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New Jersey Nets Preview - Hoopla Nation

njn.gifNew Jersey Nets - HOOPLA.. NATION
Last Year’s Record:
41 Wins - 41 Losses
Key Losses: Mikki Moore, Eddie House
Key Additions: Jamaal Magloire, Sean Williams, Robert Hite

1. What significant moves were made during the offseason?

It’s depressing when someone asks this question and the answer I’m about to give is even more depressing, yes, the most significant move the team has made the entire off-season was to add Mr. I AM CANADA, Jamaal Magloire into the fold, no he’s not brilliant, yes, he boasts, and yeah, the team pays him 4 million, but he still looks like a decent signing, a tough guy who can protect and bang up dudes who prefer the softer Nenad Krstic, and I might add, a better option than Mikki Moore down low minus the mid range jumper.

Quote: "He’s a beast. He sets screens. He’s a big body. He rebounds. He’ll give us some shot-blocking. He’s a big guy on the post who can do some things. We can really work with him. I haven’t played with a big man like that who’s a true center in a while." - Vince Carter

You talk about significant, you talk about landmark moves, and I think drafting Sean Williams is a landmark move, I mean this kid has all the potential in the world, freak athleticism, long wingspan, amazing defensive capabilities, this kid’s got it all. No matter what he turns out to be, Jersey’s going to be in the news; either he’s the next Shawn Kemp, or the next Eddie Griffin. Pick your poison, intriguing isn’t it?

And last but not least, the addition of Robert Hite, who steps into Eddie House’s shoes, not exactly big shoes to fill, but he has to start raining down threes, and IF this happens, make it the most significant move of the season by the Nets, signing Rod Benson.

2. What are the team’s biggest strengths?

- Jason Kidd is god’s disciple in disguise, why didn’t I say he’s god in disguise? Because he has no ring on his fingers, but still, you have a guy who is 35 years OLD, and still producing the numbers he’s producing, AND STILL improving at the same time, it would be a sin for the Nets to waste what he still has on the court. This team revolves around Kidd. In fact this team is Kidd.

- The Nets’ have a small youth movement going on after the rotating six, with guys like Marcus Williams (early in the season), Josh Boone (end of season), and Antoine Wright (playoffs) all showing promise, it’s definitely intriguing and add in young Sean Williams and Robert Hite, I have high hopes for this bunch of players and I do think that they would be the answer for our bench woes.

- Bostjan Nachbar, No I’m not kidding you, Bostjan Nachbar IS one of the best small forwards in the league coming off the bench, he can play the four if Larry decides to go small, and has the range to shoot and the guts to posterize people (read: Elton Brand, Samuel Dalembert), his versatility and production in limited minutes is something that very little teams have. He is our X-Factor and could well be our advantage over a lot of teams.

- The good luck charm in the form of Lawrence Frank, yes he’s a kid, and he loves lollipop, but he’s been here for four years and we made the playoffs albeit not very productive in terms of success, but that’s got to count for something isn’t it?

- And at last, you have to mention the big three, I mean come on, they maybe abit old, abit slow, but still they are one of the best trios in this business, the Nets are guarantee 30 wins alone by just playing them three.

Big Three Stat Totals 2006: 55 ppg, 16.7 apg, 19 ppg, 3 spg, 1 bpg

3. What are the team’s biggest weaknesses?

- You have a 6-4, 35 year old, out rebounding everyone on the team? There’s 7 footers, 6-11, 6-10 ers in the team and yet, a PG out rebounds the entire squad, either its planned or we just need more help in our frontcourt. I don’t see no championship winning team’s leading rebounder is a 6-4 dude.

- There’s still no shot blocking presence, yea I would love to say Sean Williams is our savior but until he bulks up and stuff, he is not. We still do not have the personnel that would be able to bang down low or give us some low post production of any kind, Krstic is a faceup forward not your in house Shaq wannabe. Which means the offense will continue going towards Vince Carter isolations and let Jason Kidd do whatever he wants and of course hoisting threes.

- The Nets were previously one of the premier teams in the league defensively but that’s all gone, why? I don’t know why, but I can guess, except for the lack of hustle we’ve seen from the guys in games, it can also be faulted towards Larry for playing too much zone defense, lackluster hustle in zone Ds which enabled other teams to penetrate inside easily, which also led to the drop in defensive intensity we’ve seen the Nets have in previous years, which meant less fast break points and more half court offense. Bummer.

- You have Jason Collins, you have a weakness, no offense, no nothing, yes, I know what he did to Chris Bosh but hey, that alone doesn’t erase the fact that he shot 47% from the line, averaged 2.6 ppg and 3 rpg in 27 mpg, who cares about his bone jarring picks, or solid defense against bigs, he has no production my friend, Oliver Miller can do better, go sit on the bench.

- Bench depth to spell injuries, example, Vince Carter is out and so is Jason Kidd, who’s going to replace them, yea I know Antoine Wright and Marcus Williams, but who’s behind them? Bernard Robinson and Robert Hite? Who are you kidding? This is a problem, and if this really happens, I can’t bear watching.

- You have to worry about the direction of this team, from my statless observations, the Nets are shooting more threes than ever and going towards the direction of the Suns, except that they do not have the personnel to shoot threes, so if that trend continues into this season, we’re in trouble. We’re a running team, not a jacking team, and for a team with title aspirations, wouldn’t it be better to stick with the old formula instead of moving towards another that they have already proven previously that it won’t work.

- The condition of Nenad Krstic is something the team has to be very careful about, either he returns to form ala Amare Stoudemire or he returns into Ralph Sampson.

4. What are the goals for this team?

Some say this may be Jason Kidd’s final season and if it is, winning the championship this season is a must, although it’s a hard task, even though the team is in the East and specifically the Atlantic division. This division alone has made big strides turning itself into a challenging division, but with some luck (a lot actually) and some big plays from the team, we could have a break somewhere and end up being the weakest team ever the lift the trophy.

Secondly, I see it as a must for the team to wrestle back the Atlantic division title from the Raptors, we will face challenges from the Celtics and T-dot, but the crown is ours, I want it back, and it’s Goal No. 2, because New Jersey = Atlantic division.

And, finally the growth of our young studs, like I said above, Boone, Williams, and Wright all shown glimpses of promise over the course of the season and this season is the season where they should be able to prove that they can take over the mantle from guys like Vince and Jason once they are done with this team, the same goes to Sean Williams, he’s gotta prove that he’s no weedie and start playing. Mile Ilic is on borrowed time and Bernard Robinson is a joke, I’ll keep my mouth shut on this matter now then.

Oh, PS, make sure Jason Kidd doesn’t get traded.

5. Just to test my psychic abilities…

  1. Will Sean Williams lead rookies in blocks per game?

  2. Will Richard Jefferson make the All-Star team or end up being injured AGAIN?

  3. Will RJ get traded to anywhere? Any desired destinations?
      YES, eventually. Desired destinations Utah for AK-47 (shoot me Russo.)

  4. Will Vince Carter transform back into Mr.Poster?

  5. Will Nenad Krstic be the second coming of Arvydas Sabonis?

  6. Will Jamaal Magloire perform the cover me eyes dunk in a Net jersey?

  7. Is Marcus Williams going to be a factor deep into the season?
      YES and NO, Yes for drama, No for performance.

  8. Will the Team win the champisonship?
  9. Will the Nets win their season opener?

 10. Can the Nets sweep the season series against the Knicks?
       HELL YES.

 11. Will Jason Collins break his leg?

 12. Jersey management starts giving out free tickets to countries as far as Malaysia
       HELL YES

Predicted Record

Positive Outlook: No more sluggish starts and the typical strong finish will see this team sitting near the top of the East, and also with Magloire performing at All-Star level, 55-27

Negative Outlook: Team succumbs to injuries and a bad start, couldn’t recover and struggles to find the groove for the rest of the season, 37-45

seriously; it amazes me to see this team starting slow every season only to bounce back in the end with some crazy sprees. This season would be the same, since we started off slow already (with the loss of Marcus Williams, but a run somewhere will happen, therefore a 46-36 should look good enough.

46 Wins - 36 Losses and a Conference Finals appearance at best

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