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New Jersey Nets Getting Inside 2008-05-27 News New Jersey Nets

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News » New Jersey Nets Getting Inside 2008-05-27

New Jersey Nets Getting Inside 2008-05-27

New Jersey Nets Getting Inside 2008-05-27
The Nets want to add depth. They want to add a shooter. They want to add a player to defend the rim.

Those are the needs they will try to address -- address, not answer -- in the June draft where they'll be back in the lottery for the first time in seven years. The Nets got the 10th pick in the lottery. They also have the 21st pick, from Dallas, and their own second-round pick, at No. 40.

"I think we have a real good chance to get a player who can help us at 10," said team president Rod Thorn. "And in this draft, we should get a good player at 21 and even 40."

Thorn said the Nets will stick with their usual tactic of "looking at the best player" available, something that has been hit or miss over the years. When they lucked out and moved to the No. 1 spot in 2000, the best player was Kenyon Martin, a key to their Finals teams of 2002 and 2003. But they've also taken the best player in Marcus Williams (2006), who has been spotty in two seasons.

But that's how they'll go, as opposed to addressing a specific need.

"We've been assessing players for a couple weeks, trying to plot out a strategy," Thorn said, noting that the draft seems well stocked with power forwards and point guards and contains a few quality centers as well.

The assessing that Thorn referred to also includes a bevy of foreign players. Kiki Vandeweghe, recently promoted to general manager, has recently returned from a tour of Europe and Turkey, where he scouted several players with special interest, including projected lottery pick Nicolas Batum, a 6-8, 210-pound small forward from France; projected first rounder 6-8, 220-pound Israeli small forward Omri Casspi plus second round projections Omer Asik, a 7-0, 220-pound power forward from Turkey and Nikola Pekovic, a 6-11, 243-pound power forward from Serbia.

There is always the chance the Nets could deal their picks or package them for a higher selection. Vandeweghe ruled out nothing.

"The calls haven't really started yet. I guarantee you we'll have calls," the new GM said. "Having two picks in the first round, I think you have some very good players potentially in this draft. You never know until a couple of years down the road. But I do like this draft. Our picks will be valuable."

SEASON HIGHLIGHT: There was a road victory over the Lakers in November, one of the few flashes of light in an overall gloomy season. But a five-game post-Christmas and into-the-New Year celebration contained the Nets' longest winning streak and most of the feel-good moments of the season. The Nets even beat three playoff teams in the Dec. 28 to Jan. 5 run: Washington, Milwaukee, Orlando, Charlotte and Atlanta. But after splitting the next two games, reality returned and the Nets lost nine straight.

TURNING POINT: Maybe the breakdown began with Vince Carter's sprained ankle in November, but Dec. 5 is the date for the season's most crucial and ultimately damaging moment. That was the night Jason Kidd, citing a migraine, took off a game against the hated Knicks. Numerous insiders throughout the organization maintained Kidd was protesting his failure to secure a contract extension, something Kidd still denies. Kidd's unhappiness and subsequent trade request ultimately came to light and until it was resolved, as Richard Jefferson later claimed, the Nets were "dead men walking."

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: May 27, 2008


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