Heading into last night’s contest in San Antonio, I thought there was a decent chance that the Nets wouldn’t outscore either the Packers or Arizona Cardinals. New Jersey enters the week with a ledger of 3-34 and is on pace to surpass the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers’ mark for futility when they went 9-73.
I kinda get the 76er thing. Dale Schlueter and Dennis Awtrey were playing significant minutes for god’s sake. But the Nets? They have Brook Lopez, Devin Harris, Chairman Yi and a host of other talented lottery picks, yet are destined for the worst season of any professional sports franchise in history.
As a man who has seen this team live twice this season, let me impart some sophisticated basketball knowledge to those who struggle to understand the nuances of the sport – they suck!! To be fair, they only struggle in two areas – offense and defense. The biggest culprit on both ends of the floor is Harris. He did battle a groin injury through the first month, but now relatively healthy (though he did miss last night’s game with a sore wrist), I can’t believe this is the same player I thought the Nets stole from Dallas in the Jason Kidd deal.
Offensively, he makes terrible decisions with the ball, is a turnover waiting to happen and his jump shot has been placed on waivers. On the defensive end, I’m being kind by calling him a turnstile. He literally just stands there and as his man is whipping by him, makes the obligatory reach in to try to come up with a miraculous steal. It really is painful to watch. This was my second round pick in the Damn Lies League by the way. Do I sound bitter?
Most annoying at Net home games is their marketing machine that leads the world in drumming up fake enthusiasm through a host of cheap tactics, like having a DJ scream into a mic during cheesy timeout promotions and halftime shows. Stick to what works such as offering season ticket holders the opportunity for the Net of your choice to appear at your son or daughter’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah. I’m paying big bucks for a shot of Yi in a satin yarmulkah.
On to the dudes:
Chris Bosh: In two games over the weekend, Bosh averaged 30.0 points, 11.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.0 blocks, shot 60 percent from the field and 88 percent from the line. That is some serious work. I whined to Jeff last night that if I took Kobe over Amare Stoudemire I probably would have ended up with Bosh in the second round. Those ended up being Jeff’s first two picks, by the way.
Courtney Lee: One of the Nets’ young guns, Lee registered 28 points, 6 assists and knocked down 5 threes Friday night at New Orleans. He followed that with a 4-point, 5-assist smellarama at the Alamodome last night. Inconsistency and poor health have marred his season, but he is playing big minutes (37 each of the last two) and is worth a stab if you’re looking for multi-category help.
Kenyon Martin: The man medical journals were named after enjoyed a scintillating week in the absence of Carmelo Anthony. In four games, he produced 20.8 points, 11.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.8 steals, 1.3 blocks and was 36-for-68 from the floor. Congrats if he was in your lineup, but an ingrown toenail is looming.
Tyreke Evans: Will ‘reke just stop the insanity? I mean come on already. He followed a 25-point, 6-assist night on Friday in Golden State with a 27-spot and 4 assists Saturday versus Denver. The knock on Evans coming out of Memphis was that he couldn’t shoot straight. Well, he is averaging 20.7 points and shooting 46 percent from the floor and 79 percent from the stripe, terrific percentages for a perimeter player. How the return of Kevin Martin will affect him we don’t know, but it must be fun as anything to own him thus far.
O.J. Mayo: Orange Juice Mayonnaise has picked it up of late, averaging 21.4 points, 3.0 threes and 1.4 steals over his last five. Even without Allen Iverson, the Grizz have a host of options so expect inconsistency from the talented second-year man.
Troy Murphy: Murph and tag team partner Danny Granger both returned to action on Friday after long layoffs. Murphy picked up where he left off with, averaging 18.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals in two games,w hile he also knocked down 6-of-8 from beyond the arc. There aren’t many 10+rebounders who hit threes and block a few shots, so Murphy is that rare commodity. Granger averaged 22.0 points and 6.0 boards in his two contests, but totaled 40 shot attempts to accomplish it.
Jon Brockman: This woolly mammoth moved into the Kings starting lineup Saturday, and although he only notched 5 points, he did corral 12 boards in 38 minutes of work. I’m not saying to pounce on him, but the rookie plays like a 10-year vet and could hang on to the job for a while. He could be a great cheap source of rebounds while adding close to a block a game.
Carl Landry: I’m jumping on the Andriesse bandwagon with this one. After watching him a few times over the past two weeks, there cannot be a tougher and more physical player in the NBA than Landry. This is the type of guy a team wins with and also the type of animal no one wants to go up against. In 26.9 minutes off the bench, he is averaging 16.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, and is shooting 57 percent from the floor and 86 percent from the line. Scoop him up if he’s somehow available or target him in a trade if you play in a percentages league.
There are nine games scheduled in an unusually busy Monday night. Hawks at Celtics should be a good one.