Sunday, September 30, 2012

Season-In-Review: Jordan Farmar

Ugh, I miss this guy already. What I don't miss? The empty seats behind him in this picture.
This post, along with the other posts I will do in the Season-In-Review series, will take a deeper look at how all the Nets did last season on the court and possibly off of it. We continue with Jordan Farmar. I covered Kris Humphries last.

March 7th, 2012. The game was just another run-of-the-mill Nets-Clippers game at the Prudential Center on a Wednesday night, except that it was one the Nets won. The game had the feel of many the Nets have played in recent years against playoff teams: They race ahead to a quick lead, but watch their lead slowly deteriorate as the game progresses. In this one, two Chris Paul free throws gave the Clips their first lead of the game with 8.9 seconds, putting them ahead 100-98. Then, magic happened.

Deron Williams sent a beautiful cross-court skip pass to Jordan Farmar who sunk a rainbow three-pointer with 0.2 seconds left to give the Nets their 13th win on the season and a signature win over one of the West's better teams. Farmar scored 16 points in 19 minutes of play in that game, something not completely out of the ordinary for the former Laker to do in his two seasons in Jersey.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Nets' Jersey Unveiled at Jay-Z Concert, Same As Leaked Ones

The stars, like new Dodgers co-owner and NBA legend, came out on Friday night for the official debut of the Barclays Center with Jay-Z show.
As was announced awhile ago, the Brooklyn Nets' jerseys for the 2012-13 season were unveiled during the official opening of the Barclays Center, by minority owner and rap star Jay-Z wearing a black Nets road uniform on stage.

The very jersey that Jay-Z wore last night was leaked a week ago by someone on the Internet and the simple, black-and-white design of the jersey, which is echoed in the look of the Barclays Center itself, sent ripples throughout the sports world. In today's modern world, a plain uniform design was deemed as unusual but granted, not much about the inception and development of the Brooklyn Nets franchise was usual. A Russian majority owner, a rap mogul minority owner, a groundbreaking case of eminent domain in New York City? Not all things that other franchises face, but things necessary for the Brooklyn Nets to become a thing.

Also, as noted in the first link above, last night's concert signaled the 1st time Brooklyn Nets jerseys were to be sold on and, as the new uni's became available soon after the concert was over. Last night marked a true milestone in the Nets' history as a franchise, as more milestones are soon to come in the upcoming weeks, with the team's 1st regular season game scheduled for just over a month from now.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

My Tour of the Barclays Center

As a season-ticket holder of the Nets (shared with my dad, as equally die-hard Nets fan as myself), my dad and I were able to participate in the 1st public tour of the Barclays Center on Monday. The arena's much-hyped ribbon-cutting event was on Friday, and not being able to attend that day, we figured that a tour would suffice. During my tour, which was awesome, I took a lot of pictures, ate a lot of food, and awed at the wondrous arena that was in the making for nine years before coming to fruition.

When I walked into the Barclays Center and saw the Nets new logo plastered everywhere, I knew that it had finally come true. This team was in Brooklyn and was to be relevant yet again. Below is my diary of sorts as to how my first visit to the Nets' state-of-the-art home went:

I took the train from Long Island with my dad to Brooklyn and it was a relatively pleasant ride, round-trip of about one hour and 20 minutes give or take a few. One of the first references I saw to the Barclays Center that I saw in the Atlantic Terminal after my train ride was this sign, and even though plain and in stock NYC mass transit font, it hit home for me that I wasn't going to the Meadowlands or Newark to see the Nets, I was going to Brooklyn and the Barclays Center.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Netlinked 9/21/12: Former Net and NBPA Vice President Keyon Dooling Retires

Ladies and gentlemen, I believe that is indeed a Jarvis Hayes sighting. Oh boy was that Nets team filled with veteran back-ups as starters.
A sad day in the NBA yesterday as veteran point guard and former Net Keyon Dooling retired from the league at the age of 32. Dooling, who was most recently with the Celtics, played 12 seasons in the league with six different teams after being drafted 10th overall in the 2010 NBA Draft by the Magic. Also, Dooling served as the secondhand man to NBA Players' Association President up until his retirement and the NBPA will certainly be scrambling to find a quick replacement that was as good a Vice President as Keyon was.

He only spent two years with the Nets, but in those two years, I grew fond of Dooling as a player and as the solid veteran presence he was on a team that wasn't too good at the time. I wish him well with his post-NBA life and hope he is as successful as his long career was.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

For All Intensive Purposes, Here Are Your New (Leaked) Brooklyn Nets Jerseys

I don't love the new threads, I really would like some gray on both the home and away uni's, but I really shouldn't complain. The black and white look is dominant and kinda intimidating, as if Reggie Evans on the glass wasn't enough.
I know they officially are supposed to be released to the public on September 28th, but this latest leak of the Brooklyn Nets' first jerseys, found by the great guys at NetsDaily, seems to be legit. We obviously won't know for sure if these are the real deal until the 28th, but work on the assumption that they are, considering a bunch of major basketball outlets and Nets sites ran the same leak earlier today. Welcome to your new franchise, Brooklyn Nets fans, these are our jerseys for the future and hopefully they bring us some winning luck. No more red alternates ever again.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Netlinked 9/18/12: Nets Fill Out Training Camp Roster, Jordan Williams Waived by Hawks

In order to fill up their training camp roster at 18 players, the Nets have signed three players to non-guaranteed contracts. Guard Stephen Dennis and forwards James Mays and Carleton Scott were signed by the team yesterday. Dennis went to Kutztown University, Mays went to Clemson, and Scott, a member of the Nets' 2012 Summer League team, is a Notre Dame grad. None of these guys are expected to play a significant role and/or even make the roster coming out of training camp but they do add some sort of depth if needed to perform in some capacity for the Nets this year. I've never personally seen Dennis play but from what I've seen of Mays and Scott, they are both guys who have decent scoring skill and can perform the intangibles needed to be valuable to a NBA team.

And finally, in sad news relating to former Nets, the Atlanta Hawks have requested waivers on Jordan Williams, the power forward from the University of Maryland who was sent to Atlanta from the Nets as part of the Joe Johnson deal. As someone who personally roots for Maryland sports, I'm very upset with the Hawks and frankly, don't understand the move from a basketball perspective for Atlanta. J-Will isn't making much money and showed at the end of last season that he's a serviceable big-man back-up who a depth-starved team like the Hawks could probably use.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Shot Analysis: Deron Williams

Deron's performance has been kinda uneven with the Nets, but he certainly had his bright spots this season.
This is the 1st series I'm doing analyzing shot charts of the more important Nets (sans Brook Lopez because of his limited play last year) and how they fared from the field last season. We start off with the player at the helm of the Nets, Deron Williams.

For these 'Shot Analysis' posts that I'll do, I'll be using statistical support from a new (at least to me) site called that has shot charts from the last two seasons for every NBA player. Pretty cool, huh? The chart below is Deron's from last season, his first one with a significant amount of games being played with the Nets.
As you can see, Deron took most of his non-layup shots behind the 3-point line along the wing. 31% from the left and nearly 40% from the right sides of the wing are each pretty good percentages for a passing-first point guard. However, D-Will's shooting accuracy faded significantly on threes taken in either corner and from right at the top-center of the arc. 

Season-In-Review: Kris Humphries

The 72-day marriage of these two was maybe the only reason anyone talked about the Nets last season in a situation not regarding Benedict, Dwight Arnold? Ok, I give up, Dwight Howard.
This post, along with the other posts I will do in the Season-In-Review series, will take a deeper look at how all the Nets did last season on the court and possibly off of it. We continue with the ex-husband of Kim Kardashian, Kris Humphries. Marshon Brooks was covered last.

I can't believe it! OMG! Kris was soooo mean to Kim!!.....Whoops, forgot that Kris Humphries is a basketball player too and not just some caption in People Magazine.

Humphries' 2011-12 season was overshadowed--somewhat ridiculously--because of his failed marriage to a member of the least talented family in the US, the Kardashians! Hump was booed in the first half of the season at nearly every road arena the Nets played in last season and even sometimes at the Prudential Center too for his involvement and eventual divorce with the with reality TV star. No, seriously, that's something that actually happened. This isn't one of those absurd hypothetical situations that Bill Simmons dreamed up.

Pop culture aside, Kris (Humphries, not Jenner) had his best season during his NBA career in the 2011-12 year, putting up career-highs in points (13.8 per game), rebounds (11 per), assists (1.5 per), and blocks (1.2 per). Hump's career season is just yet another peak in his career with the Nets, which started in 2010 after being traded to New Jersey from Dallas with Shawne "Extra-E" Williams for Eduardo Najera. Prior to joining the team, Kris bounced around the Jazz, Raptors, and Mavs organizations, serving a limited role and not providing much value on the court and in the box score to those teams.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Season-In-Review: Marshon Brooks

Marshon certainly hads swagger that goes through the roof, but will his potential and on-court performance do the same this season?
This post, along with the other posts I will do in the Season-In-Review series, will take a deeper look at how all the Nets did last season on the court and possibly off of it. We continue with Marshon Brooks. I covered Gerald Green last.

Ah, Marshon Brooks, the most swagged-out Net remaining on the squad, holding the sole title since DeShawn Stevenson was traded to the Hawks. The 25th overall pick in the 2011 Draft, acquired by the Nets during the draft from Boston for the 27th overall pick (JaJuan Johnson) and a future 2nd-rounder, turned out to be one of the few bright spots for the team last season and showed an inane ability to score the ball. Whether that be from beyond the 3-point arc, via the mid-range jumper, or even an acrobatic scoop-to-the-hoop down low, it didn't matter. The simple truth is that Marshon can score points in the NBA, a talent that he certainly showed during his college years at Providence, most notably in a 52-point performance against Notre Dame.

Ok, I may be fawning a little too much over a guy that doesn't play a whole bunch of defense and might have the worst shot selection in the NBA after Johan Petro of course. However, I don't care because the most important aspect of Brooks' rookie year wasn't that he scored 12 points per or showed he can make shots from anywhere on the court, it was that, as a rookie, he had the confidence heading into his inaugural season in the NBA that he could score from anywhere on the floor.

In basketball, confidence is ridiculously important in order for a player to realize their true potential. If a 6-8, 250-pound tank of a power forward has no confidence in his ability to make a free throw, then they're is a very little chance that he will drive to the paint a lot, greatly decreasing his value as a big-man with no regard to his solid build or even out-of-this-world athletic talents. Without confidence, a NBA player is only as good as his limitations allow him to be, not as good as his true skills or athleticism would suggest.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hello Josh Childress, Goodbye Damion James

The Nets traded up to get James in with the 24th pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. He showed some promise with the team but just couldn't stay healthy long enough to make an impact. Yet another Nets draft pick to not turn out and another Nets player to head to Atlanta this offseason. On the bright side, he fit all the trends!
It looks like the Nets' roster for training camp might be actually filled out now. After some rumors that there was mutual interest and a potential workout was set up, veteran wingman Josh Childress has indeed signed a one-year, partially-guaranteed contract with the Nets and will be the 2nd player picked up by the Nets this offseason that had been amnestied by their old team. Of course, the other is former Wizard and current headcase, Andray Blatche.

As I said a few days ago, I don't really see the need for a player like Childress on the Nets but he's another low-risk, medium-reward signing by Billy King, who is becoming shockingly shrewd late in the off-season after saying "YOLO" with the first few moves he made after the 2011-12 season.

Another little tidbit of info regarding former Nets is that 2010 1st-rounder Damion James has signed with the Hawks after the Nets did not renew his rookie contract this offseason. As you all probably remember, we got James (24th overall) from, ironically, the Hawks for the 27th overall pick (Jordan Crawford) and the 31st overall pick (Tibor Pleiss).

James, a former standout at the University of Texas, played pretty well for the Nets in just 32 games over his two seasons with the team. However, constant injuries (32 games in two years is pretty bad) and the numbers game with this roster just left him with no place on this year's incarnation of your Brooklyn Nets.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Netlinked 9/11/12: Dominic McGuire Signs With Toronto and The Barclays Center's Court is Unveiled

This would be the nicest court in the NBA by far. Photo credit:
 We've got another jampacked Netlinked today on Brooklyn Balling with some good news and some bad news. We'll start off with the bad news first:

Dominic McGuire, whom the Nets were reportedly going to work out, has signed a partially-guaranteed training camp deal with the Raptors, our division rivals to the north. As I wrote a few days ago, McGuire would have been a nice fit with this Nets' team, a team without many rebounders or defensive specialists, two niches that McGuire fills.

Moving on,  a much-awaited milestone in the construction of the Barclays Center was completed today as the Nets' home court for the 2012-13 season and beyond was finalized and unveiled today (link has pictures!). As everything with the Brooklyn Nets has been so far, the court is certainly unconventional andis what is known as herringbone-patterned, a term I looked up on Wikipedia and found to mean "an arrangement of rectangles used for floor tilings and road pavement".

It's definitely unique and as CEO Brett Yormark said in the link above, it has the chance to be iconic as a floor design, similarly to the parquet floor that is so recognizable at the TD Garden in Boston.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Netlinked 9/8/12: Nets Reportedly To Workout Josh Childress and Dominic McGuire

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Nets, in their constant and seemingly never-ending quest to fill out their roster, will hold a workout with veterans Dominic McGuire and Josh Childress.

McGuire, a 6-9 forward who was most recently with the Warriors, looks like a better fit to the Nets' roster as is because he's defense-oriented, a trait that is certainly in high demand with this team. Looking at his career, per 36-minutes stats, they are actually pretty good. 6.4 points, 7.9 boards, and 1.3 blocks per 36 minutes are solid stats for a cheap, role-player who has been with bad teams and strictly garbage-time minutes throughout most of his career. On a potential contender like the Nets,  McGuire could shine in a limited role, and most importantly, won't demand a big contract.

Childress is a veteran shooting guard who was amnestied by the Suns in July, with $20 million left on the originally 5-year deal he signed with Phoenix prior to the 2011-12 season. As most of you know, Childress, the 6th pick overall in the 2004 Draft by the Hawks, isn't much of a defender at this point in his career and probably would just be a shooter off the bench for Avery Johnson if he makes the Nets out of training camp.

I don't really understand the Nets' interest in Childress who we really don't have a need for, but, on the other hand, I love the McGuire possibility. He's a hard-nosed, very good defender and rebounder who would give the Nets full effort in the 5-10 minutes a game he would play. If he's the 15th man on our roster for the upcoming season, I think this Nets team will be pretty set to navigate the tough Atlantic Division in their debut Brooklyn season.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Netlinked 9/6/12: Sending Off Sundy Gaines to Indy

The zero on Sundiata's jersey certainly wasn't representing his effort level, but his shooting level? Quite possibly.
On today's edition of Netlinked, we look at how the Indiana Pacers have yet again poached away a free agent Net. After signing Gerald Green in July, Indy has signed Queens native Sundiata Gaines to a minimum contract with an invitation to training camp, similar to the deal the Nets gave Andray Blatche a few days ago. Gaines, a gritty 6-1 point guard, spent the last two seasons with the Nets and played a total of 67 games, averaging 5.2 points, nearly 2 boards, and 2.3 assists per game.

However, Sundy's contribution to the Nets was mainly in the defensive aspect of the game where he was  major pest and ballhawk, sticking with the better offensive players in the NBA when tasked with guarding them. Averaging nearly a steal per contest, Gaines, who the Nets picked up from the D-League in February 2011, was able to cause many turnovers in his limited playing time that often led to fast-break points for the Nets, a rare stat for the team to come by since Vince Carter and Jason Kidd were traded away years ago.

Like Gerald Green, we wish Sundy the best with the Pacers and hope he's put in an environment and role where his attributes can be better used as his skill set doesn't really help a bottom-feeder like the Nets that much. He is able to produce so much more when on a winning, playoff team, shown by the contributions (mainly this shot) he made to the Utah Jazz in 2009-10, when they made it to the postseason.

On another note, the Pacers also signed guard/forward Sam Young and point guard Blake Ahearn to similar contracts as they did with Sundiata. Young was rumored to have some interest in the Nets this offseason but, obviously nothing came out of that.

Nets and Andray Blatche Agree to One-Year Minimum, Non-Guaranteed Deal

According to Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears, the Nets and Andray Blatche, a player that has been linked to the team for a few days now, have agreed in principle to a 1-year deal. The contract, which isn't guaranteed and is for the veteran's minimum, is nothing more than an invitation to training camp meaning that the signing doesn't make the Nets commit to anything with Blatche; if he plays well during camp and the preseason, then he'll stick with the team. If not, he'll be cut and the Nets won't be on the hook for major money owed to the veteran forward.

As I wrote on Monday night, Blatche is a nice, low-risk medium-reward replacement for Donte Green. Since it appears that the injury he suffered a few weeks back is more serious than previously believed, it looks like his deal with the Nets will probably not get done. Blatche is an apt-enough back-up 4 for Kris Humphries and Brook Lopez to rely on when they exit the game. While he may not have the best work ethic and/or drive, the former Wizard is really athletic and can score and rebound very well, as he was a starter for a few seasons in the nation's capital.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Season-In-Review: Gerald Green

Gerald, we hope the Pacers and their fans like your dunking ability, because us Nets fans certainly miss it
This post, along with the other posts I will do in the Season-In-Review series, will take a deeper look at how all the Nets did last season on the court and possibly off of it. We continue with the upstart Gerald Green. I covered Gerald Wallace last.

Gerald Green was rescued from the NBA D-League's Los Angeles D-Fenders by the Nets on February 27th, 2012, and the swing-man never looked back. Originally, the Nets, an injury-depleted mess of a team, were just looking for any small forward who could go into games and simply not be terrible. With a low-risk, 10-day contract, the Nets signed Green to fill that role and oh boy did the Nets get some return for their investment.

After his first 10-day contract with the team, Gerald signed another 10-day and then eventually signed on with New Jersey for the rest of the season after showing the coaching staff that he was one of, if not the best, healthy Nets players on the court at some points in the condensed 2011-12 campaign.Green is most notable around the NBA for winning the 2007 Slum Dunk Contest while a member of the Celtics, in his first go-around of the NBA.

Gerald has absurd athleticism and hops, which is what the Nets were assuredly lacking of last year and is what he brought to the team last season, capped off by a crazy, alley-hoop windmill jam he threw down against the Rockets in March. However, the former 1st-round pick of Boston brought much more to New Jersey after the All-Star break than just his dunking ability, he displayed an incredibly well-rounded repertoire in his game that simply wasn't present in the five seasons he was in the NBA before heading overseas and to the D-League.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Netlinked 9/4/12: It's Too Early To Call the Nets A True Part of Brooklyn

This is a sign many Nets will see when they head from the Barclays Center after games back to wherever they reside for the season; be that in New Jersey, Manhattan, or anywhere else for that matter.
New Nets beat-writer for the New York Times, Howard Beck, published an interesting piece in today's paper about how the Nets need time to truly become a fabric of Brooklyn's very complex and interesting culture. He cites how no Nets plan to live in Brooklyn during this upcoming season as many will chose to be closer to the team's current practice facility, the PNY Center in East Rutherford, NJ, the same place the team has practiced since they played at the nearby Izod Center.

It is for this reason that Beck says that until the Nets establish a brand-new practice facility in Brooklyn itself (sites in the borough as being visited by the Nets' front office currently), no one on the team will live in Brooklyn thus distancing the Nets from the borough they represent. It's an interesting point nailed down by the final lines of the article:
Brooklyn seems ready to adopt the Nets. It may be a while before the Nets adopt Brooklyn.
I haven't thought of this before, the fact that the Nets' only true current connection to Brooklyn is where they play and what's on the front of their jerseys. However, that idea will probably become naught in the upcoming seasons when the Nets start to practice in Brooklyn and develop legitimate roots in the storied borough. And when that happens, it's gonna be even more fun and exciting to be a Nets fan than it is now.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Andray Blatche Becomes Latest Player to Be Linked to Nets; Will Meet With Avery Johnson in Houston

Blatche was amnestied this offseason by the Wizards to shed themselves of his $23 million contract, making him a nice, low-risk potential addition for the Nets
According to the New York Times, amnestied Wizards power forward Andray Blatche and Nets' coach Avery Johnson, are scheduled to meet in Houston in the upcoming days to gauge each parties' interest in a potential training camp contract. Since the Nets' acquisition of Donte Greene ended up stalling, the team has an open roster spot for a power forward/center with some size, and Blatche fills that mold.

When healthy, the 6'11'' 26-year old has proven that he can provide decent to good scoring and rebounding numbers, posting careers averages of 15.7 points and 8.6 rebound per 36 minutes respectively. Honestly, with a guy that has Blatche's talent, there is almost no risk for the Nets to bring him aboard for training camp and beyond.

He doesn't have to play 20 minutes a night; he can just sub in occasionally to give the starters or higher reserves a blow when needed and can help out on the boards and maybe score some points in his action. With a roster as filled out as the Nets' is, having another player who has shown he can effective in the NBA can never hurt, and is a low-risk, medium-reward transaction. Of course, you can't go wrong with one of those.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

After Breaking Ankle, Donte Greene's Deal With The Nets Stalls

Looks like Donte Greene won't be a Net as soon as we thought he would be. It's being reported (and has been for a few days) that the former King needs surgery for a fractured ankle he received while playing in a pick-up game last week in Charlotte. Just more wonderful injury news for the Nets, as we certainly haven't had much of it in recent years (snickers bitterly).

This recent development has led Billy King to look around the free agent pool for a suitable alternative Greene, who, it's important to note, could still very much end up a Net but with his timetable unknown, nothing is for certain right now.

Names are being floated around the Nets right now by the usual assortment of "insiders" (no, you suck Chris Broussard, you taint actual NBA insiders everywhere) and beat writers, but nothing is even close to happening right now.

Just stay tuned to Brooklyn Balling and we'll update you on both Greene's contract situation and Billy King's  search for a potential replacement for him. However, know that it won't be Hilton Armstrong, who signed with Panathinaikos in Greece a few days ago.