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The Nets have a cornerstone, now the building starts

Feb 25, 2011, 3:58 PM EDT

Deron Williams presser Getty Images

There is — for the first time in recent memory — a palpable buzz about a New Jersey Nets game Friday.

That’s what bringing in a superstar can do. And the Nets got a superstar in Deron Williams. Knicks fans flip out at the idea, but the Nets got the better player, they bested the Knicks in deadline trades. Not the bigger name, not the better pure scorer, but the Nets got the better player. The better defender, the better guy at setting up teammates and lifting them up, the better leader.

Now they have to keep him. What the Knicks are is further along in the rebuilding process.

The Nets just got a cornerstone, but they are just starting out building. There is a lot to do. They are not contenders, they are not even good yet.

The first step is to see if the arrival of Williams elevates Brook Lopez. He was the guy touted as a building block who this season has regressed, coming into camp off a bout of mononucleosis and looking like he was playing with it all season (he has been better the last couple weeks). He also seems to have a natural allergic reaction to rebounding. He’s got a big bag of offensive skills, he could be dangerous on the 1/5 pick-and-roll with Williams, but his game has got to continue on the arc it was the past few seasons, not the one from the first half of this season. And mix in a few boards.

That’s two spots. Two key spots. But the rest of the roster… needs some work, let’s say.

Anthony Morrow could be a quality starting two who teams have to cover out at the arc. After that, Lakers cast-offs Jordan Farmar and Sasha Vujacic are backups on a good team. Pretty much as you go down the line these are guys you want coming off the bench. If you want them coming in at all.

The good news is the Nets have picks and a lot of cap room (how much depends on what the new collective bargaining agreement looks like), they are in a good position to remake this roster. D-Will is an attraction, but the feeling will be that free agents will not want to come unless Williams commits to a longer deal, and Williams will not want to commit to a longer deal unless the free agents come.

There is a lot of work to do. But the Nets took a big first step. They should celebrate and enjoy the buzz tonight. Then get to work. Because there is a lot to do.

  1. yankeesjetsknicksrangers - Feb 25, 2011 at 4:35 PM

    Yea they will celebrate tonight, celebrate another double digit loss. We will see how long he could stomach that along with an empty arena.

    My guess is that he will be dealt this time next year because he won’t sign an extension.

  2. leearmon - Feb 25, 2011 at 5:04 PM

    I honestly do not understand you sometimes Kurt. I’ve thought in the past that maybe i’m too sensitive. Maybe as a Knick fan I am a little too harsh when a writer is being even a little critical of my beloved team. And maybe, just maybe you could be correct in your opinion of the squad. This article however, squashes all doubt. “The better defender” Exactly what stats can you show that Deron Williams is a good defender, let alone a “better” defender than ‘Melo? I asked you to write an article about Williams’ defense two days ago and it still hasn’t appeared. So maybe you need some help. The other day I showed the numbers over their entire careers as to who was the better defender. It was clear, that although both were poor, Melo was still the better of the two on defense. Today I’ll show you the numbers of just this year.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&p1=anthoca01&y1=2011&p2=willide01&y2=2011

    Again its quite obvious, Melo is the better defensive player. Will you ever show any evidence as to how you came to the conclusion that Williams is better? And also I believe I’ve seen at least two articles about how poor of a defensive player Carmelo Anthony is, will there ever be one about Williams? Maybe its too difficult for you to write, but if not you come across as someone who either is a Nets fan, or a writer who is overly critical of a team with a rabid fanbase to get higher page views because the substance of his writing can’t do the job.

    Im not trying to be overly critical of Williams. He is, IMHO the second best PG in the league behind Paul. Im just trying to back up my opinion with actual facts. Also him being a better “leader” is up for debate. As his issues with Hall of fame coach Jerry Sloan this year would show, and if he had issues with Sloan, what do you think will happen with the little general?

    As for Brook, are you honestly blaming a disease most teenagers get in high school as the reason for Lopez’s poor play? Again I’ve said it before, he is the modern day version of Eddy Curry…

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=lopezbr01&y1=2011&p2=curryed01&y2=2007

    Would you have considered Curry a “key spot” back in 07? The “arc” you speak of when referring to Lopez’s career is the same one that Curry was on. Lets hope he stays away from certain limo drivers….

    I hope the Nets return to a successful franchise. Prokhorov is good for the league, and a genuine rivalry between the two teams would only enhance an already intriguing Eastern Conference. But this “buzz” you speak of regarding the Nets is somewhat of a joke. Williams has always been an elite player, but never a big national draw. Maybe a change of scenery will change that, but New Jersey can’t bother themselves with that, as they have to work on getting Williams to sign his extension.

    • leearmon - Feb 25, 2011 at 9:11 PM

      Is there a reason my comments always seem to be blocked? I wrote my first post at 5:04pm. Im now writing this at 9:09pm. Could you please fix this? Thanks in advance.

    • bigfootcomblog - Feb 27, 2011 at 8:24 AM

      Thank you Lee. Kurt never uses any facts to back up his claims, especially when the Knicks are involved. Kurt, your hatred for the Knicks makes me sick, and prevents your biased blog from ever being anything more than an NBA rag.

      • Kurt Helin - Feb 27, 2011 at 11:40 AM

        Just for the record, I like the Knicks. I think it’s good for the game and the league that they have become relevant again. I think they are going to be entertaining.

  3. henryd3rd - Feb 25, 2011 at 8:45 PM

    Before you folks celebrate the acquisition of Williams remember that he was traded to the Nets without signing an extension. A whole lot of smiles will turn to frowns if he chooses to sign else where, i.e., Dallas, NYC or that little town in California, LA. Mr. Pro in NJ may want to sell that team.

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