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It appears the playoffs may be difficult to achieve for this year's Nets, but the team has put together some impressive wins (especially against the new and improved Eastern Conference) including wins against the Atlanta Hawks, Detroit Pistons, Boston Celtics (twice), Miami Heat, and Chicago Bulls. What was your takeaway with how the Nets were playing in those games? Do you think that level of play can become sustainable?
ND: The Nets have the capability of putting up a lot of points in a short amount of time, when the ball is moving and they’re knocking down the three ball. Sustainable? Unlikely. They’ve shown no signs of consistency on either ends of the ball. When they’ve beaten these good teams mentioned, it’s sort of a ‘once in a blue moon’ type of game in which they play a solid 48-minute game (or close to it). Unfortunately, you never know when it’s going to come again.
The Nets have some valuable trade assets on their current roster, including Joe Johnson’s expiring contract, who’s a previous All-star who could help make an almost-contender into a real deal-contender. Would you like to see them part ways with any of their current roster? If so, what would you look for in return (draft picks, strong players, salary cap space for future players)?
ND: Sure. I’d like to see them part ways with most of the roster besides guys like Brook Lopez & Thaddeus Young, along with the two rookies Rondae Hollis-Jefferson & Chris McCullough. If you can sell high on Young now, then maybe, but if they’re going to rely on free agency to get them out of this mess, Young is one of the few guys worthy of advertising. It's not as easy as it sounds with this team.
I can’t see Joe Johnson having any legitimate value without taking salary back. And that’s something the Nets should NOT do. They shouldn’t make any deals that might hurt their salary next season. Why mess things up during a season in which hope for the playoffs are already essentially gone? There are only a few guys on this team that (might) bring in a draft pick, a few of them, if any, are the guys I named above that they should keep in attempt to build for the future.
With Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young both putting together an impressive season, what types of players or system would you see ideal to complement their games?
ND: In today’s NBA, I’d like to see the powerful frontcourt of Lopez & Young surrounded by three-points shooters and an athletic wing. It looks like they’ve found the athletic defensive-minded wing in Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. Now if they can find some guys that have the ability to create mismatches on offense and force defenders to come out and defend the perimeter, the paint should open up for both Lopez & Young down low.
Although Deron Williams has played well this season with the Dallas Mavericks, is it an addition by subtraction scenario for the overall culture of the Brooklyn Nets?
ND: It’s hard to decipher whether the removal of D-Will was the right move at the moment. Williams is playing well on a playoff-caliber team in Dallas… and he’s having fun doing so. Sure the Nets players ‘get along’ and the culture is different, but what does that even mean when you’re one of the worst teams in the league? Doesn’t mean Williams would’ve made this mess much better, but until times get a little better in Brooklyn, it’s unfair to say the culture is much better. A losing culture is hardly a fun one.
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