With most of the trade talk circling around the kid for Kidd, we rarely talk about the pieces of the puzzle that came along in this deal.
The deal wasn’t just Jason for Devin—it was Jason for Devin and some guys with talent.
Rod Thorn was smart and picked up players that can play now and play well.
First, picking up was not a part of the regular deal but only used for salary purposes due to the non-trade demands of George. So far he’s taking most of Antoine Wright’s minutes playing aggressive defence in the three games he’s been featured in.
“I bring a little toughness, defense, energy. Get out there and just tries to make things happen; that’s about it.”
He is neither cocky or above others yet he started many games during the Kevin Garnett era in Minnesota learning a lot from him and what it takes to win. Once he was traded for Greg Buckner, he was never to be seen again until just this week as he was given playing time.
When asked about why he is not an offensive player and is a lot like Bruce Bowen, he responded, “Because when I was a rookie (with the Chicago Bulls), we had a lot of scorers on the team and Ron Artest and people got hurt and I came in there and played defence. I had Charles Oakley as my vet and Pete Myers and they told me that you have to master something else other than just scoring because everybody else can score in the league. And it was defence.”
Next was the eighth overall pick in the 2001 draft. Labelled a bust by the Cavaliers and picked up by the Mavs only to have another name given to him; “Duncan Stopper”.
“It was a good feeling. I dedicated myself to losing weight and tried to get better as a pro. I think my weight was holding me down a lot. Hired a chef, hired a trainer, worked hard all summer, two a days, and I lost a lot of weight. And I was able to contribute to a team in Dallas that went to the Finals. Last year, even though we lost in the first round, we won 67 games. With the Nets, I’m going to just try to do the same thing.”
When asked what he can bring to this New Jersey team, he had a similar response to Hassell. “Defensive presence, hustle, try to get offensive rebounds and put it back or kick it back out for shooters to shoot it again. A lot of hustle, I try to finish around the hoop, stuff like that.”
Though he is a free agent this summer, Nets will be looking to keep the 27 year old Diop if he enjoys his stay here. He is definitely a good starter and an even better back-up.
The last throw in as many said was the young and talented guard out of Michigan, Maurice Ager. He, like Hassell, did not get much burn with the Mavs either as he was delegated to the D-League.
“Right now, practice is going to be very important for me to pick up and learn things and just try to take advantage of that and earn my minutes from here.”
Instead of fighting for playing time behind Stackhouse, Hassell, George and others, he only has a couple guys a head of him and a new coach to impress. “Go out there and bring an extra scorer, outside shooting. Defensively I want to get after it a little bit and really just help us secure that playoff spot and just get the best seed we possibly can get.”
The new guys are ready to make an impact now as the rebuilding Nets look to turn that title into the playoff Nets. Ager, Hassell and Diop all know that this is a new beginning with new opportunities and they will be making the best out of each chance given.
We may have got lucky with Harris and picks, but we also scored two jackpots in a row with these three guys as well.