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Who's Doing Well at Duke?

Brooklyn Nets

Little by little,  those who cover the Nets --even those not in Durham-- are starting to get a sense of who's doing well in those practice sessions. Reading the tea leaves from a distance, there's a few things, not a lot, that are obvious.

The unanimous assessment -- Brook Lopez is the standout.

Now, of course, that could mean that the Nets bigs --Willie ReedThomas Robinson and Andrea Bargnani -- are not at their defensive peaks, but others are saying the same thing as King.  Take what Rondae Hollis-Jefferson told NetsDaily at Media Day.

"Brook has impressed me, with his hook shots, with his foot work. It's been nice. I wish I had foot work like that. To be be seven-foot and have foot work like that, it's pretty incredible."

There are others looking good, of course. Lionel Hollins likes what he sees, we're told, in Andrea Bargnani and as Tim Capstraw notes, that BIG picture from Media Day is being played out on the practice court ... along with some small ball..

"You saw a little bit of Bargnani with Lopez. That could happen. We saw different point guards playing together.  You saw Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson on the same team...

"We talked about Thomas Robinson. I thought he had a very good day today.  I thought he was a physical presence. A guy who could possibly play down low. as a center at times. He might be that guy. He has that type of physical presence.

As Chris Carrino said Thursday, Sergey Karasev has "looked really good out there." Take a look at the play that develops at 1:17 of the Day Four recap. Thomas Robinson blocks a layup by Bargnani, Karasev gets the rebound and flicks a three-quarter-court, behind-the-back pass to a streaking Shane Larkin.

As for T-Rob, here's how Capstraw described him, "a physical specimen out there. Up and down the floor, going up to get balls. Just strong, physical, tough."

Carrino noted, "a couple of times guys went down hard on the floor and you asked, 'who was it?' And it was Thomas Robinson.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson told the two that the first few days had been "challenging," but he agreed with Capstraw's assessment that he had had a "breakthrough" on Thursday, that " the game was coming a lot easier" to him.

As for Chris McCullough, he may not be practicing, but he reached a milestone tweeting that he is now at 215 pounds.  He had been 199 pounds since he was a junior in high school. Draftniks had suggested that he needed the weight and strength if he's going to play the 4 in the NBA.

At the bottom of the roster, Capstraw and Carrino said there's "realistically maybe one spot" left on starting night program.  In assessing the various possibilities, the Nets radio broadcast team praised the 6'10" Quincy Miller, who at 22 is one of the youngest guys on the roster and has only a $50,000 guarantee.

"Quincy Miller looks to me to be really athletic, long, and he was making shots today," said Carrino.

Capstraw agreed. "On Day 1, within the first 10 minutes, you were watching Miller and said, 'boy, that guy looks good.'  For four days, he has been very, very solid."

However, Capstraw noted that it's important to have a third point guard and implied that could hurt Miller's chances. Both Ryan Boatright and Donald Sloan are partially guaranteed, Boatright for $75,000 and Sloan for $50,000.

"That's a big, big decision," Capstraw said of going without a third PG, then added, "Maybe some trades could occur." Problem is that other than the team's two rookies, only five players can be dealt before December 15 -- Joe Johnson, Jarrett Jack, Bojan Bogdanovic, Karasev and Brown.

Not everything is going well. For the second straight season, Markel Brown will miss a big chunk of camp. Last year, it was a stomach virus he apparently picked up in China. This year, it's a strained quad.

The Nets play Fenerbahce Ulker of Istanbul on Monday night in Brooklyn.