I don't think a day has gone by since Melo refused to sign his extension, that we haven't mentioned Carmelo Anthony on NetsDaily. We are all guilty of it: this website, the media, and Netsfans including myself (both pro and anti melo). With good reason though. We lost out in the Lebron sweepstakes and we hunger for a winner after last years debacle of a season.
We also talk a lot about the NY Knicks. Of course we would. The Knicks have been a TERRIBLE team for YEARS but they are still better respected than our Nets. We have an impenidng move to Brooklyn coming up and I was moved to write this article because in both respects (Melo and the Knicks), we might be missing the big picture.
In my analysis of the Nets and what we should aim for, I never lower my goals to "be at least better than the Knicks". The Knicks are a desperate team that overpayed for the basketball version of Pedro Martinez,: one and a half years of performance with a high risk of an injured riddled superstar with an albatrosscontract for the rest of it's lifetime.
I don't want to compare our Nets to this team. They have a coach that doesn't preach defense, a starting C that is a project/unknown and an PG that makes me thrilled to have Devin. They have some serviceable wings and a weak bench, but no picks and an uncertain direction. LET'S AIM HIGHER AND IGNORE THE TROLLING KNICKS FANS!
There is a three-fold purpose:
1) To elicit why we should have higher aspirations than comparissons to the Knicks and essentially ignore them as we continue our march towards a bright future
2) To help those that are pro Melo understand why they may be missing the big picture
3) To acknowledge that we are indeed playoff sleepers because sometimes, the experts' knowledge goes only as far as looking at last year's record of 12-70
Let me analyze 2 rosters that we can aspire to emulate for this season: The Bucks and Hawks. We are short of the top 4 teams in the east (assuming a healthy Boozer for Chi) but both the Hawks and Bucks have been listed as potential 5th and 6th seeds coming out of the east. In addition, we will analyze the rosters of our 09-10 Nets and our 10-11 team.
|Point Guard||Brandon Jennings||Keyon Dooling||Earl Boykins|
|Shooting Guard||John Salmons||Chris Douglas-Roberts||Michael Redd|
|Small Forward||Carlos Delfino||Corey Maggette||Darington Hobson|
|Power Forward||Drew Gooden||Luc Richard Mbah a Moute||Ersan Ilyasova||Jon Brockman||Larry Sanders|
|Point Guard||Mike Bibby||Jeff Teague|
|Shooting Guard||Joe Johnson||Jamal Crawford||Jordan Crawford||Pape Sy|
|Small Forward||Marvin Williams||Maurice Evans|
|Power Forward||Josh Smith||Josh Powell|
|Center||Al Horford||Zaza Pachulia||Jason Collins||Etan Thomas|
As for our beloved Nets, here is a breakdown of the difference in our roster from this year to last:
C. Lee Morrow
CDR D. James
Hassel J. Smith
Look at those differences. I think it is safe to say we have improved with each addition significantly(or at least a wash) There might be some C. Lee supporters or CDR and Dooling supporters but as a whole, I feel this group is so much better. Half of these guys are no longer in the league or waving a towel on the end of the bench!
When I factor in improved play from Brook, Devin and Twill(with better supporting cast, their overall play will be better) I see the roster improvements accounting for 14-15 more wins(give or take). Where are the other 14+ wins you might ask? Well I haven't even gotten to the most important addition (followed by a more subtle addition):
Frank/Vandeweghe *Avery Johnson*
Izod/Continental The Rock/Prudential Center
I have Avery pegged for an additional 8 to 9 wins(partially not because AJ is that good but because Vandeweghe was HORRIBLE). The Rock and our re-energized fan base is another +4-5, which takes me to 29+ more wins. Avery has already shown that he will pull Outlaw when he's not doing well, big contract notwithstanding. If the opposing coach leaves a poor free throw shooter in, he will apply Hack-a-Wallace or Shaq? If a rookie is hustling and producing, Avery will play that rookie(Favors) instead of just having him ride the pine just because he's a rookie. As fot the Prudential, I'm so much happier there than in the Izod/cont. which was truly a dump and continued crowd support will definitely help these guys.
Now, getting back to the Bucks and Hawks roster's. I personally think that we are very comparable to the Bucks roster. Brook-Harris vrs Bogut-Jennings is a wash (personally, edge Nets). Both teams have tough minded, no-nonsense former pg's for coaches and then some good role players.
As for the Hawks, they have a good pg in Bibby and some exciting young playes in Smith, Horford and Williams. (Much like our core of Lopez, Harris, Twill and Favors) Where they truly seperate themselves from the Nets is at SG where they have their best player and All-Star, Joe Johnson. This led me to thinking: Do we want to be the Hawks?
Having Melo would be our version of having JJ (melo is better, but...).
Here are some stats to digest:
Joe Johnson (ATL only)
While Melo is the better scorer, they shoot similar percentages and Melo takes a lot more shots. JJ is a better 3 point shooter. Both offer nothing spectacular defensively and JJ is a more willing distributor. I'm not saying JJ is better but Melo doesn't do enough other things besides score to make him that much better thaan JJ.
So I once again ask: Do we want to be the Hawks?
A team relegated to the 5th seed. That doesn't even factor in the numerous assets we'd have to trade to get Melo so we might not even be the Hawks!
Let's not worry about the Knicks. They are a team that due to insufficient draft assets, poor drafting (pass on Jennings and Brook) and hitching their wagon to an injury waiting-to-happen Amar'e, that we should NOT WORRY OURSELVES ABOUT. When I actually see Melo pass up on as much as 10-15 million to go to the Knicks next year, I will believe it.
Second, don't touch Melo!... His addition to our team at the cost of valuable assets (do we really want to tradfe Favors?) makes us no better than the Hawks. To those that argue that we need him to lure CP3, I think the saying a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush comes to mind. Luring CP3 with the new CBA looming and an assets supply that will have been abused by the initial trade with denver is very risky! Let Melo smell the coffee, watch the Knicks crap all over themselves this year and join us as a free agent next year for nothing!
Third, who gives a crap about the Sheridan's of the world and the plethora of other beat writers on the Knicks payroll. I'm not worried. If we stay healthy, we have a promising season ahead of us as well as a bright future.
Let's keep developing our talent, maintaining our assets and cap flexibility until the right deal comes along! Let's all see how happy we will be when we keep our picks and still finish 41-41 with a 7th seed or higher wrapped up!