Tonight's Mavericks-Nets game has storylines galore for both teams. Will the Jason Kidd-Mark Cuban detente be maintained? Will JET get minutes against his former team? (Will I be able to root against him? Spoiler alert: No.) How does Deron Williams look these days after spurning his hometown team a couple off-seasons ago?
Dennis Velasco (@dv140) of NetsDaily stopped by to shed a little light on the newish-look Nets. Thanks Dennis! Check out his answers below, then head over to NetsDaily to check out my answers to their Mavericks questions and the rest of their gameday coverage.
I'm sure you get the Jason Kidd question from everyone, but obviously he was an important piece of Mavericks history, having been on the 2011 Championship team. The "Jason Kidd as coach" ship seems to have righted a little from a rocky start. What's been the difference?
Well, all signs are pointing to when Lawrence Frank was relegated to writing reports. Apparently, Frank, who was signed to be an assistant coach and Kidd's unofficial right-hand man, acted as if his role was bigger than it was, which only caused two voices (his and Kidd's) to be in the team's ear and added a complexity that didn't need to be there. Once Frank was essentially let go, Kidd simplified everything in the offensive and defensive schemes and what most players have pointed out, there is now only one voice, which is always what they wanted.
All that said, I'm a big fan of Frank and thought his hire was a major coup to help Kidd advance a little more quickly in his head coaching career. Frank is a hands-on coach, maybe a bit much apparently, and very good when it comes to defense. All the help Kidd could get, I was all for it. However, just like when he played, Kidd just needed to be let loose and just learn and be instinctual. He's one of the top point guards and leaders on the floor in the history of the NBA for a reason.
Of course, we could also say it was when Kidd started to not wear a tie anymore.
I vividly remember refreshing Twitter ad nauseum the summer when D-Will was picking between the Nets and the Mavs, and being crushed when he picked the Nets. I think I'm now glad the Mavs lost that battle. Knowing what you know now, would you still have wanted him? Or would you have gone a different direction?
Honestly, every move that was made - particularly, trading for Gerald Wallace, as well as Joe Johnson - had the aim of re-signing D-Will. Plus, I'm not really one of those "coulda, shoulda" types of people because it's so easy to look at the past already knowing what you know and second guessing. Could there be reflection on how those experiences can make you a better decision in the future? Sure. However, rumination to any degree isn't necessary.
BUT, to answer your question... definitely. At the time, Deron wasn't too far away from being considered one of the top two point guards in the Association. He was basically in his prime still and the Nets being able to have one of the top-tier point guards, as well as the top up-and-coming centers in Brook Lopez made me extremely excited. One reason is because it's tough to find top-notch quality at those positions to the degree that you get with D-Will and Bropez. Another reason? Those were the positions that the Miami Heat were most week and all roads to a title goes through South Beach.
Then... injuries. For both players. You can't really foresee things like that when the sample size at the time didn't really show that health would be an issue. So, what are you going to do? Both players are still in their 20s and I still have faith in both. D-Will's second half last year was very encouraging and I believe he can do it again. He seems to thrive when people doubt him, so keep doing it! Ha!
The Nets have Dallas' beloved Jason Eugene Terry playing for them this year. I know he's been hurt a little, but what has his role been when healthy and how has he looked?
It's really been a bit minimal to be honest. He gets his burn, but with the way that Shaun Livingston has played, as well as having Alan Anderson's defense, Terry isn't really called on much for significant minutes or to have as significant a role as he had when he was on the Mavs. I wouldn't be surprised, however, IF the Nets make the playoffs that Terry makes a bit more of an impact then. He's just one of those types of players that likes a big stage and has the cojones to be a goat or hero.
Obviously the KG/Pierce/Terry trade was big roster news this past summer for the Nets. But they're locked into a ton of money and the draft pick situation is not good. What does the future look like? Any young pieces to be excited about?
Who knows? No one ever thought that Joe Johnson's contract could be traded and it happened. Who would have thought the Nets could pull off the Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Terry trade? Basically, what I'm saying is, yes, they're locked into a lot of money, but Pierce becomes a free agent after this season, KG the season afterward. Brook Lopez is only 25. Personally, I think that Andray Blatche will re-sign this offseason as we own his Early Bird Rights then, and since he's still getting paid by the Washington Wizards, Dray, a 27-year-old talented enigma, will take less money from the Nets. Mason Plumlee looks like the typical athletic big man and he could be a good role player in the mold of a young Chris Anderson. I was a fan of Marquis Teague coming out of Kentucky, but thought he came out too early. He's only 20 and his older brother Jeff Teague also started his career slowly and look at him now. So, there are some young pieces currently on the roster. I'm just hoping that they're learning all they can from the vets right now while they're here.
What Mavericks player (other than Dirk) would you want to have on the Nets and why?
For nostalgia purposes, easily, Vince Carter.
For fantasy basketball nostalgia purposes, Shawn Marion. Matrix was a beast when he was on the Phoenix Suns!
For this season only, Samuel Dalembert because the Nets could use a big that can protect the rim. Plus, it would give KG more opportunities to rest and slide to the four, his more natural position.
For more than this season, Brandan Wright, a 26-year-old big with a career 20.0 PER! He hasn't been used as much, but a 21.6, 21.0 and 22.6 PER the past three years while with Dallas, as well as very solid O and D Ratings, yes, please! He'd make a nice addition to the frontcourt to complement Bropez's game and would fit in nicely in a four and five rotation along with Blatche.