To Billy King,
- I understand the reasons for the talent deficiencies on roster this year. I’m on board for the Dwightmare and hold no grudges currently on the losses that fill up the early year. The moves we made were understandable, minus the Shawne Williams one but hopefully he makes you look smarter as the year goes on. No one could have predicted the injury to Brook. Plus, factor in many new faces brought in later than the rest of the free agents, a slow start was expected with a difficult schedule. The schedule eases up and Avery has almost received a week of practice time to put in his system (the more I think about that the more astounding we don’t look more lost to begin the year) so no qualms about the 2-8 start.
- If unable to get Dwight before the deadline, ensure we have the cap space to sign him. Make the deals to rid us of Farmar’s and Petro’s contracts, even if it means giving up a second rounder or two. If we’re going big we might as well go for broke.
- If plan fails, don't rush the rebuilding. We’ll have plenty of money to spend but I’d rather not. Use it all on one-year deals until we’re ready to compete. Acquire the draft picks you're good a using and rebuild that way. I hope that you see the same thing I see in Andre Drummond and Perry Jones.
To Avery Johnson,
- If we're playing Petro to market him for a trade, I understand. If he's the one shining in practice, I understand. However, if game time performance is the reason Johan is starting over Shelden Williams, I would want to know what it is exactly he is doing to earn his minutes.
- The half court offense has looked promising - with one problem (see below). Once shots start to fall and the bigs start making layups I think we'll be fine. Then when Brook gets back we'll have good looking basketball once again.
- The half court defense is also doing well, not great, but good enough for only having four practices. Teams are knocking down shots at a tremendous rate against us but their percentages will even out and our newcomers, particularly MarShon, will continue to improve on their off-ball help rotations.
- The most discouraging part of the gameplan is our transition game. We are getting crushed here. We don’t have a fastbreak offense right now. Our numbers will increase ever so slightly with some made shots but I’m not necessarily looking to play faster. Our transition defense looks to be the problem. Our turnovers are leading to points to the other team. I have optimism that this will improve as chemistry improves over time, but it is worrisome. Of the minus-11.2 point differential we have right now, 7.8 of that comes within the first 10 seconds of the shot clock. We’re allowing 30.9 points per game of early offense at .567 eFG% and only producing 23.1 with a rate of .434 eFG%. A lot of this is on the players (ie. giving up and-ones on lazy fouls, bailing out of the way in fear of being dunked on, not hustling back, not closing out, etc.) but this should be a focus if it’s not already.
To Deron Williams,
- I’m not worried about your FG% early this season. I know the open shots you’re clanking right now will start to fall and you’ll score more efficiently. And the return of Brook will lighten the load you’ll have to carry which will also help. So bottom line – keep shooting.
- The turnover problem mentioned above starts with you. Collectively, our PG-position collectively averages 8.5 assist/game to 5.5 turnovers/game while our opponent gets 9.9 assists and 3.6 turnovers. Those two turnovers have been leading to four free points early this season which we can’t afford. This is supposed to be the strongest position on the roster but currently is not living up to the hype.
- Lastly, and you’ve already acknowledged it, is the mentorship of your teammates. I know you see the big picture – ie. playing with Dwight in Brooklyn. But don’t forget many of the teammates you’ll be playing with then are currently wearing Nets jerseys, especially if Dwight arrives via free agency. So when MarShon misinterprets a double team, let him know where he should have been looking as opposed to just shaking your head while walking down to the other end. When Anthony doesn’t pop after the pick and causes you to travel, get on the same page (and don’t leave your feet to make a pass – Coach Weber taught you better). When Shawne misses a wide open three pointer, don’t flail your arms up as if you can’t do anything about the folks around you. Good players fill up the stat sheet. Great players make the folks around them better – allowing them to fill up the stat sheet. Be great.
To Anthony Morrow,
- Keep shooting the basketball. Be a high volume shooter. Even with a turrible start to the season, you’re already back on track. Good teams get their most effective shooters the most shots. Currently, you are one of two players on the Nets shooting higher than .500 eFG% (MarShon being the other one). Shoot the basketball. Utilize the head fake, one dribble pull up behind the three-point line more.
- Learn how to rotate on defense. It doesn’t look like you take great pride in your performance on that end of the floor. Last year, the team gave up 114 points/100 possessions with you on the court (highest of all the rotation players). I understand you’re an asset on the offensive end. But being a liability on defense neutralizes that very quickly.
To MarShon Brooks,
- Keep playing with emotion and approaching the game with humility. You’re an easy player to root for because of those characteristics.
- At first I thought you may have dominated the ball too much, but such has not been the case. You don’t force shots, evident by the highest eFG% on this team just 10 games into your career. And you don’t turn the ball over, with the lowest turnover percentage on the team at 7.4% (remarkable for a rookie). I’m not trying to get carried away in comparing him to anyone, but that stat is better than Kobe has had in his career. Bottom line, keep up the same mentality on offense.
- On defense, I understand you’re playing out of position when on the court with Anthony. Matching up on LeBron is no easy task when being outweighed by 100 lbs. With that said, learn how to use your reach to your advantage, especially in the SG spot. And continue to be open-ears from the coaching staff on the defensive rotations. The team needs you to neutralize the top perimeter players in the East if we’re going to meet our goals.
To Kris Humphries,
- I’m now convinced that last year was no fluke. That it was Avery Johnson that convinced you to play within your limits and do what you do best. You’re certainly my favorite player on the court right now because of the heart you play with. I thank you for bringing it every night.
- That thanks is amplified given the uncertainty of your future with the team. With only a one year deal, I understand you’ll be asked to sign off on being traded in a deal for Dwight or be renounced in the offseason to sign him. Either way, I hope there is a way for you to return to the Nets to play with Dwight, even if it means coming off the bench, because you’re a player I’m willing to pay to see.
To Brook Lopez,
- Please come back at full strength out to prove people wrong. Prove that you’re not soft, you can rebound, you can be the focal point on offense for a good team, you’re not injury prone, and that you are a force to be reckoned with. I understand the distractions surrounding all the rumors, but think about it this way – that payday is right around the corner. Heal well.
To Sundiata Gaines,
- Keep up the pressure on defense. Your energy is contagious on that end.
- The fact that you’re playing over Jordan who has much more talent says something. But you have to learn to play within yourself. That means pull back on the amount of jumpshots you take until you’ve developed one (career .247 percentage from 3). LeBron/Wade have attempted 3 three pointers all season whereas you attempt more than 3 per 36-minutes. Either penetrate or reverse the ball to the guys who can shoot.
To Shelden Williams,
- Had you went to Chapel Hill you’d be a favorite on the squad. But I’ll continue to hold a grudge because you didn’t. You’re another player that plays within yourself and I appreciate that. Keep playing hard and I hope you’ll steal some minutes in the rotation.
To Mehmet Okur,
- Keep shooting. It’s always nice to watch a guy you’re size hit from deep. You’ll get more open looks once we get Brook back. Don’t know how much you’ll play with Brook but the opposing team won’t be able to gameplan for our perimeter game like they do currently. Get healthy.
To Jordan Farmar,
- I’m still a fan. I want to see you in the game more often, but I’m also convinced something needs to improve for that to happen. I want to see you playing the role you did back in LA with Shannon Brown – the one being once Phil saw the starters slowing down, showing their age, or looking lethargic, the two of you energized the squad and pace of the game. If our fast break offense improves this season, I’d put my money on you being the reason.
- If the minutes still don’t come, I realize that you’d probably enjoy playing a bigger role elsewhere. However, realize you have to prove it on the court before someone ponies up the necessary assets. So continue playing hard and it’ll work out in the end.
To Johan Petro,
- I saw a lot of potential in you coming in to the draft. I remember first seeing your draft profile on NBADraft.net and thinking there was a chance. After playing for teams I didn’t follow regularly, I didn’t know what to expect other than make assumptions based on your statistics. But I think overall I’ve been underwhelmed since seeing you in a Nets jersey. Sans rebounding the basketball, you’re able to hold your own on the defensive end. But when we have the ball, we are playing 4 on 5 most of the time. The missed layups and turnovers take the rest of the team of out sync.
- You carry yourself well on the court much better than most NBA players but I think this match will have run its course before the trade deadline. I don’t think you’ll be able to enjoy Brooklyn with the team, as I believe Billy will have another team accept a second rounder to pay you next season. And I wish you luck – no hard feelings. But I do have one question…how did your agent negotiate that contract?
To DeShawn Stevenson,
- Congrats on the fast start to the season. I hope that you are past your younger days of bringing down an offense. Never had I seen on basketball-reference.com a player with so many seasons with a negative win-shares per 48 minutes. It makes sense now watching you play that you are a ball stopper. But the difference between now and 5-10 years ago is you’re sticking to what you do best – spot up three pointers. And as long as they keep going in, you’ll be of some value on the court.
To Shawne Williams,
- Please prove to me that you are worthy of the deal you received in the offseason. I like your game but it requires you to hit shots. The scary thought in the back of my head, however, is basketball-reference.com lists Travis Outlaw as your most similar player though four years. Please don’t end up being similar to Travis Outlol. Please, I feel desperate in that request.
To Damion James,
- Stay healthy. I know the results we saw in the summer league were a fluke but I know you have some skills. You’re being over relied on currently, as you should be coming off the bench in a supportive role – not in the starting lineup. But enjoy it while you can because I don’t think it’ll be the case heading into next year. Then again, I’m starting to doubt you’ll be able to make the team next year. Show me the jumpshot you had back at Texas and prove me wrong.
To Jordan Williams,
- What happened over the lockout? Hopefully whatever prevented you from playing early on is in the past because I think you’re off to a good start. You have the second highest rebounding rate behind Hump and look to be playing into your role as a rookie. Keep your ears open, learn as much as you can from Hump, and be ready to step into a much larger role if we lose him via a transaction.
To Dennis Horner,
- I won’t make any assumptions on those 16 minutes of action but I would like to congratulate you on making the team. It definitely speaks to the work you’ve invested into the profession.
To Dwight Howard,
- As much I kind of wish you pitched a fit to force the Magic’s hand, in the end I’m glad you didn’t. It showed you have the character to go out there night-in-night-out to get a W. And I think it’ll pay off for you and your future squad. Whereas Carmelo improved a team by being traded away and brought a lower winning percentage to his current one, the same won’t be said for you. Wherever you end up, they’ll be seen as a title contender (just like the Magic with the second best player behind Turk). I just hope it’s in Brooklyn (with a large improvement of Turk being your fourth best teammate).
A fan (some of whose views are shared across Nets Nation)