Brooklyn Nets face Cleveland Cavaliers in next test

Eric P. Mull-US PRESSWIRE

A legitimate superstar arrives in Brooklyn, former Nets fan Kyrie Irving.

Let's face it. The Charlotte Bobcats are not a good test for anyone. They are the worst team in a long while, at least since last year's Bobcats. The Nets' next opponent, the Cleveland Cavaliers, may have a worse record than the Bobcats but they also have something Charlotte does not: Kyrie Irving, a legitimate superstar. And that matters.

The 6'3" Jerseyan, a fan of the Nets growing up, is averaging 23.2 points, 5.5 assists, 1.3 steals and shooting 41 percent from deep at age 20. He's had games of 41 and 34 points (against Brooklyn) and wins over both L.A. teams.

What he doesn't have is much of a supporting cast. Anderson Varejao, who's averaging a league-leading 14 rebounds to go with his 14 points, is out with a bruised right knee. He didn't even make the trip and has missed five straight. Daniel Gibson also stayed behind in Cleveland after suffering a concussion in Friday night's loss to Atlanta.

The Cavaliers do have some young pieces worth mentioning but they're very young. There's Dion Waiters (14 points per game), 6'9" Tristan Thompson, (8.9 points and 8.3 rebounds) and Tyler Zeller, the rookie 7-footer who's healthy now and putting up 7.9 and 5.3 in 25 minutes. Zeller is the old man of that group at 22. Waiters and Thompson are both 21.

As befitting a young team with only seven wins, they rank low in a number of offensive and defensive categories, including dead last in assists, assists per turnover, opponent shooting percentage, opponent shooting efficiency, and blocks per game. Like the Nets, they played Friday night as well, but unlike the Nets, they lost (to the Hawks) and had to fly late to New York.

Expect Byron Scott to get a lot of questions about coaching change and the role of stars in such change. Scott was the last Coach of the Month fired by management, having been dumped at the behest of Jason Kidd ... who seems to have recovered from his reputation as a "coach-killer."

Kris Humphries (abdominal strain) should be back in uniform but Toko Shengelia (flu) is doubtful. Mikhail Prokhorov will be on hand. The Nets record with him in the building this season: 2-4.

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