Friday, February 29, 2008

The Dawn of the Devin Harris Era

You had to know it was coming ... yes, it's a post celebrating Devin Harris' triumphant debut as a member of the New Jersey Nets.

Despite not getting the start (and how long will Lawrence Frank stubbornly keep Marcus Williams in as the starter?), Harris turned in a beauty last night. He came off the bench in a tie game and promptly rattled of a 10-1 run to close the quarter and when he left in the second, the Nets were up 15.

He scored 21 points, hit three jumpers from downtown, threw down a massive dunk in traffic, consistently split the double team, got his team playing at a fast pace, and, well, basically did all the things he's always done and received so little credit for. It was impressive enough that the Nets fans started chanting "Dev-in Har-ris!" during the last few minutes of the game. Oh, and New Jersey scored a season-high (by far) 120 points in a victory over Milwaukee.

If you are tired of hearing me rave about Devin Harris, then I have good news and bad. The bad is that I'm not going to stop. The good is that for the remainder of this post, at least, I'm going to expand those raves to his entire team. That's right, folks, I'm about to heap praise on the New Jersey Nets. Buckle your seat belts.

Actually, a better request would be to hear me out. I know the Nets have come to epitomize mediocrity in the past few years and that the mere sight of them popping up on TNT in April is enough to make a grown man cry. But if you want to get out ahead of the next hip NBA bandwagon, you might want to purchase a Dr. J throwback and a Nets hat.

Lets start with the obvious: LeBron is going to be playing in Brooklyn in 2010. Look, there's no stopping it. The Nets are going to BK and Jay-Z is going to get his hands on the best player in basketball. The Cavs are an aging team with a mediocre coach in a city known as "The Mistake by the Lake." I don't care if he's from Ohio, there's no way LBJ is staying.

Beyond that, a James' free agent signing in June of '08 means that Vince Carter, by default, is no longer there (or else they wouldn't have the cap room). So we've got addition by subtraction going as well.

Enter LeBron for Carter, merge him with the current roster, fast forward through the next two years of maturation for the young players and suddenly, you have an Eastern Conference power. Even if they don't acquire a single good rotation player from this point forward (impossible considering all the draft picks, Rod Thorn's solid track record, and the fact that players will be lining up to take a paycut in order to play with LeBron in Brooklyn), they will still have the following nine-man rotation when the 2010 season kicks off:

PG - Devin Harris, 27
SG - Richard Jefferson, 30
SF - LeBron James, 26
PF - Nenad Kristic, 27
C - DeSagana Diop, 28
B - Josh Boone, 26
B - Sean Williams, 24
B - Marcus Williams, 25
B - Mo Ager, 26

You could swap Boone and Williams for Kristic and Diop, depending on how everyone develops, but look at the ages on that roster! The average age of the top nine guys will be 27, which is the average player's prime. But at the same time, every single guy (with the possible exception of Ager) will have at least three years of legit experience. Boone can play, Sean Williams could be a stud, and nobody properly values Diop as a lowpost defender and rebounder. If Kristic can ever get back to 100%, they will have a fantastic interior foursome to go with LeBron, Jefferson, and Harris on the perimeter. And that's before the inevitable upgrades (some of them significant) that will occur with about half of the roster spots.

Mark it down now. The Nets and Blazers are going to be battling in the Finals in June of 2011. And it all started last night with the dawn of the Devin Harris Era.

1 comment:

Cody said...

Go Devin!!! This Is A Good Addition To The Nets....He Has A Very Bright Future Ahead Of Him!!