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Reviewing the NBA Previews - 2006

You can find them on the newsstands, but not online: those glossy annual basketball previews, with their ranking of teams and players along with special fantasy features. This year, we found six of them on various newsstands. Four of the six have the Nets exiting stage left again in Miami, but one has New Jersey going to the NBA Finals before losing, while the other has them holding up the O'Brien Trophy at the Meadowlands.

Name: "Athlon Pro Basketball"

Price: $5.99

Prediction: NBA Champs, New Jersey over San Antonio

Netcentric Features: Vince Carter on the cover; Interview with Richard Jefferson

Author: Anonymous

Bottom Line: "Once upon a time the Nets only had to worry about finding a way over the mountain once they got to the NBA Finals. But now the mountain has come to them in the form of the Miami Heat, creating a roadblock in the Eastern Conference that the Nets have to find a way past. But the Nets did seem to have Heat figuredout n the regular season last year. Is a healthy trio of Jefferson, Carter and Kidd, along with the growth of Krstic, enough to lift the Nets past the defending champs?

"The Nets think so, and they have good reason.. Other than Kidd, the Nets entire core is just entering its prime, and the bench figures to be better this season. Shaq is getting older and creakier. So do they get it done this time—do they leap the final hurdle that has seemed to cut them short?

"They just might. But the reality is that the Nets are in a tiny window here, needing to get their championship while Kidd is still upright.

"This could be the year."

Conventional Wisdom re Kidd’s age: "While Jefferson and Carter might be entering the prime of their careers, the biggest question for the Nets might be whether Kidd has moved past his prime".

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Name: "CBS Sportsline NBA 2006-07 Season Preview"

Price: $6.99

Prediction: Second round loss to Miami

Netcentric Features: Vince Carter on the cover; Top 40 position rankings for Kidd (4), Carter (4), Jefferson (7), Krstic (10), Collins (27) and Marcus Williams (40)

Author: Anonymous

Bottom Line: "There are those who believe that there remains some magic in the trio of Jason Kidd, Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson. If Coach Lawrence Frank can coax another big season out of this group, his team can win the weak Atlantic Division and get a high seed in the playoffs. The development of Nenad Krstic inside and the first-round combination of Marcus Williams and Josh Boone are pivotal because of the team’s relative lack of depth and aging veteran core. The young players must provide a spark because the old nucleus doesn’t have much of a window left. Frank must urge his group to make one big push while there remains a glimmer of hope in an Eastern Conference that keeps improving."

Conventional Wisdom re Kidd’s age: "Kidd remains a triple double threat every time out, but his age, 33, has become more than just a slight concern."

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Name: "Harris 2006-07 Pro Basketball"

Price: $9.95

Prediction: Eastern Conference Champions, lose to San Antonio in 6 games.

Netcentric Features: Eight Nets listed in top 75 per position: Jason Kidd (6) and Marcus Williams (48) among point guards; Vince Carter (5), Hassan Adams (62) and Antoine Wright (74) among shooting guards; Richard Jefferson (5) among small forwards; Cliff Robinson (56) and Josh Boone (66) among power forwards; and Nenad Krstic (7) and Jason Collins (31) among centers.

Author: Anonymous

Bottom Line: "It's easy to get excited about the Nets. With J-Kidd running with Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson, they're one of the most exciting teams to watch of the past decade. But if you're talking about title contenders, they're just not in that class. They could conceivably win the East if things fall right, but it's just to much to imagine a team lacking this much depth--particularly in the frontcourt--playing for a title. So it will be another fun year for the Nets. But it's not going to Kidd his title."

Conventional Wisdom re Kidd’s age: "The fact is, those knees are still creaky and he'll be 34 by the time the Playoffs roll around."

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Name: "Lindy’s Pro Basketball"

Price: $6.99

Prediction: Second round loss to Miami

Netcentric Features: Vince Carter on the cover; Marcus Williams mini-profile; Top 10 position rankings for Jason Kidd (3), Vince Carter (4)

Author: Fred Kerber, New York Post

Bottom Line: "The Nets are close, real close to beingan NBA challenger. Good enough to depose Miami? Maybe, maybe not. But either way, they are close.

"In Kidd, Carter and Jefferson, they boast perhaps the best three-man perimeter attack in the league Kidd is a Hall of Fame talent with several good years left in his legs. Carter has become the go-to guy, capable of dropping 35 on anyone. Jefferson is a superb two-way talent who gets overshadowed by the Kidd-Carter spotlight.

"Beyond them, the Nets have a developing star in 7-0 Nenad Krstic, who may just be the best shooter on the team. Completing the front line is Jason Collins. For defense, the coaches swear by him and he rarely disappoints."

Conventional Wisdom re Kidd’s age: "Jason Kidd is a year older (33), a year more used and abused."

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Name: "Sporting News Pro Basketball"

Price: $6.98

Prediction: Second round loss to Miami

Netcentric Features: Top 100 position rankings for Carter (14), Kidd (22), Jefferson (43) and Krstic (83).

Author: Fred Kerber, New York Post

Bottom Line: "The nucleus has played nearly two seasons together. So everyone is ued to one another. All-Star quality exists at three starting positions and the other two starting spots are filled with ever improving center and a blue-chip defender. Only the bench is a question. Like most teams, the Nets are only a major injury away from disaster, but they remain the odds-on favorite in the Atlantic Division and again will be among the Eastern Conference elite."

Conventional Wisdom re Kidd’s age: "Kidd is showing wear at age 33."

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Name: "Street & Smith’s Pro Basketball"

Price: $5.99

Prediction: Second round loss to Miami

Netcentric Features: Marcus Williams on cover; No top 5 position rankings for any Nets.

Author: Anonymous

Bottom Line: "As you glance over teams in the Atlantic Division, the questions that arise with almost every team are numerous and difficult to answer.

"Then you get to the New Jersey Nets, a more stable team than any other in the division. They measure themselves against the likes of Miami and Chicago and Cleveland and Detroit, not the mediocrity that surrounds them in this division.

"The confidence is born out of the presence of the division’s best perimeter game, an uptempto, athletic attack engineered by Jason Kidd and dominated by Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson."

Conventional Wisdom re Kidd’s age: "Injuries and age have robbed him of much of his explosiveness and quickness."