With the Nets season starting tommorow night in DC I figured it'd be a good time to give my team preview for the upcoming season:
Most analysts predict the Nets to at the bottom or right near the bottom both in the east and in the league, predicting around 25-30 wins for the team. I'd have to disagree, I think people are underestimating the amount of talent this team has, and I believe the young players will develop more quickly then people think. I predict 35-40 wins for the team this year, but the keys to them contending for a low playoff seed are:
1) Staying healthy. This is the most important thing for the Nets, particularly having VC and devin stay healthy. If either of those 2 go down for an extended amount of time, figure for it to be a long season. The Nets created a frontcourt glut and are slim in the backcourt. They only have 3 guys who L-Frank would feel comofortable running the offense with, Harris, VC, and Keyon Dooling so if either vince or devin or even keyon goes out the number of point guard options will be extremely limited. It doesn't help that Dooling and Vince are not natural PGs. CDR and Mo Ager could see some emergency PG minutes but if you see them playing point at all this season, that's a major problem. They also must stay healthy up front though they have more depth and more options then there then they do in the backcourt.
2) Rapid player development, especially up front. Besides Eduardo Najera and Stro Swift the Nets front court is incredibly young, and both vets are injured now so every player in the front court has less then 3 years experience. Brook Lopez looks like he can be ready to contribute right away as he seems to have a nice skill set and seems to pick up on thigns very quickly which has greatly helped him adjust to the NBA. Yi, Ryan Anderson, and Boone also seem ready to contribute right away as each played well in preseason and each contributes in a different way. Sean Williams is still raw but if he can play well in energetic spurts he will be a very nice piece on this team. Also would like to see CDR emerge as the player Eddie House was supposed to be 2 years ago off the bench, an instant offense guy who will keep scoring up when the starters come off the floor.
3) Become a consistent outside shooting team. With the dribble-drive offense in place the Nets will need their shooters: Anderson, Yi, Jarvis Hayes, Devin, etc. to be on. They must capitalize on their open looks because the way the offense is constituted they will get a lot of pick and flare or drive and kick shots and they must knock them down for the Nets to stay in games.
I'd like to see the nets trade 1 of their young bigs for some backcourt help. I think sean williams is a tremendous talent but he just can't seem to put it all together at times and would be most expendable. i'd like to see them package him with Stro, Hassell, or Ager to the Grizzlies for one of their young point guards: Javaris Crittenton or Kyle Lowry. This move would provide much needed ballhandling skills and point guard depth, 2 things the roster currently lacks. The nets could have had lowry or crittenton if they signed-and-traded Krstic so i'd like to think the grizz would reopen talks with them about such a move.
Don't get scared by a slow start the Nets have a tough 1st 4 games playing at Wizards then t home vs Golden State, Phoenix, and Detroit. A 2-2 start would be very solid I hink and would even take 1-3, 0-4 well...