Sports

In the end, the Nets didn’t have enough bullets

NEW YORK, NY– Although they were deep into the heart of Texas, the land of Cowboys and Indians the New Jersey Nets just didn’t have enough bullets. For all of the wondrous exploits of running and flying through the air displayed during the season… NEW YORK, NY– Although they were deep into the heart of Texas, the land of Cowboys and Indians the New Jersey Nets just didn’t have enough bullets. For all of the wondrous exploits of running and flying through the air displayed during the season and in the first couple of rounds in the playoffs, the moment of truth(s) came and went with bad results.

The Nets simply as presently constituted cannot shoot. Matter of fact, they’re a bit on the short side as well. Power forward Kenyon Martin who did a wonderful impersonation (former Nets forward Keith Van Horn must be laughing himself silly) of John Starks going a horrible 3 for 23 from the floor is not at all 6 foot 9. Spurs and league MVP, Tim Duncan at 6 foot 10, (he’s not 7 feet) simply towered over him. Getting those cheap tip in rebounds or the over the top rebounds that the refs swallowed their whistles on told a huge story. The Nets could not get those second chance rebounds that would have made the difference.

Coach Scott did the right thing in playing center Dikembe Mutumbo more minutes in this series than he did in the previous three, but why didn’t he try to match up with Duncan and retiring center and future Hall of Famer, David Robinson with Aaron Williams. This strategy would have been most necessary when Martin lost his head by picking up silly fouls. It seemed as though if Martin saw that he had fouls to play with he would immediately turn on the aggression meter and consequently lose control and put up fouls in bunches. Then he’d sit on the bench clad with a towel draped over his head almost akin to a perpetrator (on television) attempting to shield his face with his coat or shirt. What’s up with that?

The main difference in this series wasn’t Duncan or Kidd in my opinion. It was those unsung heroes that stepped up…Big Time! Take a look at Steve Kerr. Now if the Nets had either him, or a John Paxson type or even someone like a Dell Curry to just come in and specialize in shooting. We all know that the defense would suffer; and greatly. But, on the back end of a 6 to 9 point deficit at the closing minutes of a quarter or a game you know you’re just one or two shots from getting back into it. And that is just what kept happening, time and again. The Nets can be up 10 points, a few stops here and there, a few key rebounds lost and slew of 3-point shots and just like magic the score is either tied or the Spurs are down just one or two. Once that happened, the Nets’ confidence would wane then you could sense the momentum shifting.

What the Nets need to do is first and foremost roll out the Brinks truck for Kidd. Now, if something happened and he decided NOT to come back and he ended up with the Spurs and Duncan, then I would look to snatch point guard Tony Parker. Sure you’re going to lose much with the subtraction of Kidd, but you would gain youth in the up and coming Parker.

Aside from Kidd, the Nets need a dead-eye shooter. I would look at the draft for one of the young and hungry but, ultra talented, especially in the shooting department International players. There will be plenty to choose from. And this is after the higher profile names are off the board.

This year’s crop of talent is turning into a deep draft. You will be able to find gold in the late first and or second rounds.

GAME NOTES: How much money do you think free agent Speedy Claxton has earned himself with his stellar play in the finals? Claxton was playing crucial minutes for coach Gregg Popovich’s crew while Parker stayed attached to the bench. You think the Knicks or Nets could use a talent like that? Afterall, Claxton is a local kid out of the College of Hostra by way of Christ the King.

Please send your comments to: JLHOOVER@BLACKATHLETE.COM

June 16, 2003
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