Defense and speed (?) big issues as Nets prepare for Thursday opener

Al Bello

With a handful of practices left, some of which could get canceled if Hurricane Sandy strikes New York, the Nets have a number of issues still unresolved, most significantly their interior defense. And some NBA analysts think you should add team speed to that list, too.

It's said that rotations and systems don't matter much in preseason. There's always a lot of experimentation by the coaching staff, especially with a new team. The Nets performance against the Knicks had some high points (the first quarter when the Nets starters had their way with the Knicks defense) and some low points (Brook Lopez snaring one rebound and being abused in pick-and-roll defense).

The team had the day off Thursday but will be back at it Friday. With only a handful of practices left, defense remains the big issue and according to comments Steve Smith and Greg Anthony made to Stefan Bondy, so is speed.

"Speed is a problem for the Nets," Bondy wrote after Wednesday's game then again Friday morning, quoting the two analysts and former players. "Smith suggested the Nets are better off taking Lopez out of the lineup down the stretch of close games for that reason and defense. 'He needs more of a mean streak,' Anthony said." But in that same conversation, Bondy recounted what Chris Webber, a big fan of the Nets off-season moves, told him. "Nets should be better than the Knicks and if you take LeBron out, Nets have best 1-2-3 positions in league," he tweeted.

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