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Previewing the New Jersey Nets With Mark Ginocchio of Nets Are Scorching


As always when the Magic and the Nets get together, Mark Ginocchio of Nets Are Scorching and I traded questions in order to get a better feel for each team heading into Friday’s night game in New Jersey.

Click below to see Mark’s answers.

1. The Nets have only six wins. How have the players, the fans, the coaches and even the writers dealt with the situation this season? How has ownership reacted? Will we see any other odd promotions?

"This has been especially tough. I’ve been a Nets fan for a long time, so it’s not like I haven’t dealt with terrible seasons before, but this one feels especially painful. Maybe it has a lot to do with all the changes on the horizon – the new owner, the move to Brooklyn, the draft and FA this summer – because it feels like the Nets are stuck in some kind of purgatory where the players and fans are just getting tortured, but ownership/front office keeps trying to remind us that “better times” are ahead. Maybe. I definitely give the beat writers credit. Guys like Al Iannazzone (The Record), Dave D’Alessandro (Star-Ledger), Julian Garcia (Daily News) and Fred Kerber (NY Post) are trying their damndest to get new angles and interesting profiles about a 6-win team that makes the same mistakes almost every night and has no chemistry. We try to do the same at Nets Are Scorching, but honestly, how many different ways can you say that Yi Jianlian can’t play defense, Brook Lopez needs the ball in the post more and Kiki Vandeweghe has no business being a head coach of a professional basketball team?As for promotions – this “Nets will do your taxes” thing, will probably be the last. As embarassing as these promotions are, they do get press coverage, which means they probably do their job somewhat, in bringing attention to a team no one seems to want to support anymore up in the swamps of Jersey."

2. The Nets are contending for the worst record of all time but it looks like they have some nice players in place with Devin Harris and Brook Lopez, among others. What’s the general consensus on the future? Is there excitement over the fact that the Nets could potentially land the #1 pick and have money to spend?

"If the Nets don’t end up with one of the top two draft picks (John Wall or Evan Turner), I think it’s going to be devastating to the forward progress of this organization. Yes, there’s some decent depth in this year’s draft, and I think the Nets could get a nice piece if they slip to the #3 or #4 pick, but Wall and Turner are the draws right now for free agents. There’s even been some buzz that LeBron could be drawn to the Nets if they land Wall. I don’t necessarily believe that, but there’s defintely a perception that the Nets have to add at least one more impact player to their Lopez/Harris duo to be even the least bit attractive to this year’s free agent class. After the trade deadline, a lot more teams freed up space to get after second tier guys, which means it’s going to take more than just money to attract FAs. The fact that the Nets are going to move to Newark on an interim basis, before Brooklyn in two years, is a good first step, but there needs to be more than just Devin Harris and Brook Lopez as part of this team’s core. I think Courtney Lee and Terrence Williams are keepers as part of the rotation, and I have a soft spot for Kris Humphries as an energy guy off the bench, but I have serious question about the long-term viability of guys like Yi, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Jarvis Hayes and so on. Yi especially, just doesn’t seem to have learned anything in his three NBA season. When he came back from injury in December, he started taking it to the hoop more, much to the surprise of defenders, but once they scouted it out, he reverted back to the 30% shooter who has bad footwork, stone hands, and has at least one key defensive lapse in crunch time a night."

3. Courtney Lee has had an up-and-down sophomore season but he was playing much better before he injured his ankle last week. What is Lee’s status for Friday night’s game? How do you feel Lee has progressed this season?

"I wouldn’t be shocked to see Lee sit another game. Lee this season has a penchant for getting what looks to be minor injuries and needed more time than you’d expect. That’s not a knock on Lee mind-you, but I just don’t think “day-to-day” applies to him.With that said, I think Lee is finally starting to settle in on the Nets. His three-point percentage has gone up every month this season, and he shot about 40% in Febraury, along with 15.5 points, which is good enough for me, given my preseason expectations for Courtney. I just don’t think he’s ever going to be a “star” in this league. I think people saw what happened to Devin Harris last season when he joined the Nets and thought Lee would follow-suit and it just doesn’t work that way. Heck, it didn’t even work that way for Harris, as his numbers are back down to his Dallas-levels this season. I can very easily see Lee as an effective sixth man in this league if the Nets beef-up their swingmen in the draft/FA this summer, or he could be the starting SG on a team where there’s big talent at the other 4 spots (like in Orlando last year). He’s really not consistent enough to be considered a potential third option on offense, but that’s okay."

Thanks to Mark for taking the time to answer my questions.

Mark and Sebastian Pruiti do a fantastic job at Nets Are Scorching so check out all of their work.

You can see my answers to Mark’s questions here.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and a contributor at NFL Mocks Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Twitter to follow him daily and you can get the HTD app here).