factored into the equation as to who is best. Then you have to consider of each of those aspects, which player appears to be more significantly and comparatively dominant relative to the other in terms of what you value most.

Every talent evaluator has their own unique, specialized or proprietary way of evaluating talent. Elite teams rely on the best talent evaluators.

If Evan Turner falls to New Jersey, he could be another 20-10 guy for the team, but with everything, there are no guarantees. Same with any of the top five. That\’s why you need to bring in the best to evaluate talent.

There are also some nuggets to reap at the end of the first round and at the top of the second. The onus is on the Nets braintrust to pick them out.

As for trades, you\’ll make some of your best deals this way. It depends on the opportunities and how you go about your business. Of course, some of the best trades you\’ll make are the ones you don\’t.

As for free agency, it\’s quite simple. If LeBron wants to join New Jersey, I\’d take him. The Prudential Center serves the same tri-state market that Brooklyn does.

Moreover, playing with Yi could boost the marketing prospects of any team because of the LeBron James museum that was opened in China. The marketing potential for any such team and LeBron James is enormous.

Remember, though, LeBron should only come over if he\’s willing to fit in as one of the players. If he expects to burn himself out on hero basketball every night, it may work against him and the team.

I would take LeBron and Bosh in a package if that were feasible. I\’d also take Lee and and LeBron if that worked better.

If none of that works, Rudy Gay is restricted, and perhaps, he could be acquired on sensible terms. Of course, the Nets could always acquire Carmelo Anthony, Al Horford and/or Big Baby next offseason.

Whoever wants in, I think should expect it to be first come and first served. I wouldn\’t linger on any candidate too long before rounding out my team.

Anyway, I\’ll hope to see my share of preferred stock in the Nets arrive by mail. If not, some gold mining interests in Russia might be acceptable.

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 kathyforkids@cs.com

It\’s Official: Avery is Hired!

It\’s Official: The Avery Johnson Era Gets Underway


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

It\’s official. The Nets announced today that ESPN Analyst and former Dallas Mavericks Head Coach Avery Johnson is the new Head Coach of the New Jersey Nets.*

Reports have it that Avery may get the opportunity to meet up with the new owner, Mike Prokhorov, very soon. That could happen on Sunday at game five of the NBA finals. It will likely be followed by a press conference welcoming the new coach officially on Tuesday.

If you are a Nets fan, you have to be thrilled that the critical decision about who will be guiding the team is out of the way and that management can now get on with the rest of the business of the offseason that includes the NBA Draft, trades and/or free agency.

For my part, I think the Nets made a sound decision in bringing Avery Johnson aboard. It should pay many dividends. He is a winner and that will be felt throughout the organization.

Knowing Avery, he will impose his will-to-win upon the team. A winning culture will be re-established. He is an organized, structured individual who has a philosophy he believes in and a system that works. He will work hard to overachieve. He expects no less from others. He demands success by insisting on order and discipline. He motivates the troops.

Some have suggested that he wasn\’t the team\’s first choice … That others were ahead of him. Well, I say it\’s balderdash. I wasn\’t my mother\’s first child, but I don\’t feel any less loved. Besides, I don\’t think anyone else was under serious consideration because he was the only fellow formally interviewed. (No disrespect to Jeff Van Gundy, who I think will be happier in the TV booth for a while longer, and Tom Thibodeau, who has a great situation in Chicago.)

One of the things I like about Avery is his enthusiasm for the game. He is an exuberant personality that knows his stuff.

Avery will entertain, charm and never be at a loss for words. Rest assured, the Nets beat writers will never lack for colorful quotes. He is a bundle of energy and pure fun.

Avery wanted the position because it was a no-lose proposition with lots of upside. He moves into a situation that can only improve.

The Nets grossly underachieved last season. Roster change, youthful inexperience and injuries got the better of them in a lost season.

Still, towards the end of the season, the Kiki experiment began to bear some fruit. The Nets prevailed against the Boston Celtics and playoff bound Chicago Bulls.

Kiki\’s \”Dan Issel\” style of coaching brought a few impressive victories and some crucial player development, but with a new owner on tap that could not afford the patience to continue the experiment, someone with a more serious coaching resume and proven track-record needed to come aboard.

Enter Avery. From Little General (Lawrence Frank\’s nickname) to Little General (Avery Johnson\’s nickname). Sounds like a soap opera, doesn\’t it?

The only difference is that this general has been there winning a title as a Point-Guard for the Spurs and was but a mere two victories away from an NBA Championship as a Coach for Dallas.

While it is true that Avery Johnson took over a very talented Mavericks team that was peaking, he still guided it to some very successful regular seasons and consistent postseason appearances. His first year made it all the way to the finals against the eventual winner Miami Heat.

The Nets are far more than a 12-win team. They will move in the right direction even if no coach is hired. With Avery, they should overachieve. With a little luck, who knows? Mike Prokhorov\’s predictions may come true.

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 kathyforkids@cs.com

Johnson and Nets Talking

Johnson and Nets Reach Verbal Understanding


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

If reports are accurate, it would appear that the representatives of current ESPN Analyst and former Dallas Mavericks Coach Avery Johnson are in the final phases of negotiating the terms to a three year deal for him to coach the New Jersey Nets. If they can finalize a contract, it will resolve the coaching dilemma and allow the Nets to concentrate on the draft and free agency.

Avery Johnson was the NBA Coach of the Year in 2005-2006; took his team to the NBA finals that same year; and brings with him a .735 winning percentage (194-70) in just three+ seasons with the Dallas Mavericks. He is credited with engineering three consecutive 50+ win seasons as a coach and reaching the finals in his first full season as a head coach. His familiarity with PG Devin Harris would seem a key to this deal.*

It turns out that Avery Johnson was also a finalist for the Head Coaching spot the Atlanta Hawks were seeking to fill and it now appears that Mavericks Assistant Dwayne Casey may be the finalist over there.

Along with these reports are suggestions that President/GM Rod Thorn will have a new contract in place before his expires on June 30. That will extend Rod Thorn\’s tenure with the Nets as one of the most experienced executives in the NBA.

Now, this could be premature, but: Welcome aboard, Avery!

UPDATE: Avery Johnson is on record confirming that he will be coming to New Jersey. Stay tuned for official announcements.

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 kathyforkids@cs.com

Historical Footnote

Historical Footnote


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com


The former Soviet Union underwent a quiet revolution during the latter part of the 20th century (1985-1991) that culminated in a bloodless transition from communism to capitalism. Mikhail Prokhorov was one of the major beneficiaries of this profound change.*

In the aftermath of Mikhail Gorbachev\’s Glasnost and Perestroika, Mikhail Prokhorov, quietly accumulated mining interests in enterprises like the bankrupt Norilsk nickel-mining and smelting plant in Siberia that would ultimately comprise one of the cornerstones for his vast empire of wealth. He literally went from selling jeans on a Moscow street corner to becoming one of the wealthiest men in all of Russia within the span of less than two decades.

Mikhail probably owes much of his success not only to his own foresight and acumen, but also to some little appreciated facts of history. For example, if a once-obscure Georgian by the name of Josef Djugashvili had not fallen for Lidia Pereprygina in the Arctic circle some ninety-six years ago (circa 1914), it is entirely possible that Mikhail Prokhorov would not have realized his dream of purchasing the New Jersey Nets.

How is this so? Well, you see, that 34 year old Josef later became known as Josef Stalin. Moreover, he apparently developed a soft spot for the Siberian Arctic as a result of his experiences up there – not the least of which was his love affair with Lidia Pereprygina.

It seems almost an irony of history that the Norilsk nickel-mining and smelting plant site was built upriver from Stalin\’s \”love nest.\” It consisted of no more than a tiny ramshackle wooden hut in the middle of a desolate icy tundra. This would seem to suggest that the former Soviet ruler, Josef Stalin, developed the Norilsk nickel-mining enterprise at that location simply because of his affinity for the Siberian Arctic.

After all, he could\’ve developed a nickel mine elsewhere! Moreover, the fact that Stalin\’s \”love nest\” was actually once preserved there as a museum dedicated to the former Soviet leader tends to support this thesis.

Fast forward to 2010. What does all of this have to do with anything? Well, every story has unsung heroes or hidden actors. Could Lidia have been one of them?

If these certain prior events didn\’t occur, then maybe Mr. Prokhorov doesn\’t get his nickel mine and consequently the Nets. Obviously, luck, acumen and history play an integral role in the success of any business venture and any basketball team.

If the self-made Mikhail has merited the good fortune to acquire the Norilsk nickel mine because of the unsung actions of others and thereby now also acquired the New Jersey Nets and moves the franchise upriver, perhaps he should acknowledge and reward all those modern day unsung heroes or hidden actors who have contributed to or otherwise made his good fortune possible should the Nets make all the right moves and build a dynasty upriver in 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 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 kathyforkids@cs.com