Category Archives: 2010-2011 Regular Season

Nets 2010-2011 Preview

By: Victor Nash

With the season starting on Wednesday, the Nets and their fans(not too many anymore) are already thinking about Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Favors’ growth over the next couple of years, and the move to Brooklyn. Still, the Nets have to play through this season and try to wipe of the stain of a 12-70 season by following up this year as at least a contender to make the playoffs. This seems like an outlandish idea to many sports fans. The Nets?! Playoffs?! It’s true that this team won only 12 games last year, and really looked like a college basketball team at times, especially against high-scoring and athletic teams. However, this was more or less due to the extremely poor coaching of Kiki Vandeweghe, the bitter taste of injury, and a season that started off on the worst note possible.  So is the playoffs a possibility for one of the youngest teams in the league? Let’s find out!

Offense:

The  Nets of last year were quite possibly one of the worst teams on the offensive end of the court in the history of the NBA, and definitely the worst in the league last season. With an offensive efficiency of 98.1, the Nets fell almost 7 points below the league average. The Nets were unable to shoot 3s, unable to score inside, unable to move the ball well in transition, and just generally unable to do anything. However, Bobby Simmons is no longer the best “shooter” on the team, or Yi Jianlian using his sole post move to throw up a contested layup. The Nets made very underrated and solid moves this offseason to fix last years’ problems on the offensive end of the court.

With the signings of Anthony Morrow, Travis Outlaw, and Jordan Farmar, as well as the trade for Troy Murphy, the Nets acquired three players whom are above average shooters from beyond the arc, and one shooter that can light it up from three point land in his sleep, in Morrow. Gone are the days of the Knicks using the zone defense to stop the Nets from scoring. With these additions, the Nets added a whole new dimension to the team. As seen in preseason games, Farmar is great at pulling up from the 3 in the heat of the moment, which was really put on display when he torched the Knicks’ pathetic defense. While Outlaw hasn’t had a good preseason, he has perennially averaged close to 40% from three point land in his career, and should be able to keep that up for the season. For a full review of his game, click here.  Murphy, who has yet to don a Nets’ uniform in a game, has a sweet shot for even a shooting guard. Last season, Murphy shot 38.4 percent from three point land, and is really a threat from downtown. With the additions of Murphy, Outlaw, Morrow, and Farmar, the Nets have multiple three point threats, including three in the starting lineup.

The Nets also gained some perimeter quickness to complement Devin Harris’ skill set, which is getting to the rim and scoring, drawing a foul, or doing both. The Nets have a very good play that they can run in the pick and roll, which can be the best play in the NBA if  it is run correctly. Avery Johnson’s system calls for plays to start on the perimeter, so expect to see plenty of pick and rolls being called throughout the season. With the addition of Derrick Favors, Harris, Terrence Williams, and new addition Jordan Farmar have two reliable pick and roll partners in Favors and Brook Lopez. The Nets look like a team that can really take advantage of its quick feet on offense, athleticism, and ball movement, something that Johnson has been preaching since he was hired.

Finally, there is the constant growth of the Nets’ young players. Brook Lopez, as we all know, is a budding star and looks to have an All-Star season this year. His game is going to continuously improve, and a 20-10 season is bound to happen this season. The range of his shot should continue to improve, as well as what is already a solid post game. Terrence Williams, who played like a mini-LeBron in the months of March and April, has the ability to turn in a very good season if he can work on his shot and his turnover rate. With his incredible court vision, and his rebounding ability, the question of whether T-Will becomes a great player becomes a when, not an if. Devin Harris’ revival also seems to be coming. After a disappointing season last year, Harris has a much more talented crew coming into the fold, as well as a much better coach. Look for Harris to regain some of the incredible speed and scoring ability that he had in the 08-09 season, and his gradual improvement in his shot form,  after he shot 40% from the field last season. If he can fight off injury, Harris should have a great season offensively.

Defense:

One of the main reasons that the Nets chose to hire Avery Johnson as coach was his known defensive genius. While he was with the Mavericks, they were a top 5 defensive team year in and year out, especially due to the great defense of one speedy point guard.

However, the problems that the Nets face this season on the defensive end have nothing to do with Johnson, but more with the players themselves. The Nets don’t really have any one defensive stopper on the team. While Harris has been documented as a good defender in Dallas, he seems to have completely lost interest in it. Anthony Morrow has never even been average on the defensive side of the court, and generally looks lost at all times. Terrence Williams has the size to be good  on the defensive end, and Jordan Farmar is a pretty good defender, but the Nets still need a lot of help in terms of guarding the perimeter, which could come in the form of Quinton Ross.

In the offseason, the Nets did manage to cover another of its’ many weaknesses on the defensive end by trading for Troy Murphy. While he won’t amaze you with his actual defense, Murphy is one of the best defensive rebounders in the league. The Nets ranked 28th in that category last year. I just loved that trade.

The frontcourt defense in New Jersey will not be pretty, to say the least. Last year, fans of the team had to deal with the horrible defense of Yi manning the PF ship. Unfortunately, Troy Murphy is no better. Both Murphy and Brook Lopez are very slow on the defensive end, and need hours upon hours of work to become above average defenders. Lopez has some shot-blocking prowess, but both of them are way to slow to keep up with the Amare Stoudemires of the league, or even players like Andray Blatche. While Derrick Favors might help in this category with his size and knack for defense, the Nets will have to sit through many nights of opposing PFs looking like all-time legends during the Nets post-game show.

Prediction:

While the Nets certainly have weaknesses, I think this team is playoff material. The Nets signed many role players that really improve upon the weaknesses of the team last year(except frontcourt D) and look to be a good team this year, as long as they don’t let the injury bug bite. My prediction? 41-41, as well as the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

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Getting Devin Harris Back On Track

By: Omar Hozayen

Devin Harris’s ’09-’10 season was, to say the least, disappointing.  Harris looked very disinterested at times and was not nearly as productive as he was a season before when many people felt he deserved to win the Most Improved Player Award. Harris was also unable to score as well as he did in ’09, going from 21.3 ppg on 43.8% shooting to 16.9 ppg on 40.3% shooting. This was especially important because the Nets desperately needed scoring last season and saw their offense become more stagnant than the swamp water of New Jersey. To no one’s surprise they ranked last in this category in terms of points per possession.

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Nets’ Player Rankings: 10. PF Sean May

This is the second post in a weekly series breaking down the players on the Nets’ roster. There is always a chance there will be transactions made and the rankings can be changed. For now, we are leaving the rookies out because they haven’t actually played in an NBA game yet. Throughout the regular season we will be updating these rankings weekly based off of performances during the week prior. Last week we had Quinton Ross as our No. 11 player to kick off the series, today we will focus on Nets’ big man Sean May.

By: Adam Callahan

What he can do:

Sean May’s career has taken a few big twists and turns. As far as his contributions for the Nets go, May could serve as a big body inside defensively. That’s pretty much it though, May is about 6’9 and 266 lbs. His build is similar to that of Celtics’ forward Glen “Big Baby” Davis. Big Baby stands at 6’9, 269. May isn’t as tall as they come, and most certainly not as athletic as they come. His contributions really go as far as him becoming a bruiser on the team inside. May has slowly seen his minutes regress over the past 3 season. By last season’s end, May averaged 8.9 minutes per game, a number that will likely go down even further with the Nets this season. In order for May to be remotely effective for the Nets, he will have to accept a lesser role and play it with intensity on a night-to-night basis.

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Nets vs. Heat On October 31st

By: John Fraty

Before the the 2010-2011 NBA season kicks off, we’ll preview a few of the biggest games of the year to give a sneak peak of what’s in store for the year. We started off with the season opener, and now we move on to a game that catches every Nets fan’s eye: the Nets vs. the new-look Miami Heat in Newark on October 31st. The teams meet again in Miami a week later – November 6th, but this first matchup is definitely an intriguing one.

Obviously, this is a huge test for the Nets. This will be just their third game of the season (Miami’s fourth) and I’m interested to see how the Nets’ play against a team which is absolutely loaded. Miami will be at the forefront of nearly any conversation involving the NBA next season, and I can’t give you enough reasons why. LeBron, D-Wade and Bosh have teamed up to create a team that will be a powerhouse for many years to come and has a chance to dominate the East when Boston’s age catches up to them and if Orlando isn’t able to mesh like everyone expects them to.

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Nets’ Season Opener

By: Adam Callahan

Before the the 2010-2011 NBA season kicks off, we’ll preview a few of the biggest games of the year to give a sneak peak of what’s in store for the year. First, the season opener. The Nets will host the Pistons as they break into the Prudential Center. The season/home opener is sure to be exciting for both Nets players and fans.

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about this game is the amount of debuts we’ll be seeing. Troy Murphy will begin the season as the Nets’ starting power forward and will likely be their #3 offensive option. He will surely be looking to set a good impression in front of his new teammates and hometown fans. The rooks Derrick Favors and Damion James both have a lot to prove as they begin their 2010 campaign. The two bring the Nets some needed depth and will certainly look to assert themselves while playing in the second unit. Damion James really took advantage of the opportunity he hadin the 2010 Orlando Summer League and will definitely look to do display more of the same aggressiveness come the regular season.

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Nets’ Player Rankings: 11. SG/SF Quinton Ross

This is the first post in a weekly series breaking down the players on the Nets’ roster. There is always a chance there will be transactions made and the rankings can be changed. For now, we are leaving the rookies out because they haven’t actually played in an NBA game yet. Throughout the regular season we will be updating these rankings weekly based of f of performances during the week prior. Today, we begin with Quinton Ross, who starts off at the bottom of our list.

By: John Fraty

What he can do:

Quinton Ross is barely a rotation player on this team, but we may see him every night fill a defensive role. For his career he has averaged about 20 MPG, but last season he saw that number fall significantly as he played for the Mavs and Wizards for about 10.5 MPG. I don’t see that number rising back to what it used to be, but Ross’s defense will entice Avery Johnson to use him. Remember, Johnson is great defensive coach and he will respect Ross’s abilities on that end of the floor.

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Nets’ Games In China and London

By: John Fraty

O2 Arena

Mikhail Prokhorov’s dream of the Nets’ franchise becoming a global one is getting a boost – the Nets are going to play two preseason games (Oct. 13th and 16th) against the Houston Rockets in China and two regular season games against the Toronto Raptors in London (March 4th, 5th. Obviously without Yi Jianlian the Chinese will be rooting for the Yao Ming-led Rockets, while the Raptors have a lot of overseas talent on their roster.

The preseason games in China will be held in Beijing and Guangzhou. “Bringing our team to play in China against Yao Ming and the Rockets is a major step in the continued global evolution of our franchise,” said Nets’ CEO Brett Yormark.

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