NBA, NBA Draft / May 11, 2010 / 5:56 pm

New Jersey’s dream backcourt: John Wall and Devin Harris

John Wall at Kentucky

Before their team fell through a giant hole in the floor like Marv in Home Alone 2, the New Jersey Nets had — at least stats-wise — the most offensively potent backcourt in the NBA. Last year, Devin Harris had his breakout season in Jersey, while Vince Carter had what now looks like his last go-round scoring 20 points a night. Together, they took an overachieving squad within a couple of games of a playoff spot.

With Vince in Orlando this year, and Devin’s numbers dropping during an injury-plagued campaign, the Nets piled up 70 losses and need help just about everywhere. Lucky for them, N.J. has the best odds of landing the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft in the Lottery next Tuesday, where Kentucky point guard John Wall is everybody’s top prospect.

“I’d be shocked if anyone took anybody but John Wall number one,” said Nets President Rod Thorn in today’s Newark Star-Ledger.

Which of course brings up the question: If the Nets end up with Wall, are they going to trade Devin Harris or keep both point guards on the roster?

“Well, we have different things to consider, and we’re not there yet,” Thorn said. “Can they play together? We have to discuss it. I know this, we’ll have the fastest backcourt anywhere. But you know what, let’s see what happens on the 18th first. We’ll answer that when the time comes.”

Thorn did admit he’s already received calls from teams inquiring around Harris.

Unless an NBA team gets the No. 1 pick and the top prospect is a no-brainer like LeBron or Tim Duncan, executives never want to tip their hand going into the Draft; they need to keep their options open for trades and keep a strong position in rookie contract negotiations.

Harris is an All-Star, but he’s not exactly Clyde Drexler standing in the way of Portland taking Michael Jordan, or even Tayshaun Prince standing in the way of Detroit taking Carmelo. If the Nets get the top pick, they’re taking Wall. Harris is more like Zach Randolph in L.A. before the Clippers got Blake Griffin. Expendable, good enough to bring back solid talent, only without the off-court baggage that makes a trade easily explainable. One player (sans LeBron or D-Wade in free agency) isn’t going to be The Savior in New Jersey, so flipping Harris for a number of picks and future cap space isn’t a bad option when you look at it long-term.

For the record, though, I think Wall and Harris can play together. The way the NBA game is played now, a pair of point guards can share the floor, especially in three-guard lineups. We saw it this season with Chris Paul and Darren Collison in New Orleans, Derrick Rose and Kirk Hinrich in Chicago, Jason Kidd and J.J. Barea in Dallas, Brandon Jennings and Luke Ridnour in Milwaukee, Tyreke Evans and Beno Udrih in Sacramento, and Tony Parker and George Hill in San Antonio.

The biggest area of concern with having two PG’s out there is the challenge of defending bigger guards, but Wall is a solid 6-4 and pretty strong; if Monta Ellis can put the clamps on Brandon Roy when he puts his mind to it, Wall can hold his own against NBA shooting guards.

For the sake of everybody’s comfort, it probably would be easier if the Nets wound up No. 2 and got Evan Turner to slide right into Vince’s footsteps at the two. But if the opportunity to draft John Wall presents itself, New Jersey should take it, and keep Devin Harris.

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  • http://dime eyes

    Like Dos Equis on Rollerblading. NO. Either take Wall & trade Harris or go for Turner. BOTH WON’T WORK. I don’t see Devin leading any team being they’re PG. He puts up gaudy #’s that don’t effect the win column. I also think Wall is a little overhyped. Could end up being a bust because of the saviour tag placed on him. Any really talented player could come into the league & shine now. They’re isn’t enough skilled/talented players in the league like once before.

    I hope Wall pans out but saw somethings that led me to believe he’ll struggle leading a team. Being Physically stronger & bigger is a huge advantage in the L. They’re won’t be to many A.I’s,Steve Francis,Chris Pauls or Derons in the Draft. Each year our talent pool overall gets weaker. You have your standouts but overall bleek. I hope NJ does something right for the City’s sake. It’s shameful to have that bad a basketball team be professional. The kids are affected by watching. They cant learn anything.

    I’m being optimistic but don’t see it ending up as pretty as people think. Given the right system & coach he will and should succeed. Could easily be the next Sebastian Telfair or just as easily be Derrick Rose and Better. I’d hate to be that GM. You really never know what you’re getting

  • pdxballer

    3 guard lineups? what about the steve blake, andre miller and brandon roy 3 guard lineup we saw for about 20 games in portland this season? just saying

  • http://www.sactownroyalty.com Willis

    @ eyes

    Each year, the talent pool gets weaker? Look at the last 4 drafts!!! Hell, go all the way back to ’03 with King James and all them.

    Every lottery pick besides Thabeet has star potential, and even Gerald Henderson, Earl Clark, and Hansbrough will at the very least be contributors on winning teams.

    Pshh, weak draft talent my ass.

  • sh!tfaced

    After going through a season like they did, it’s just cold and cruel to mention the Nets and No. 2 in the same sentence.

  • Celts Fan

    @shitfaced – na man, the cruel thing would be if NJ gets the 4th pick. Think about it though. NJ’s moving to Brooklyn and Bron or Wade would be a perfect fit there. Toss Wall in there with the rest of that team (there’s a lot of talent there, just no #1 option and they’re really young) and you maybe convince Bron or Wade to sign there and all of the sudden, basketball in Brooklyn makes Knicks fans commit suicide by the hundreds as Jigga creates a monster. You know Stern’s gonna freeze an envelop or some shit. We’ll know it’s rigged when Dick Bavetta drops off the results next Tuesday.

  • fallinup

    Whats up Celts fan. GO CELTS GO CELTS GO CELTS! Witness…..this assssss whoooooopin!!!!

  • http://www.SoulChorea.com Kermit The Washington

    I don’t recall who I was chatting with on these boards, but someone said “Who wants to bet Joey Crawford is going to ref this game?”

    Hats off to you, sir. As I acknowledged at the time, you were absolutely right. Something is amiss, I swear. However…

    The Celts are playing so well that they’re taking the refs out the game. They have no chance to even do anything. They actually have me thinking, “maybe the nba WANTS the Cavs to lose; that way, Lebron can easily transition to NYC which will make them ALL more money.”

    I love the NBA. So dope. I’m a Kobe fan jumping around like a die-hard Celts fan right now LOL!! “King James” must be STOPPED! THIS is your KING?! Wow y’all are bugging, aren’t you….

  • fallinup

    I seriously thought that there was no way Cleveland was going to lose. Especially with Joey Crawford on deck… you are correct Kermit. The refs couldn’t do anything cause Boston is on point and Cleveland… and yes… the king… the chosen one… the great one…. is LeCHOKING AGAIN!!! He’s 3-12 right now…. ahahahahahahahaha!!

  • fallinup

    sorry… 3-13… WITNESS!

  • fallinup

    3-14… WITNESS!

  • sh!tfaced

    LOL@Celts Fan – Hell yeah. C’s just obliterated Cleveland. Hope you get good seats, man.

    Haha! Good one. As hilariously ludicrous as that sounds, you just might be on to something there…

    The Nets, a more talented core, JayZ and the comrade Tony Stark along with the No. 1 pick gives them just a little too sexy for comfort in seducing LeBron away from the Knicks. You’re right, Nets won’t get the 1st pick in the lotto. Go-to guy Bavetta might actually show up too.

  • sh!tfaced

    9-6-1 3 TOs, 4-10 FGs. Must have been the LeElbow…

  • Jon

    if the nets get the numba 1 i dont think i would want them to get john wall he could b the next best thing but do we really want 2 point guards who cant shoot and both kinda of depend on their speed 2 beat people i dont know if i want the nimba pick honestly unless u trade devin haris 4 a legit power foward then mayb get wall cause lets b honest neither one of dem dudes can shoot so either draft and trade 4 a derrick favors or any otha 4 or hope 4 the numba 2 pick and get evans

    and honestly afta bron wade and melo draft class there has really ben a strong class jus really solid ones

  • Jah

    “Draft John Wall with the first pick.”

    So long as the Nets do what I’ve just mentioned, they have improved on their historically poor season.

    Test Devin Harris out in the market to see if there is any want for him elsewhere, but ONLY for a proven scorer!

    New Jersey has loads of talent at the wings already, just not loads of confidence. Chris Douglas-Roberts, Courtney Lee and Terrance Williams will continue to improve. Yi Jialian (sp?) and Brook Lopez are formidable and both versatile.

    Draft John Wall and have him bring a winning-ness to the team that is desperately needed.

  • bakedbeing

    So now even Dime has these retard visitors who think swapping the “Bron” out with something stupid is commentary? Did this place just turn into Yahoo sports?

  • s.bucketz3
  • andres

    You don’t trade an AS caliber player who is entering his prime years and is locked up good contract just because you land a 19 year old PG. Period.

  • Joe

    The Knicks have less assets than any team in the league. After being frustrated in Cleveland, he is going somewhere that he can win now. The Nets, Miami, Chicago, and even the Clippers qualify – the Knicks dont.

  • Dillon

    They can easily play together. Towards the end of the season Harris played off the the ball while Terrance Williams handled the ball. It worked out well with Harris getting his points and Williams getting near triple doulbles nightly.

  • hahns

    lets be clear guys- devin harris is NOT an all star. nets should trade him no question about it.

  • Jer Boi

    Hope NJ will trade Devin for a solid SF if they get John Wall.

  • http://www.runninglikwidworks.com Mr. RLW

    Agreed.

    If Jersey lands that #1, they’re taking Wall. And they’re gonna throw Harris thru the wall to get him out of there. Not cause he’s a bad player by any means. But it would just be dumb to keep them both.

    The lone difference between a potential Wall-Harris backcourt and some of the other 2 PG backcourts you listed… at least one of the 2 PG’s can shoot relatively consistently from the outside. You can’t say that about Wall (who does have range but his jumper is FAR from consistent) or Harris.