In the lead up to Lakers/Nets this evening, FB&G asked three questions to three writers about the Nets season so far and who will win the game. Let’s get to it…
1. How sustainable is the Nets’ 6-2 start?
Devin Kharpertian, The Brooklyn Game: It’s not sustainable as a standalone record, because that’d project the Nets to about 60-62 wins. That’s not happening. It is sustainable, though, in the sense that they’ve beaten the right teams (mostly) and lost to the right teams (mostly). This is about what I expected after these specific eight games, but that doesn’t mean it’ll stay that way.
Emile Avanessian, Hardwood Hype: As expected, the Nets boast one of the league’s most potent offenses, scoring 109.7 points per 100 possessions (third in the NBA, per Basketball Reference; the Lakers rank seventh, at 108). More surprisingly, they are defending at merely a below average clip (104.1 points allowed per 100 possessions), rather than the disastrous one many predicted. Doubly impressive is the fact that they’ve managed this strong start with both Gerald Wallace and MarShon Brooks plagued by injury. Not expecting them to continue winning three out of every four, but 50-55 wins in the mediocre East looks attainable.
Rey Moralde, The Internet (seriously, Rey’s everywhere): I feel like this team could win 50 games in the weak East. Let’s face it; it’s the Miami Heat and then everyone else. Second place is up for grabs. With that said, the team is much improved than last year. Joe Johnson and a healthy Brook Lopez will do that.
2. Which individual match up are you most looking forward to?
Devin: Getting this out of the way: Brook Lopez vs. Dwight Howard. Duh. Obvious. Besides that, though, I’m very excited to see the matchup between Avery Johnson and new Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni. D’Antoni’s spread pick-and-roll offense, even without Steve Nash, should do wonders for the Lakers, and Johnson has made some quirky decisions, particularly late in games. Interested in how these two styles & rotations will clash.
Emile: The Nets have played two quality bigs this season, and not done a great deal to slow down either. Nik Pekovic hung 21 on them in the Wolves’ massive comeback (or Nets’ epic collapse, you choose) on November 5, while DeMarcus Cousins hit them with 23 in the second half on Sunday night, in a contest that ended up being more contested that it ought to have been. Lopez will provide a good litmus test for Dwight’s recovery, and while he will offset some of D-12’s offensive production, but it’s tough to see anything short of foul trouble stopping the Lakers’ man in the middle.
Rey: I don’t care if this is potentially going to be one-sided but I want to see how Dwight does against Brook Lopez. After all, they were going to be traded for each other at one point. Let’s see if Brook can hold his own against Dwight. Also, Dwight averages 20.5 points and 14.5 boards against Lopez in his career. Maybe it will be one-sided.
3. What’s your prediction for who wins and why?
Devin: I’ll take the Lakers. They’re clicking now and just too talented. If they catch on to D’Antoni’s relatively easy style as quickly as they should, the Nets won’t be the only team they should dispose of without much issue. One thing worth noting: the Nets do have a stronger bench. If they can get the Lakers starters in foul trouble, they could make it interesting.
Emile: The Nets are better than expected on D, but with no answer for Dwight Howard (or Pau Gasol for that matter), and with Kobe playing some of the best ball of career, it’s tough to see them finding enough stops to pull out a victory. Meanwhile, after a brutal start, the Lakers have shown improvement at the defensive end, having climbed to 14th in defensive efficiency. I expect the game to be competitive throughout, with the Lakers pulling away late, say 110-100?
Rey: The Lakers will win 115-100 (no tacos!). It will be a track meet like we’re getting accustomed with the Lakers. Eventually, things will slow down and the battle will be won in the trenches. Unless clotheslines and elbows are allowed, I don’t think the Nets’ frontline can stand toe-to-toe against the Laker frontline.
I’m predicting something like 124-118 Lakers.
I’ll predict 119-105 Lakers. Do I win something besides satisfaction in my amazing predicative ability if I’m right.
D’Antoni confimed for the start. I’ll be honest, I don’t like his penchant for fits on the sidelines. All will be forgiven if we keep the winning going.
Edwin Gueco says
I say Lakers will win by 5 pts. don’t know whether they will reach 110 this time. Nets have complete arsenal both on posts and PG so it could be a good game.
OK, on our discussion on the other thread let’s go with what Kenny T./Kevin/Dude wants – get CDR. How? DJO is young and cheap at $0.47M, Lakers spent $0.5M just to sign him during draft night. Ebanks is suspended, will receive $1.04M can Lakers cut him off? Clark is not playing, his contract is $1.2M and I don’t know if he has marketable value. Blake has two more years to go @ $4M each per year so that is $8M total. If you think he is a headache as PG, how can you convince another team to take our garbage? Duhon got a good game lately but his contract is still huge @ $7.6M for two years. Orlando had a difficulty in moving these veterans, which team would be interested of him?
Finally, on CDR why was he cut by the Mavs? Are you aware that Mavs. are considering in signing Fisher (rumor mill)? I wonder why Cuban would not consider CDR over Fisher? In his Wikipedia, he was drafted by Nets and traded 2 years later, picked up by Bucks and release him too. It also says that Douglas-Roberts suffered a retina tear in his eye during a pre-season practice in the 2010-2011 season. He began wearing protective eyewear after the surgery. Maybe that could be the reason why teams would not want to sign him.
Does anyone know why the Lakers don’t buy out players that are not producing? Wouldn’t buying out Duhon save the team $7 mil in tax? Wouldn’t we be saying $21 mil altogether since he has a two year contract? Or do the Lakers like saving these contracts for when they become expiring contracts?
If the Lakers bought out Duhon they would still have the pay the luxury tax on his cap, as it would still count against the lakers salary cap.. The way a buy out would save money would be if Duhon agreed to take less (say 6.8M) then what he is owed over the next two years (7.6M) up front. The Lakers would then save 0.8M and Duhon would be free to try and get a minimum contract on a different team or see if he could get a contract in a different league.
The Dude Abides says
I think the team’s biggest need is a backup SF who can actually score, and CDR would be a cheap pickup. A few hundred thousand is not going to stop the Busses from improving the team.
Duhon’s contract actually isn’t fully guaranteed for next year. So any team that trades for him will only have to worry about this years salary, and a small portion of next year’s.
Agreed that CDR is prolly a low risk, high reward kind of guy – but the team still has to free up a roster spot.
Darius Soriano says
The game preview is up.