Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Big Opening Night Win

Maybe this season won't be as bad as everyone says after all. The Nets came out of our nation's capital with a solid 95-85 victory over the Washington Wizards. A couple things I noticed during the game: 1) Vince Carter is good. Really good. Everyone outside of NJ hates on VC and thinks he's a quitter who doesn't play hard, he's not. The guy showed off his talent making alot of nice one-on-one moves and taking over on some possessions when the offense was struggling but he kept everyone involved but asserted himself when he needed too. Very impressed with his 21 point, 6 assist performance. 2) Yiiiiiii for 333333333 might become Gary Sussman's new catchphrase for home games. Yi was very impressive shooitng the ball, showing a very nice touch and stroke. He was also more agressive on offense then I had seen watching him play in other games. Still must work on defense as he's not strong enough to body up big guys, and he can't compete for boards down low without help due to his lack of strength. 3) The rooks impressed. All 3 saw time and Brook Lopez was most impressive finishing with 8 points and 8 boards. 4) Free agent signings Jarvis Hayes and Keyon Dooling both played well. Hayes may prove to be that lights out shooter the nets have needed off the bench for some time, he finished 6 for 9 for 14 points. he has a quick release suited for the dribble drive offense. Dooling ran the offense well for the 2nd unit, not allowing much off a dropoff from 1st unit production. 5) L-Frank will be much more comfortable playing his bench this year then last year. You can see he trusts the guys on his bench to get the job done, as he played 10 guys and all 10 played over 12 minutes. This is a good sign because i dont think he utilized his bench neither enough over the past few years. Overall a very nice start to the year, look foward to the home opener Saturday

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Season Preview

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.

Other notes:

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...

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Today we will examine the center position, the last position outlook of the pre-season. Centers: Brook Lopez, Josh Boone, Sean Williams, Stromile Swift. Starting job is between lopez and boone, both bring different thing to the table. Boone is a hard nosed, pick and roll oriented player who is tough inside, a solid defender and rebounder. Lopez brings more of an offensive presence, with range up to 18 feet, and a nice array of post moves, as well as alot of length on the defensive side of the ball. Look for them to split minutes early on, I'd like to see Boone start because he's such a good pick and roll player that would benefit greatly from being on the floor with VC and Devin, and I'd like to see Lopez come in off the bench and he will get more offensive opporunities to score on the second unit. Williams looks like he will play in short spurts, and Swift is out for ahwile


Didn't see any of Nets-Knicks game but looking at the stat sheet, Devin and VC both played well finsihing with 16 and 20 points repectively. Good to see a nice game out of Bobby Simmons who was 6 of 9 for 16 points, about time he got it going on offense. Keyon Dooling also played well shooting 6 of 10. Nets again failed to finish though, the last few years they have a habit of giving up big leads in the 4th quarter, like anywhere from 8 points and above under 6 mintues left, they held on, but that won't happen if they continue to blow double digit leads late

Friday, October 24, 2008

Roster Cuts

The nets cut Brian Hamilton, Eddie Gill, Keith Van Horn, and Julius Hodge today. The onyl one who is somehwat surprising is hodge who played well in the pre-season and was thought to have a good chance at making the roster as a 3rd point guard. Dissapointed to see him go, he has talent and you could see that, given time to work on his game i think he could turn into a nice role player off the bench for the nets. would have liked to see mo ager cut and hodge remain

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Didn't catch any of the Nets 118-100 loss yesterday to the Sixers. Noticed a few things from the box score and game recap though. The Nets "Big 3" of young big men: Yi, Ryan Anderson, and Brook Lopez continued to impress. Lopez and Yi led the team with 16 points apiece and Anderson contributed 11 points along with 9 rebounds. All 3 players have shown alot of promise this pre-season and Id say the 3 of them and Josh Boone will start off getting the majority of minutes at the 4 and 5. Sean Williams has been unimpressive in the pre-season but reports say hes had a good camp overall though, expect him to start off season with minimal minutes or out of rotation, ditto for Stro Swift. Najera is still injured so he probably wont play significant minutes for at least the 1st week or so

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Nets-Celtics and Nets-Knicks

Didn't see any of Nets-Celts game Sunday though Ryan Anderson had an impressive day on the stat sheet returning from his shoulder injury, he finished 5 of 11 shooting for 20 points and Yi chipped in 10 on 5 of 9 shooting. Team only scored 66 points though and VC didnt play so maybe a sign of how porous the offense will look if hes not in uniform. Caught the end of Nets-Knicks game yesterday and 2 players stood out in final 5 minutes of the game: Brook Lopez and Julius Hodge. Lopez was a low post presence on both sides of the court showing off some offensive versaitlity in the post, making a series of nice moves on Eddy Curry. He also had a defensive presence blocking a shot and forcing players to shoot floaters over the top of him, some went in but he's forcing players to adjust their shots when they get in the paint which is something no net defender has been able to do since kenyon martin left town. Hodge has impressive length, he plays a little like keyon dooling which is why i think he'd be a good fit on the team. He has improved his ball handling skills markedly, and is working on developing a consistent mid range game and a defensive presence, many of the things dooling brings to the table, so i think hodge would be a good guy to have around in case dooling gets hurt and to also contribute in certain sets as a point foward.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Frontcourt Slimming Down in Numbers

The logjam at the powerfoward and center positions seems to be working itself out with 4 big men battling various ailments. In addition to Najera being out with a wrist injury and Anderson having a strained shoulder, Josh Boone experienced "chest discomfort" and Stromile Swift took a scary fall in yesterday's practice, making Sean Williams, Yi, and Brook Lopez the only healthy bigs currently

Celtics 111, Nets 108

Went to the Nets-Celts pre-season game Thursday, here are some observations:

1) large crowd for a preseason game, much larger than could have been expected

2) lawrence frank doesnt deserve to be head coach, its a meaningless preseason game and he has devin harris playing 30 minutes, frank has a tendency to play his starters extended minutes, why wear them out during the PRE-season? Each time Devin Harris would collide with Glen Davis, all i was thinking was why subject him to that behomoth of a player 2 weeks before games start to mean something. Also limited minutes for guys fighting for roster spots like Mo Ager, Eddie Gill, and Julius Hodge, why not let them take the hits from davis and see what they can bring to the table in game situations.

3) Yi is soft on defense. He doesn't man up and can't stay with quicker players, turns his body alot allowing opposing players easy access to the rim. Picked up 4 fouls early so some tentativness lies in the foul trouble but he was unimpressive even before getting in trouble. He has a nice stroke but other than his shooting his offensive game is less than impressive, he's very clumsy with the ball and seems disbombulated at times.

4) Josh Boone will be a solid contributor this season and beyond. He blocked or altered at least 5 shots while I was there (till midway through the 3rd), rebounded well, and he also showed some limited shooting range something he had none of last year.

5) Backup guards Keyon Dooling and CDR are both players who can create on their own and Dooling is a pesky defender as well as a pretty good shooter

6) Expect little out of the small forward position this year. With Najera and Hayes out that leaves Bobby Simmons and Trenton Hassell, you barely noticed when they were on the floor, hardly touching it on offense.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Power Fowards

Today we will look at the power foward position for the upcoming season.

Power Fowards: Yi Jianlian, Ryan Anderson, Sean Williams, Stromile Swift

This is the deepest position on the Nets roster as they have a lot of young talent stockpiled at this position, as well as some veterans who can play here. Yi will be the the starter and get alot of minutes. He looked very good in his 1st game scoring 17 points and showing a nice chemistry with Vince. He will need to consistently knock down those 15-18 foot jumpers because he will see alot of open shots and pick and flares, or get open looks on the perimeter as a result of the dribble drive offense. He has a nice stroke, solid passing skills, and can be a good rebounder if he wants to. He tends to shy away from mixing it up and stand around on the perimeter offensively/settle for outside shots and not be aggressive with the ball. If he becomes more assertive and shows he can be a legitimate threat that the defense has to respect from outside he will turn into a very good player for the Nets. I would limit his minutes early on at about 30 a game to prevent him from hitting the wall he hit last year because he has played a lot of basketball in tis past 12 months. Anderson will become a very solid player in this league. He has a great stroke, is agressive on offense, and has a Jason Kidd-like knack for knowing where the ball will go when rebounding. He must work on his defense and strength but expect him to contribute alot more this season than people think. I wouldnt be surprised if he became the best player out of the Nets draft class from this year. Sean Williams is a project, he has incredible potential but needs to reach it. He is an unbelievable athlete, and an extremely versatile defender he can defend any position on the floor. All reports out of camp are that he has been very impressive, he has matured and improved his offensive game. If he can cut down on his mental lapses expect to see him play alot, also expect to see him shift around and play anywhere from the 3 to the 5 position. Swift is like an older version of Williams, he has boatloads of talent but hasnt reached his potential. the major difference though is Swift is entering year 7 of his Nba career while Williams is entering year 2, though some people expect him to get his act together since this is a contract year for him. Expect to see him play occasionally, he probably wont crack the regular rotation. Najera will also see minutes here in addition to at the 3

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Euro Trip

The Nets trip to Europe was largely a success, heres a breakdown of the 2 games:"

France (Thursday): An overtime 100-98 victory. The Nets got a scare when Vince hurt his hamstring while attempting a runner, but luckily he turned out to be ok though he didn't return. No worries though as Chris Douglas-Roberts stepped in and scored 18 points off the bench including leading the Nets on a 12-2 run toward the end of the 1st half. That kind of instant offense off the bench is something the Nets have badly needed for years and hopefully this performance is a sign of things to come. Devin Harris played well shooting 7 of 11 for 21 points but he did have 5 turnovers. Despite not shooting the ball well (3 for 12) Ryan Anderson finished the game with 9 points and 9 rebounds, if given minutes he will be a consistent double digit rebounder in this league. Josh Boone played well off the bench scoring 10 points and pulling down 9 boards, he continues to impress with his play and is proving doubters wrong that he cant be a starting caliber player in this league. Eddie Gill made a case for a roster spot finishing with 14 points, while Mo Ager struggled. Stromile Swift and Trenton Hassell also struggled in extended minutes.

London (Today): Another close game decided down the stretch but the Nets prevailed 94-92, they must close out close games like these this year which has been a problem for them in the past few years. Vince Carter returned from injury to lead the team with 19 points while Yi scored 17 (7 of 13)in his Nets debut. Brook Lopez also impressed in his 1st live game action finishing with 8 points and 13 boards (7 offensive). Camp invitees Brian Hamilton and Julius Hodge did nothing to help their chances as both played poorly. CDR came back to earth after his 9 of 15 performance in france, finishing with just 5 points.

Overall the trip seemed to be a success, the team won 2 close games and saw promising performances from many of its young players including Yi, Lopez, Anderson, and CDR.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Small Forward

Today we will look at the small forward position

Small Forwards: Bobby Simmons, Eduardo Najera, Jarvis Hayes, Trenton Hassell

This is by far the Nets weakest position on the roster. This position has taken a severe hit with the trade of RJ. Simmons who was acquired in the RJ trade will be the starter. Best case scenario for him is he becomes a reliable 3rd scoring option, averaging double digit points per game, nailing his open shots, and becoming a solid defender on the wing. Worst case is that he becomes one of the least deserving and more unproductive starters in the NBA. I think he will fall somewhere in the middle, he will be a solid defender and decent scorer, don't think he will be the 3rd scorer on the team. Most of his opportunities to score will come from getting open shots so he has to be able to hit those. Najera provides toughness, defense, and rebounding off the bench, he was brought in for the same reasons as Keyon Dooling. He's exactly the kind of player you want coming in for 15-20 minutes a game off the bench and doing all the dirty work. Will also be a veteran presence in the locker room that commands respect. Ideal player for L-Frank's system he also has the ability to step outside and shoot, but his offense is not the reason he was brought here, and won't be the reason he gets on the court. Hayes is an unknown, he has to stay healthy and be a consistent 3 point shooter to see minutes. He's unimpressive defensively and shouldn't get minutes if he can't shoot from outside or improve his defensive play. Figure him to have some big games and some where he doesn't leave the bench. Hassell is a lock-down defender and will see situational minutes. He's the kind of player you bring in during the last 2 minutes and subsitute out offense-defense. A non-factor on offense, only tries to score when he has wide open looks. Will see minutes when defense is poor, or to be a stopper.
All these guys are solid role players but i woudln't feel comfortable having any of them play 30+ minutes a night.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Shooting Guards

Today we will look at the shooting guard position

Shooting Guards: Vince Carter, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Mo Ager, Brian Hamilton (possibly)

Vince will need to be a star this year, the success of the team depends on his health and production. He really picked up his play after the Kidd trade last year and must continue playing at the superstar level of which hes capable. However he must not take on a Kobe Bryant-esque attitude and not have any trust in his teammates and try to play 1-on-5, that helps noboby. He must be willing to carry the load but also be patient with the talent around him in order for them to be successful. Must also take on leadership role, has to be someone the young players feel they can look to in the 4th quarter or after a tough loss. CDR should impress, if you watch him play he's incredibly awkward in his style and the way he looks on the court, his shooting style is also unconventional. Despite these atypical characteristics, the man can play. he's stellar off the dribble and attacks the rim, he can also can defend pretty well. Should help make up for the loss of RJ, as they have similiar attributes on the wing. Must develop a consistent mid range shooting game. Mo Ager will probably not see many minutes here, he may even get cut. hes small for an nba player and to have any chance of playing or even staying on the team he must prove he can shoot lights out from outside. Hamilton is a camp invitee but is extremely atheltic, and a lock-down defender; nets must make other moves in order to find spot for him on roster. Jarvis Hayes, and Keyon Dooling will also see minutes here

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Nets Open Practice

I attended the Nets open practice today at Ramapo College. It was a pretty full house with about 800 people there. Practice started with a Blue-White scrimmage, the rosters looked like this:

BLUE: Vince Carter, Eddie Gill, Sean Williams, Ryan Anderson, Mo Ager, Julius Hodge, Stromile Swift, and Trenton Hassell

WHITE: Yi, Devin Harris, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Brook Lopez, Josh Boone, Brian Hamilton, and Bobby Simmons

Eduardo Najera, Keyon Dooling, Jarvis Hayes, and Awvee Storey didn't play due to injuries

Ryan Anderson looked very good, he has the touch and range to shoot from downtown, but he doesn't settle and is very agressive. he also does the dirty work down though keeping the ball alive and getting rebounds. Look for him to surprise alot of people this year.

Stromile Swift alos impressed, the man has a ton of athleticism and talent, hopefully he will finally get his head straight, everyone talks about Sean Williams maturing and capatilizing on his potential but look for Stromile Swift to do so also this year. Williams also played well in the scrimmage.

Carter took over a few times including a monster dunk at 1 point. brook lopez also showed some promise down low, hes a presence down there and will need to be respected when in the game, also has range to shoot from 15-18 feet.

Yi and Bobby Simmons the package we got for Richard Jefferson didn't impress. Yi was unagressive and missed a lot of open shots. Simmons was barely noticeable.

The practice ended with some interactive games with fans and some autograph signing.

Friday, October 3, 2008



Welcome to my Nothing But 15 Nets blog. I am a die-hard fan, and follow the team's every move to a T. I am creating this to share my thoughts on the team, and to create a place to discuss the Nets because I don't know too many people who follow the team closely, and would love to engage with others who follow the team.

I will start off the blog by doing outlooks for the season based on position, today i'll look at the point guard position.

Point Guard: Devin Harris, Keyon Dooling, Julius Hodge (hopefully)

i like what we have at the position, harris is extremely close to becoming a top 10 pg if hes not 1 already. he needs to step up and live up to his defensive reputation which suffered after his ankle injury though, and be a consistent mid range shooter. I like the pickup of Dooling, hes he kind of player L-Frank has wanted for quite some time, hes hard nosed, defensive minded, and can knock down shots when needed. Will provide energy off the bench that was lacking last year. Dissapointed to see Marcus Williams go, he had so much talent, and when given significant playing time he put up some very solid numbers. However if team is emphasizing the "team" concept and defensive accountablity i could see where marcus didn't fit into those plans. Julius is low-risk, high reward guy they should sign, played well in scrimmages, was a playmaker with ability to create for himself at NC State and still young enough to capitalize on his potential