When Vince Carter admitted half-assing it in Toronto, the Raptors were quick to pull the trigger. Then he gave himself, Jason Kidd and Richard Jefferson one of the best trios in the NBA, and launched them into the playoffs. At 9-9 they lead their division, but is it by default?.So far the stars are playing like they should.
Jason Kidd is off to a far better start than last year, not surprising with Carter to pass to. Nenad Krstic plays like Arvydas Sabonis light and can hit the midrange jumper. He can be developed into a very productive player. Carter and Jefferson fill up the stat sheet including rebounding.
One thing they did in the offseason was filling up the bench by adding Lamond Murray and Jeff McInnis. New Jersey has done a great job attacking the hoop and getting to the foul line, leading the League in Free-throw attempts. They were second to last in FG% last year and have improved that with Jefferson healthy for the year.
They still need to build at the Center position where Jason Collins still has a lot to learn. Collins is foul prone and gives way to Cliff Robinson taking over his spot. Before the season Shareef Abdur-Rahim had signed with team and was ready to start as the Power Forward, making the Nets an Eastern Contender. But he failed his physical.
The Nets could've signed him anyway but didn't, and thus there's a void where Krstic isn't playing.The Nets need to continue to push to regain the 2003 team that made the Finals. Jason Kidd isn't the fast-paced guard he was since his knee surgery, and allows New Jersey to play a half-court game instead. Kenyon Martin was able to run the floor and gave intensity to the frontcourt that Krstic and Collins currently don't have. Lucious Harris and Kerry Kittles could hit the 3, similar to how Johnson and Richardson could hit the 3 for the Suns last year.
New Jersey is at the bottom in 3P%.A team with Jason Kidd on it is always dangerous. The Nets are 6th in the NBA in Assists Per Game, but they only score 95.
2 PPG. Kidd can't provide everything for their Forwards/Centers, which is why Carter is such a valuable asset. He and Jefferson can create their own shot, but too often their offense is entirely drive and dish. They should be a contender throughout the season for the division lead, only if they're healthy. Kidd, Carter and Jefferson all get injured habitually, and just one could sink the Nets season..
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By: David Pincus