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New Jersey Nets Getting Inside 2009-05-30 News New Jersey Nets

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News » New Jersey Nets Getting Inside 2009-05-30

New Jersey Nets Getting Inside 2009-05-30

New Jersey Nets Getting Inside 2009-05-30
Last season, the Nets picked 10th and the guy they wound up taking, Brook Lopez, hadn't even worked out for New Jersey because there was no way the Nets thought they could get him.


And so they're hoping they can find the same kind of luck in 2009 after being assured of the 11th pick in the lottery. Getting a real stud at 11 this time might be as hard to believe as getting Lopez at 10 a year ago. The basic feeling is that Blake Griffin will go No. 1 and then it's everybody else.

"I do think this year, other than maybe the first pick, there's a divergence of opinion among a lot of teams about who they would take," Nets president Rod Thorn said. "So somebody that we may think is the fourth or fifth player in the draft may drop to 11 because of people having differing opinions about different players."

So maybe, just maybe, a Jordan Hill of Arizona or James Harden of Arizona State or DeMar DeRozan of USC drops. Maybe. But if not, the Nets' brass remains confident that it will still find a rotation-quality player at No. 11 when it picks June 25, even if all goes according to war room plan beforehand.

"Hopefully you get a guy who can make that kind of impact, but that doesn't happen every year," Thorn said. "We definitely feel there will be some player picked at 11 or even lower than 11 that will be a really good player in the NBA. That's the way it is every year. We just have to get the right guy."

So they might not get a star. But they plan on getting help.

The needs are defense and rebounding, but the power forward bigs -- namely, Griffin and Hill -- who can help figure to be gone. DeJuan Blair of Pittsburgh might be available, but the Nets might be wary of his size (listed at 6-7) and conditioning. So they might opt for the route frequently taken: best player available.

They like James Johnson, a 6-8 forward from Wake Forest. But the best player in their eyes might just be a point guard, such as Jonny Flynn of Syracuse, Eric Maynor of Virginia Commonwealth or Ty Lawson of NCAA champ North Carolina. Thorn has said he'd prefer a good point guard over a fair prospect at another position. But he's not wedded to overlooking need.

"Normally, (we have picked) the best player unless we had a really, really big need and someone was there maybe at that position," Thorn said.

So the Nets will get a better feel after workouts. They'll attend the Chicago pre-draft combine and then be part of the mass workouts at several locales, including their own starting June 12.

"There are a lot of good players. And there will be a couple of really good players. The workouts will tell a lot; you'll get a better feel about it. But again, it may not be as deep a draft as it was last year," said Nets GM Kiki Vandeweghe. "And you might not have a Derrick Rose or Brook Lopez. But you're going to have some awfully good players."

SEASON HIGHLIGHT: It was the shot of the Nets' season, likely the NBA season. On Feb. 23 in New Jersey against Philadelphia, the Nets trailed by one point with 1.8 seconds left as they inbounded under the Sixers' basket. Devin Harris raced up the left side, snared an inbounds pass from Bobby Simmons, bobbled it against defender Andre Iguodala, recovered and launched from half-court. The shot went in and after a lengthy review by the referees, it was ruled good, giving the Nets a 98-96 victory.

"I had no idea. I had no clue. I had no sense of time," said Harris.

TURNING POINT: The Nets were a little more than a quarter away from moving into eighth place on Mar. 11 as they led the Warriors by 14 points in the third quarter. But the Nets relaxed and the start of a four-game Western trip ended as a 116-112 loss. And the trip got worse. After a tough defeat at Portland, the Nets were seconds away from winning against the Clippers in L.A. where Harris suffered a sprained shoulder in the third quarter and Steve Novak hit an L.A. three-pointer at the buzzer. The 107-105 loss left the Nets one-and-a-half games out of eighth. They never recovered from the two losses and an eventual 0-4 trip.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: May 30, 2009


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