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NBA / Sep 29, 2009 / 9:00 am

New Jersey Nets ’09-10 NBA season preview

Brook Lopez

Brook Lopez

NBA training camps are underway, meaning it’s time again for Dime’s team-by-team season previews. Last year we debuted the “Highs and Lows” system — predicting the respective ceilings and basements for each team. In other words, what is the realistic best-case and worst-case scenario for the 2009-10 campaign?

Added: Rafer Alston, Terrence Williams, Courtney Lee, Tony Battie

Lost: Vince Carter, Ryan Anderson, Maurice Ager

Ceiling: 8th seed in the East
Even with significant roster turnover, literally nothing has changed as far as predictions for the Nets. Last season I had their ceiling at an 8th-seed, their basement at last-place in the Atlantic, and their ultimate goals focused more on landing a big-time free agent in 2010 than winning in the present. What makes the Nets possibly any better this time around? Well, Devin Harris is coming off a career year (21.3 ppg, 6.9 apg) and seems ready to take the lead as Jersey’s go-to guy. Brook Lopez made a strong case for Rookie of the Year (13 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.8 bpg) and jumped ahead of Greg Oden and Andrew Bynum as the most promising young 7-footer in the League. Newcomers Lee and Williams are energetic defensive-minded athletes who can also score a little bit; they give the Nets a quick, talented unit 1-through-3 — not to mention Alston is a great backup PG and Chris Douglas-Roberts has potential to be an effective scorer off the bench. And while the Nets’ strength is on the perimeter and in the middle, don’t forget Yi Jianlian was getting rave reviews over the summer at the FIBA Asia Championships and on the NYC playground circuit (no, really). Penciled in as the starting power forward, this could be his breakout year.

Basement: Last place in the Atlantic Division
The Nets missed the playoffs in ’09, and they’ve since gotten worse on paper. And if Vince Carter couldn’t carry them past the Lottery, how is Harris — who’s never been an NBA team’s focal point before — going to get the job done? New Jersey doesn’t have a real power forward, they don’t have any outside shooters, their core is too young, and they’re relying on contributions from injury-plagued vets like Bobby Simmons, Eduardo Najera, Tony Battie, Keyon Dooling and Jarvis Hayes. Harris (who ain’t exactly Cal Ripken himself) and Alston are a good PG combo on paper, but what happens when Skip starts pouting about playing time? He’s in his contract year, and has reportedly already said he wants to be traded. Lopez is a solid foundation piece for the future, Harris is an All-Star, and the franchise just got a free-spending Russian billionaire owner who probably needs his own reality show. That and the new Brooklyn arena — whenever it gets built — will be the sugar that draws a big-name free agent to the Nets, because the team’s performance on the court this season won’t be a good selling point.

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9/28 — Denver Nuggets

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  • Josh Tha roc

    I think CDR will be good this yr. But nets will stink.

  • BRUCE

    That doggone China-man (Yi)!

    Too slow at SF and too small at PF.

  • wiz

    #1 I cant agree with you more, im hoping he gets traded the nets dont seem like the right team for him…….

  • doc

    They’ll suck more than a broke crackhead bitch.

  • loons

    defense will be key. if they commit to D, they could get to 40 wins

  • http://www.nukedasouth.net Chicagorilla

    Ji Yianlian is #9 pick version of Nikolis “Skeeta” Schitisvilli or however you spell that shit. Doesn’t matter he doesn’t deserve to have his name spelled right.

  • loganlight

    Good preview Austin.

    The Nets have some things going for them… Harris, as mentioned above is only getting better with more experience and off season weight room sessions. I don’t expect Yi to pan out, but I LIKE CDR. That dude can really ball, it may just be a matter of getting him in the right system with the right players. I would take him as Wade’s “Odom” like player for sure.

    The Nets will miss the playoffs this year, but don’t look at them to roll over. Too many young players to ever throw in the towel… they’ll upset some teams through out the season and might ruin a teams playoff hopes.

    LL

  • sh!tfaced

    The biggest thing the Nets did was having the rich ass Russian Tony Stark as the owner. They’ll be more fun watching making big moves next summer than them playing basketball this season.

  • mellmeister

    True that… Nets ‘could stun… for the eight seed or even seven, as long as they mesh and Play D, after the first four seed in the east… everythings up for grabs… :) and the nets would only get better… :)

  • Jake

    CDR should have a breakout season if they play him right. Agree that Nets don’t seem to know how to use CDR, but he’s a real baller.

  • dmitry of jersey

    @5
    you sound like the Nets dumbass coach. he’s been expecting a group of below average defensive players to come together into a strong defensive team. how exactly can that happen… voodoo magic? good defensive teams need at least one defensive focal point (garnett, duncan, etc) and the Nets havent had that since JKidd circa 2005

    also, I dont know why everyone loves CDR.. he did ok in a few games but seemed pretty average the few times i saw him play. he’s definitely no “odom” as someone mentioned

    and lastly, a whole nets article and comments without a mention of how the nets need to fire Frank to get anywhere near legit status. can I start the fire Frank club on Dime.com?

  • loons

    @10
    haha, i promise i’m not the coach. the team has been pretty awful defensively for a few years now, but now they drafted a guy (terrence williams) who is supposed to excel at that. lopez is a big dude, he should be able to make an impact. you dont have to be l-frank to know that D will take you far. the team is so young. they dont know how to win. but playing D makes it easier. but i do agree that frank probably needs to go.

  • Mr. Cook Up

    Wow, alot of you guys are unnecessarily way too hard on Yi. Yeah i know he gave himself a bad rep for initially refusing to play for the Bucks. He & a lot of us basketball fans knew he didn’t fit in with what Milwaukee had there at the time, it was a dumb pick by the Bucks. And for Yi there’s only so much you can overcome when you have bad coaching (Larry Kystowiak) & 4 vets who demanded the ball (Redd, Mo Williams, Bogut, Charlie V). Last season was his sophomore year on a new team. If this were any other rookie, you guys wouldn’t be saying ****. I Don’t hear anyone talking bad about Acie Law, JuJu Wright, or Corey Brewer.

  • Eduardo

    @2 Bruce

    Hey Bruce, come again?Too small at PF?The dude is a 7 footer have you noticed it?I’m not saying he is a great player but he isn’t short fo sure man.

    Yi Jianlin

    Born: 27/Out/1987
    Height: 7-0 / 2,13
    Weight: 238 lbs. / 108,0 kg.
    From: China

  • the cynic

    at least Brook Lopez is a beast, and nets fans can have hope for the future

  • Brett

    Its all about the future. The nets have a great young core of players+ the wealthiest owner in the league+ Brooklyn waiting in the years to come. They will be part of the East elite in 2011 for many years to come after that.

  • James

    In reference to post #2, that’s a real classy way to express your opinions, throwing racial slurs out there.

    Dime, we wouldn’t allow posts with the N-word or any other epithets, would we?

  • http://www.chillgrill.biz plove

    Check out my site’s NBA predictions.

  • aL

    Chris Douglas-Roberts is gonna tear up the association if he gets some PT.

  • http://Mocospace.com Kasa

    Chris Douglas-Roberts was Memphis leading scorer, not rose and he led them to the final four, 1 first team all-american, if he gets some playing time Vince Carter won’t be missed at all!!!!1