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Thoughts on Knicks-Nets Round 1 and the Opening Night Roster

Here are my thoughts on the game and each player individually. I know it's just a preseason game and not really indicative of what will happen in the regular season, but we've all missed Nets basketball and it's good to have something on-court to analyze.

As a team, the Nets were rusty. They missed lots of open looks and free throws that they would normally make, and that is obviously a product of the long offseason and short training camp. The turnovers and lack of timing were also a product of this. However, there were some bright spots.

Brook Lopez: Lopez's play today was VERY encouraging. He missed a bunch of shots that he normally makes, including free throws, but he was actively going after rebounds and he was a presence on defense with five (!!!) blocks. If he continues to play aggressively on offense and defense we will be just fine with or without Howard. One thing I can critique Lopez on is his positioning. I remember one play where he had great positioning, caught a pass and dunked easily. If he could get position like that more often and stop trying long, tough hook shots (which he can make, just not as often), he could be much more efficient.

Anthony Morrow: Morrow has shown that he can shoot from anywhere on the court. While he is somewhat one-dimensional, he is a great role player for this team.

Dennis Horner: Horner was not intimidated and had a couple of nice buckets, assists, and rebounds. He even had a huge block. I like his youth and athleticism and think he has a chance at the roster.

Marshon Brooks: Brooks played well, hitting a few smooth midrange jumpshots on his way to 10 points. However, he is still not there yet. His defense is far from great and his three point shooting and passing are average at best.

Brooks is not a finished product, and there's no guarantee he'll amount to anything. Thus, we all need to lower our expectations for Marshon. He is a late first round pick, not a #1 pick. He's not a can't miss prospect. And yet I've seen people who think Marshon is surely the next Kobe, a perennial all-star. People think we shouldn't trade Brooks for Dwight moisoing Howard. Point is, lower your expectations. It'll be a process, like it is for all rookies.

Guys who were decent, but not good:

Damion James: James has a limited offensive repertoire and doesn't possess great court vision. I have my doubts that he has the ability to score in double figures consistently, which is why we need to bring in Andrei Kirilenko on a one-year deal.

Shelden Williams: A solid veteran, Williams didn't play badly. But he lacks athleticism at this point and moves very slowly. I don't think he should play a big role on this team.

Deron Williams: Deron was off his game today. Missed open looks and turned the ball over a lot. But we all know Deron will be just fine. It didn't look like he was truly into the game today, understandable as the star player he is.

Guys who were wholly unimpressive:

Jordan Farmar: Farmar went through the motions today. I'm not convinced he is 4 million better than Sundiata Gaines, and he seems like an unneeded luxury. If we can get a pick or an asset for him I'd pull the trigger.

Sundiata Gaines: Gaines isn't great either, but he's dirt cheap and worth keeping on the roster.

Stephen Graham: Grahamvp is consistently terribly and should not be active opening night.

Johan Petro: It literally pains me to watch this man shoot jumpshots. Plus, he stole the ball away from one of his own teammates.

Ime Udoka: This guy is awful. He lacks any shooting touch and shouldn't be active unless as an emergency wing for veteran presence.

JamesOn Curry and Jerry Smith: Didn't really get an opportunity, although each was able to score.

So, to sum up, I think this was an encouraging game for the Nets. Lopez looked great out there, and he is our most important piece at this point for various reasons. Losing by 9 points to a sure playoff team when playing shorthanded is nothing to be ashamed of, and we should be optimistic moving forward.

Here is my opening night 12-man roster, assuming two free agent signings and no trades:

PG: Deron Williams, Jordan Farmar, Sundiata Gaines

SG: Anthony Morrow, Marshon Brooks

SF: Andrei Kirilenko, Shawne Williams, Damion James

PF: Kris Humphries, Shelden Williams

C: Brook Lopez, Johan Petro

What were your thoughts on the game and the roster?

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