New Jersey Nets Midseason Report Card
With the All-Star break having come and gone, it's a good time to reflect on the disaster that is the 2009-10 New Jersey Nets season.
Simply put, this is going to be a no-holds-barred grading session. Let's start from the inside out.
Brook Lopez: B+
Lopez is the only player who deserves a decent grade. He leads the Nets in points. rebounds. and blocks. He is shooting over 50 percent and been New Jersey's most consistent player. While he is probably not a true franchise player, he is absolutely a building block.
About Lopez's only fault this year is that he has not player his best when going up against big (as in size) opponents. He does need to do a better job of setting up low in the post so that he does not have to work as hard once he gets the ball in the post.
Yi Jianlian: D
Yi is playing smarter yet worse overall. He still has trouble finishing in the paint. He is blocking more shots, but it is at the cost of playing worse on the ball defense.
The improvement in his numbers is almost entirely related to increased playing time. However, he once again has been hurt and is not a reliable player.
Basically, he is too robotic and lacks the necessary efficiency in his body movements to excel on the NBA level. The Nets would be wise to cut their losses with Yi and look for a new power forward. Better yet, they should give more time to his backups.
Kris Humphries: C+
With the Nets, Humphries has shown some ability. In 23 minutes, he is averaging 10.1 points and 7.3 rebounds. By way of comparison, Yi is averaging 12.8 points and 6.9 rebounds in 32 minutes. Humphries is the better player and should be the starter.
Humphries is a natural rebounder and much more athletic than any of the other power forwards on the roster. He is willing to do the dirty work and is a much better fit next to Lopez.
Josh Boone: C-
Boone can rebound OK and sets a good pick. He does not play good defense, though, as he lacks lateral quickness. Also, he can't shoot. In general, he should have become Dale Davis, but he's not even as good as Chris Wilcox. He is another waste of space. However, since not much was expected, it is hard to be too critical.
Chris Douglas-Roberts: C
He mostly plays hard but has been a disappointment. His lack of a consistent jump shot has held him back, and he lacks the size and quickness to effectively guard most small forwards.
He was expected to be the Net who could create his own shot from the wing. However, that ability has not emerged. He is still young and probably needs more time to develop, but he is best served in his current role as a sixth man. Unfortunately, the Nets lack a true starting-caliber small forward.
Terrence Williams: F
He should be the starting small forward, but his poor play has been so poor that he is dangerously near "bust" status. He can't shoot but takes mostly jump shots. He can handle the ball well but forgets to focus on creating for teammates. He is very athletic, but his defense is poor because he is frequently out of position.
Jarvis Hayes: C
Hayes is exactly what he is—a replacement-level player. Ideally, he would be the solid veteran off the bench. However, the poor play of CDR and Williams has forced the Nets to put Hayes into the starting lineup. It is a shame that injuries have ruined his athleticism, because he is a very smart player.
Trenton Hassell: B-
He is a smart, heady player who plays below the rim. He's also a tough and physical defender, but he is a poor shooter, so he hurts the team on offense if he has to shoot beyond 16 feet.
Since Hayes has more range, he plays more since Hassell fills a similar role. He could help a contender that already has plenty of scoring. On this team, his skills are wasted. He gets the second-best grade on this team for playing hard every time he gets the chance and always playing within himself.
Courtney Lee: D
He was supposed to be the rough perimeter defender who would knock down the open jump shots created by Harris and Lopez. Instead, his defense has been inconsistent and he seems to have forgotten how to shoot. He is shooting 29.6 percent from three-point range, which is horrible for a player who supposedly can shoot.
He often makes the wrong reads on defense and leaves his man open on doubles. The biggest reason the Nets are this bad is that they traded Vince Carter for Lee. Carter may be having a poor year, but he is still light years more dangerous a player.
Devin Harris: C-
Injuries are the biggest reason for his lack of success. He has lacked that explosive quickness that he showed last year. His shooting is down in all respects, and his defense has been spotty.
He has started to play better recently, though, and he is still the Nets' second-best player. When he plays well, the Nets have a chance to win. If he plays poorly, the Nets have no chance.
Keyon Dooling: C
He has been solid as a backup point guard. He has been decent as a shooter. He has been a decent defender. He has been a decent ball handler. Sadly, on this team, decent qualifies as good by comparison.
Bobby Simmons: F
What happened to the tough defender and solid jump shooter? When he was with the Clippers, he was a true pain to play. He always played hard and he earned everyone's respect. That player never showed up this year. He looks like he is going through the motions. The Nets should just cut him now and let someone who wants to prove he belongs to the team.
Chris Quinn: D
Quinn shoots the ball well from three-point range. However, he can't create and is a poor ball handler for a point guard. The best part of his game other than his shooting is that he still cares. That is not enough to get a better grade, but he is not a waste of roster space.
Rafer Alston and Sean Williams: F
Both are gone, but both deserve some mention.
Alston is perhaps as big a reason as to why the Nets started 0-18 and Lawrence Frank got fired. "Skip to My Lou" was expected to provide leadership and heady point guard play, and when Harris got hurt, Alston got major minutes. Instead, he stunk.
He shot less than 40 percent, taking mostly stupid jump shots and missing layups. His defense was poor, as he took too many chances trying to go for steals instead of just staying in front of his man. If ever there was a player who deserved to get cut, it was Alston.
Williams was a basketball knucklehead when he was drafted and he has remained a knucklehead. He actually tried hard, but he never seemed to understand the offense or proper defensive rotations. He helped win an occasional game with his hustle and rebounding, but his negatives far outweighed his hustle since his hustle often led to him being out of position.
If you could put Trenton Hassell's head in Williams' body, Williams would have been a superstar. There has never been a better description of the million-dollar body and the five-cent head.
Right now, the Nets have only one player in the rotation who has been above average. Poor coaching has been a big part of this disaster, but the reality is that the Nets have only two decent players, and one of them (Harris) has been mostly hurt.
There is no other grade for the Nets as a team other than a big "F."
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