State of the Nets
For one, sorry for the long delay, I joined the crew of bloggers on Nets Daily a long time ago, and posted maybe once or twice, and have not contributed since, and feel a need to contribute to the site.
First I would like to go over the team, position by position.
As much as I would like to put the blame on Lawrence Frank for some of the decisions that came down during the past season, I don't believe he deserves it. The Nets have made it pretty clear that the reason that they continue to play Yi JianLian is for marketing purposes and to gain popularity with Asian corporations and fans. Therefore, I'm assuming that there was some sort of order that came down from the head office telling Lawrence Frank that Yi needs to be played a certain amount of minutes. When seen in interviews, Frank seems to have too high of a basketball IQ to actually believe that Yi deserved a starting spot in the line-up last season. I think that the Nets will move forward and trade Yi, hopefully clearing Lawrence Frank to run the team as he feels.
Devin Harris proved last year that he is a player the Nets can put at the point for years and years to come. He has explosive speed attacking the hoop and has a developing jump shot that proves to be deadly at times. If he creates more consistency with the jumper, he could become one of the more deadly players in the entire league, at any position.
Keyon Dooling is a wonderful player off the bench, but I don't think that the Nets are looking for this type of player at the PG position to come in for Harris. Harris is enough of a scorer already, and the Nets could use a pass-first point guard to come off the bench and create for everyone else, hopefully a need that they address in the draft. I love having Keyon on the team and hope that they do keep him, but move him to a back-up for Vince at the shooting-guard position.
Vince Carter is obviously not what he used to be, but he continues to be a player that can energize a team, and energize a building. He has had his heart questioned at times, but last year proved to me that he can put his heart into a team and become a true leader, and seemed almost as a coach on the court for the Nets. The shooting guard position is going to have to be replaced in years to come, but for now Vince Carter is definitely what the Nets need at the 2.
As said before, I hope that Keyon Dooling will be moved towards this position, with Chris Douglas Roberts also playing SG, and SF at times. This leaves the Nets with a healthy bench for SG's, with players that can both create for themselves, and at times prove for others, as CDR proved when he took over point guard duties for a short time last season.
The Small Forward position is the biggest need of the Nets at the time. Bobby Simmons, Jarvis Hayes, Trenton Hassell and Edjuardo Najera are all decent SFs, but none of them are a great choice as a small forward of a team that is looking to compete. They all provide their own speciality, but none have a real game changing aspect to their game. This position is one that needs to be addressed in free agency or through trade.
I love Ryan Anderson's game, he is a good rebounder and a good 3 point shooter. I just am not sure if he is ready to step into a starting role and contribute right away as a go-to guy. He seemed to melt under pressure last year when put in as a starter, and his 3 point percentage plummeted. Yi is a player who I feel is not worthy of playing time on this time, let alone a starting spot, and I am hoping that he is traded at some point during the off-season. Sean Williams has a lot of raw talent, and working out with Chris Bosh this summer is probably polishing his game little by little, but he has to prove that he can be trustworthy with his legal issues.
I feel that this is the one position that is keeping the Nets out of contention in the East. Although Brook Lopez proved himself as a down low threat last year, the Nets are missing a PF who can come in, move bodies around and be an automatic down low presence. Carlos Boozer apparently has some interest in the Nets and New Jersey needs to jump at the opportunity to pick him up, even if it means giving up one of the 2 draft picks that the Nets hold in next season's draft. Boozer would not only give the Nets a much needed rebounding presence but allow Brook Lopez to have much more freedom than he did last season, being that the opponents will have 2 big men to prepare for and account for, instead of only Brook.
Brook Lopez went above and beyond last year and became the teams 3rd best scoring option as a rookie, which is no easy accomplishment as a Center. He shows a lot of talent and as he builds mental toughness and polishes his game a little bit more, he will be an absolute force in the paint.
The future looks good for the Nets, and I cannot wait to see what they do with the opportunity to draft one of many great Point Guards in this upcoming draft. I would also be more than thrilled if Terrence Williams is the choice at #11.
Away from this topic, I would also like to address the pre-draft Power Rankings found on sporting news.com (link- http://www.sportingnews.com/nba/article/2009-06-22/2009-10-power-poll-maybe-next-year-will-be-kobe-vs-lebron). First off, it is 100% pointless to make a power ranking chart before the draft happens, because the draft brings so many changes, with the new rookies coming in, and other trades that occur, such as the RJ trade last season. Secondly, the man has absolutely no idea what he is talking about. He listed the Blazers over the Magic and Celtics, both teams who have proved themselves in post-season play, and the Blazers have yet to win a series with this new squad. And another thing that I just could not get out of my head is that this man put the Washington Wizards ahead of the Spurs. I am a gigantic Gilbert Arenas fan, but thats got to be a joke. When healthy, there are few teams in this league that can beat the Spurs. Besides, Nets at #26? You're better than that Shawn Deveney.
Thank you for reading, I will be sure to post again very soon.
By Sean Dugan