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All Things New Jersey NETS Basketball

Friday, February 27, 2004

InterNETS by Bruce S. Griffith

IMPROVING UPON NEAR PERFECTION

In an Associated Press story read in espn.com pages, RON MERCER has been released by the SAN ANTONIO SPURS. For NETS fans, now is the opportunity to add on to this team for the stretch run. Could you imagine RON MERCER, and VIN BAKER on the NETS bench? Include these 2 players next to RODNEY ROGERS, LUCIOUS HARRIS and AARON WILLIAMS and the NETS could definetely beat some teams in the West. The only question is this, is ROD THORN thinking the same thing that I am thinking? If you could improve the depth for the bench, variety at the Shooting Guard position in RON MERCER, and 6 more fouls and offensive and defensive prowess in the 6-11 VIN BAKER, wouldn't that catapult the NETS into the top 2 teams in the league power rankings? I think that it would given the woes of the NETS Bench, even in the recent past according to STEVE POPPER of the NEW YORK TIMES. If ROD THORN chooses to stay pat with the roster as it is now he will be making a huge mistake.

I know that some readers may be thinking "why am I freaking out after losing only one game against probably the number one or two ranked power position team (according to MARC STEIN of espn.com) in the league against MINNESOTA on Wednesday night?" Well I don't necessarily think that I am freaking out, but the NETS went into this season thinking that ALONZO MOURNING would be patroling the middle and that LUCIOUS HARRIS would come back from injury and be his old self, and that RODNEY ROGERS could give the NETS more of his 6th Man of the Year performances. Well of late ROGERS has been coming along, HARRIS hits the occasional clutch shot and MOURNING is retired. However, some members of the NETS bench have played much better under LAWRENCE FRANK, as BRAD PARKS incluedes and explains his theory on the FRANKENNETS. Unfortunately, there have also been moments when the bench has relinquished leads and put undue pressure on the starters, like in the game against TORONTO on Tuesday in the 4th Quarter where the starters probably thought that their night was over. They then had to re-enter the game, and expend energy that they could have used against MINNESOTA the next night(which just happened to be a Back-to-Back game). The NETS then went on to fade in the 4th quarter against TROY HUDSON and the rest of the T-WOLVES and ended the NETS streak as told by STEVE ADAMEK of northjersey.com. If the NETS could procure these two players, BAKER and MERCER, the NETS could beat any team in the west, which is in direct opposition to what writers like DAVID ALDRIDGE of espn.com claims about no East team being able to beat a West team. It is extremely important to go into the playoffs with as much firepower as possible, and making these moves would give the NETS the type players they need without giving up something via trades which the NETS could not afford to give up on their players who were tradable commodities at the trade deadline last week.

Speaking of improving the team, the NETS released EDDIE GRIFFIN according to nj.com. Hopefully this clears the way to sign VIN BAKER.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

InterNETS by Bruce S. Griffith

IF IT AIN'T BROKE..., TINKER!

Some people and sports pundits will point to last nights 81-68 loss to the MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES as exhibit A as to why the NETS biggest accomplishment this season can be nothing more than making the Finals, and that they have no shot against any of the top 5 WESTERN CONFERENCE teams. I for one tend to disagree. I think that the NETS have almost all of the ingredients to win the title, except for two. One is depth, and the second is having the ability to play big against the likes of NESTEROVIC and DUNCAN, O'NEAL & MALONE, GARNETT & OLOWAKANDI, and MILLER, DIVAC & WEBBER in the Finals. The first move that the NETS need to make is to pick up DION GLOVER after his release on February 25th, Wednesday night from the ATLANTA HAWKS according to realgm.com. GLOVER would be the perfect compliment to the NETS backcourt for the stretch run(GLOVER's stats courtesy of usatoday.com)

My solution for improving at the CENTER/POWER FORWARD position is to sign VIN BAKER as soon as the ruling between the League and the Players Association comes down in regards to BAKER's ability to sign with another team without it affecting his ability to receive the money the CELTICS owe him in his contract termination dispute according to DAVE D'ALESSANDRO of the STAR LEDGER. If ROD THORN could add GLOVER & BAKER to the 8 man rotation that LAWRENCE FRANK plays I think that the NETS would win the title. Making BAKER & GLOVER the 9th and 10th men on the bench couldn't hurt the chemistry, it could only help.

FIREWORKS over HUDSON

Lost in the details of the TROY HUDSON explosion in the 4th quarter is that despite the NETS inability to get to the line throughout the entire game reports BRAD PARKS of the STAR LEDGER, the score was 60-58 before HUDSON had a playoff flashback from last season. Lost in the details of the NETS Collapse was the superb game that KENYON MARTIN had against the frontrunner for the League MVP, KEVIN GARNETT. Lost in the details was the combined shooting efforts of KIDD & JEFFERSON who went 5 for 20 and 5 for 19 respectively. The bench gave the NETS nothing and there was nowhere else to go. This is why I insist that ROD THORN go after DION GLOVER and VIN BAKER this week!

McDYESS back in the TRI-State area

It seems that ANTONIO McDYESS misses the style of play that JASON KIDD gave him in the 1997-1998 season according to FRANK ISOLA of the NEW YORK DAILY NEWS. It is rumored that if McDYESS has a good ending of the season that he would seek the $5 million Exception to play with the NETS, but others think that he may have to sttle for the Veteran's Minimum of $1.1 million.

Loving LAWRENCE FRANK

I love to hear LAWRENCE FRANK in the press conferences as he breaks the game down. He has the game of coach speak down to a science, and he is cool under the pressure of the media looking for him to say something that might be self absorbed or disrespectful of the other team. The media had a chance last night to see LAWRENCE FRANK as they had never seen him before, after a loss. Expecting FRANK to blame the officials for the lack of the free throw line attempts or blaming his players for their poor shooting, FRANK spread the blame around and took on a significant amount of blame for the loss. I think that Young Coach FRANK will be the right guy to lead the NETS for a number of years. Of course it remains to be seen how FRANK will react in his first game coaching after a loss. Also, let us not forget that the MIAMI HEAT game is the ultimate sandwich game, sandwiched between the T-WOLVES and the streaking LAKERS.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

InterNETS by Bruce S. Griffith

NETS 68, TIMBERWOLVES 81

The NETS don't have many places to go when the starters or the bench struggles. The streak is dead, but there is no need to fret. The NETS can hold their heads up high, but there can't be nights where you only make one free throw and only attempt 5. The streak was a great accomplishment, but the quality of opponent was not a good test to see if the NETS are playoff ready. Instead it was a confidence booster to make the NETS feel like one of the elite. Other than the DETROIT game which took them to 9 wins in a row, none of the teams up to that point in the streak had a better record than the NETS according to TERRY BROWN of espn.com. The games afterward against young and upcoming CLEVELAND, the RASHEED WALLACE-led HAWKS, THE JALEN ROSE/VINCE CARTER-less RAPTORS twice and the plummeting HORNETS posed no real threat.

Now the TIMBERWOLVES(courtesy of cbs.sportsline.com) have shown how to go about beating the NETS and now it is Coach FRANK's job to fix the 68 point scoring total that the WOLVES and no doubt other teams will try to force the NETS into. It is also ROD THORNS job now to go after VIN BAKER(who is being pursued by the KNICKS agressively, according to DAVE D'ALESANDRO of the STAR LEDGER) with a certain degree of agression. If the NETS can sign EDDIE GRIFFIN (courtesy of nj.com)to the team then there should be no problem signing VIN BAKER. VIN in NEW JERSEY would be the perfect fit. He could give backup at both the CENTER and POWER FORWARD spots. The NETS could give him the opportunity to get to the Finals and battle against the BIGS out west, and the NETS could give VIN the support and lessened pressure that he could probably use right now. If ROD THORN or someone in NETS Brass is reading this VIN BAKER comes available in a couple of days, and VIN could be the final piece to put the NETS over the top to get the ring. Mr. THORN make the move to get VIN BAKER on the team.

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