I threw a few questions to the guys over at the TrueHoop Network’s Net’s blog, Nets Are Scorching, about tonight’s opening game and below are the answers from Mark Ginocchio of NAS.
I did the same for them as well so you’ll be able to see my answers over there later this afternoon.
On to the questions…
HTW: I’ve heard that Chris Douglas Roberts and Courtney Lee had quite the preseason battle at shooting guard with both proving their worth. Can you give Wolves fans a quick breakdown on what to expect from the Nets at shooting guard now that Vince is gone?
NAS: In a moved that surprised many, Coach Lawrence Frank has actually named Chris Douglas-Roberts the starting SF to start the season, despite playing him mostly in the backcourt last year. Obviously, the Nets can not replace Vince Carter’s offensive production through one player. But the Nets have an interesting assortment of athletic wings in Courtney Lee, CDR and Terrence Williams. There’s been talk lately of some periods of small ball, where those three, paired with Devin Harris, will just look to try and run the opposing team of the court. As for what to expect specifically from Courtney Lee – I was surprised by just how much poise and polish he has for a second year player and a late first-round pick. The guy is primarily a shooter, but I think he’s going to be more active close to the hoop as well with more offensive responsibility than he had last year.
HTW: There’s a lot of extracurricular news surrounding the Nets with an impending purchase of the team by the “Mark Cuban” of Russia as some have called him. Wolves fans know a thing or two about distracting and over-blown stories coming from overseas, how are Nets fans looking at the situation going into the season?
NAS: The move to Brooklyn and the potential sale to Mikhail Prokhorov are both intertwined and I think weighing on most fans’ minds. The Brooklyn issue has lingered for years, but there’s a sense that some things are going to come to a head by the end of 2009. Meanwhile, with ownership banking so much on making Brooklyn a reality, I shudder to think what might happen to the state of the team if this plan ultimately falls through. It would likely put the Nets back on the open market and despite having a ton of cap space at their disposal next summer, I can’t see any free agents wanting to come to a team in that much flux. That’s why it’s critical for something substantial to happen with Brooklyn this season.
HTW: Terrence Williams was a very intriguing player going into the draft for reasons both on and off the court. What kind of preseason did he have for the Nets?
NAS: After struggling his first four games or so, TWill finished the preseason strong. He’s not going to be a great scorer going into the season, but he finds ways to fill up a stat-sheet in other areas with assists, rebounds, steals, etc. The shooting is questionable, and he looked crazy overmatched when playing point against guys like Rajon Rondo, so I honestly think Williams is going to be a work in progress, with good days and bad, this season.
HTW: The Wolves and Nets are in similar places in that they are both in the midst of rebuilding years. What are the Nets expectations and what defines a successful season for the team?
NAS: I think with the Nets, it’s all about seeing what they have in terms of the youth of the roster, and whether or not some of the pieces currently in place are worth building around. I think it’s safe to say that Devin Harris is a cornerstone, and Brook Lopez is on his way, but guys like Courtney Lee, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Yi, Terrence Williams, etc. are great unknowns. I would love to see this team prove a lot of the prognosticators wrong and sneak into the playoffs, but personally, as long as those six guys continue to evolve as NBA players, I would consider it a successful season. As it stands, I think if all six of them become good rotation players, with the way the East is shaped, they might just sneak into the playoffs anyway, but I’m not banking on that.