Every Nets fan knows in his heart that this is going to be a long year in terms of wins and losses. The hope is that the Nets will be able to develop some of their young talent into quality NBA players so that they will be ready to contend again in 2010 and beyond. The development of Devin Harris and Brook Lopez are central to those hopes.
However, Lopez and Harris are not the only Nets players who appear to have a high ceiling. Chris Douglas-Roberts announced with his play in the preseason that he is ready to be an explosive scorer in the NBA.
This year's Nets team has no established star veteran. They have some veteran role players, but no veteran starters. This lack of established star will make it hard to win.
Now, I know Devin Harris made the all-star team last year, but that was really his first season as a full time starter. He is still establishing his value in the NBA. And, he is once again injured.
This lack of established scoring threat has knocked down the door of opportunity for Douglas-Roberts. CDR is not a great athlete or a great shooter. However, he is probably as instinctual a player as the Nets have ever had.
In his short time in the NBA, he has shown a knack for scoring. He gets into the paint and knows how to get his shot off in traffic and finish. The fact that he is a lefty helps him. While he is not a great leaper, he has excellent body control. He knows how to get to the open spot and how to knock it down.
What makes him truly dangerous is that he has a polished mid-range game. When he drives, he has the ability to pull up and make the mid-range shot. Because of this ability, he forces defenders to play him tight, enabling him to easily go around those defenders with his surprising quickness.
His quickness comes from superior footwork. Because he has very little wasted motion, he gets to where he wants to go more quickly than seemingly more athletic players.
Right now the Nets have only two players who are used to shooting the ball in Harris and Lopez. As such, CDR will have the opportunity to maximize his scoring talents.
Right now, he is the starting small forward. The Nets have players like Bobby Simmons, Trenton Hassel, Jarvis Hayes, and Eduardo Najera at that position. All are below-average players in the NBA and not starting material. So, CDR will get the opportunity to play.
Douglas-Roberts does need to improve defensively and improve his jump shot. However, in a rebuilding year, he will get that opportunity. Right now, the Nets look like a team that will have trouble scoring and CDR is ready to fill that void.
Fans should expect CDR to become the 20 points per game scorer that the Nets so desperately need.