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New Jersey Nets Getting Inside 2008-05-30 News New Jersey Nets

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News » New Jersey Nets Getting Inside 2008-05-30

New Jersey Nets Getting Inside 2008-05-30

New Jersey Nets Getting Inside 2008-05-30
For the first time in seven years, the Nets have been reminded of what life is like without playoff shares to go around. There is some excitement, of course, with a lottery pick, but the Nets don't want to make that a habit.

So the off-season has been and will be busy and active. Already, the Nets have been the center of widespread attention for their interest in Denver's Carmelo Anthony (not happening). They have to check around and see who and what is available and get in on as much self-improvement moves as possible.

At the annual NBA loser's party, the lottery, the Nets stayed where they figured, No. 10, and had to be a little pained to see the team just ahead of them in the supposed pecking order, the Bulls, defy 1.7 percent odds and land the No. 1 overall pick. So the Nets have picks 10, 21 (from Dallas in the Jason Kidd trade) and their No. 40 second rounder to find help.

"We can improve in a lot of different areas," said General Manager Kiki Vandeweghe. "We have a good nucleus with (Devin) Harris, (Richard) Jefferson and (Vince) Carter and we have some good young players to build upon but obviously, I think shooting is always at a premium. Every team is looking for better shooting and every team is looking for better defense around the basket. We're no different.

"Given we stay at those positions and keep the picks, we'll see good players," Vandeweghe stressed. "Now the choices are, are you going to get somebody to help immediately? Or are you going to get somebody who has potential for the future?"

Vandeweghe indicated the initial thinking was that the Nets will likely keep their picks -- but that is always one phone call away from changing. And players, such as Devin Harris who came from Dallas is the trade from Jason Kidd, don't think the Nets are that far off.

"You've got to figure we're going to do something, whether it's a big monster deal or changing some of our role players," Harris said. "I think it's more retooling but it is the NBA, things happen every summer."

Should the Nets keep their picks, Vandeweghe is certain of one thing. The choice will be the best player available over drafting strictly for position. Vandeweghe reminded what happened once before.

"I was with the Trail Blazers when they drafted Sam Bowie and (Michael) Jordan was out there," Vandeweghe recalled. "I think you always want to make sure you get the best player, regardless of position. So whoever's there in our view is the best player who can help the most, I think that's where you go."

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 30, 2008


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