New Jersey Nets: 30 Team Previews in 30 Days

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New Jersey Nets: 30 Team Previews in 30 Days
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2009-'10 Statistics

Finished 12-70, fifth in Atlantic Division, 15th in Eastern Conference

Postseason

Missed Postseason

Additions and Re-Signings

Derrick Favors via draft, Jordan Crawford via draft, Jordan Farmar via free agency, Anthony Morrow via trade, Damion James via trade, Sean May via free agency, Troy Murphy via trade, Travis Outlaw via free agency, Johan Petro via free agency, Quinton Ross via trade, Ben Uzoh via free agency, and Brian Zoubek via free agency.

Losses

Yi Jianlian via trade, Keyon Dooling via free agency, Courtney Lee via trade, and Tony Battie via free agency.

The 2009-'10 season was one to forget for the New Jersey Nets and anyone relating to the team. For most of the season, they flirted with the possibility of having the fewest wins in a season before having a late-season surge and finishing with 12 games.

If you want to judge the Nets season on their record alone, you would assume this team is on the road to nowhere and has a couple more seasons of obscurity before they can even work their way to a decent season. Winning 12 out of 82 games doesn't exactly spell success for any team.

If you judge the Nets on their roster however, you would clearly see that New Jersey actually does have a team and does have a roster filled with quality people. Combine that with an above average off season and the Nets are somehow playoff contenders for the 2010-'11 season as a possible seven or eighth seed.

How does a team that just flirted with the worst record in NBA history become a playoff team over a mere three months?

A young team gains experience and players like Devin Harris and Brook Lopez now know what it feels like to be a miserable team. They don't want to get used to the feeling and they don't want to waste their youth and talent winning less than 20 games per season.

Harris is beginning to develop into an elite point guard even though he had a large drop off last season averaging only 17 points per game on 40%, but still averaged nearly seven assists in the process.

Lopez, who will now be entering his third season, saw a significant increase in production with a rise in points, rebounds, and assists at 19, nine, and two respectively.

Brook has developed a mid-range game to go along with an already strong post game, and to be seven feet to go along with it turns Lopez into a premiere center.

A seven footer with footwork and a mid-range game is a strong advantage to any team and is a necessity in the Eastern Conference when Dwight Howard, Andrew Bogut, and Kendrick Perkins is the main competition.

Lopez should be averaging a few more rebounds than only nine per game, but he has transitioned very well from college and is beginning to establish himself as an elite center in the making.

Lopez will get significant help in the paint when it comes to rebounding thanks to the acquisition of former Indiana Pacers forward Troy Murphy.

The Nets dealt Courtney Lee to obtain Murphy and gained a quality player who can do a little bit of everything on the court. Troy had another stable season last year when he averaged 14 points and 10 rebounds while hitting nearly two three-pointers per game.

Two seasons ago, Murphy was hitting over two three-pointers per game on an absurd 45% from the field. The even larger upside of obtaining Murphy is that they no longer need to deal with Yi Jianlian as their starting power forward. Despite averaging a career high 12 points and seven rebounds, his 40% field goal shooting and his softness on defense made him a liability.

While Murphy isn't exactly the greatest defender either, it is still a major improvement from Yi.

The Nets also gained their power forward of the future in Derrick Favors with the third pick. Favors was an athletic oddity in his time at Georgia Tech averaging 12 points on 61% shooting, eight rebounds, with three of them being offensive, and two blocks.

Favors showed off an uncanny ability to defend and has the versatility to guard nearly anyone on the court.

His post-up game is an offensive upside, but he lacks a consistent jump shot and could see himself playing limited minutes until he gains one. At 19 years old though, Favors will have plenty of time in his long future to create many new aspects to his already impressive game.

New Jersey might have also made the steal of the off season by trading for Golden State Warriors swing man Anthony Morrow. As a 46% career three-point shooter over the past two seasons, Morrow will replace Lee as the starting shooting guard and will contribute a lot more than what Lee could have ever put up.

Anthony's three-point shooting is deadly as he possesses one of the smoothest strokes in the NBA and will improve with age and experience.

The Nets strengthened their bench as well as their starting lineup with a number of signings that include former Clipper Travis Outlaw and two-time champion Jordan Farmar.

Outlaw will be entering his eighth season and while his statistics don't account for much, he is a valuable role player who can defend and contribute a three-point shot that he has exhibited over the past few seasons.

Farmar was the back-up point guard on the Los Angeles Lakers, and will be entering his fifth year. Jordan shows off a decent jump-shot to go along with substantial range. His assist to turnover ratio will need to drastically improve as the second point guard option.

The Nets have a bright future ahead of them even with a 12 win season looming over their shoulder, but they must remember that it is the past and it needs to be forgotten if they want to improve. A postseason could be within reach for the Nets now that they have an official NBA team joined together, not to mention a few All-Star appearances for some of their up and coming stars.

Projected Starting Lineup

PG—Devin Harris

SG—Anthony Morrow

SF—Terrence Williams

PF—Derrick Favors

C—Brook Lopez

Prediction

37-45

This is part 18 in a 30-day series of previews for each NBA team for the upcoming 2010-2011 season. My profile contains the other teams that I have already previewed.

 

 

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