Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Opposing View: 1/9 at New Jersey

All season long, Sonics Beat will be consulting an expert on the opposing team as part our gameday preview.'s Matt McQueeny answered our questions on the team. Check out Matt's blog for more inside info on the Nets. Also give a look to the JoeNetsFan blog and as well as the always-entertaining blog by Dave D'Alessandro of The Star-Ledger.

Is there any chance, with the kind of streak he's on, that Jason Kidd could average a triple-double?
Logic would probably question that if he hadn't done it in the 13 previous years of his career, how - at nearly 35 years old - could he do it now? But logic and cliches and what is supposed to be don't really apply with this guy. He is literally one of a kind, a once-a-generation talent in both mind and body, and a guy who has shown there are no concessions because of injury - remember, he had microfracture surgery three years ago - and certainly no concessions to age. In some ways you could say he has gotten better. The guy just notched his third consecutive triple-double, something that hasn't been done in over a decade. He now has 10 for the season. In just 33 games! He had 12 all of last season - which is a career high. He is now just three away from 100 for his career. So will he average a triple-double, something that has only been done by Oscar Robertson? Probably not. But with this guy, why not? Last season - thought of as one his best - saw him average 13 points, 9.2 assists, and 8.2 rebounds. Somehow, he was bettering those numbers so far this season. Going into tonight's game against Charlotte, he was at 11.4 points, 10.7 assists, and 8.8 rebounds. That's nearly nine boards for a guy listed at 6-4. It's mind boggling.

I didn't realize until looking at the numbers that Richard Jefferson is sixth in the league in scoring. Should we be hearing more about him?
You should be hearing more about him. In fact more people should; the last i looked at the all-star returns, RJ was not even in the top 10 Eastern Conference forwards. He doesn't mind though. He is just happy to be healthy again and playing with the full complement of athletic abilities and explosion. after a year of injuries, most notably to his ankle He is probably not a player best suited to the role of THE primary option though he can carry a team for periods and has truly done so this season. Nestled with Kidd and Carter, he is a potent threat. He is the Nets best transition player playing alongside Kidd and, in the half court, has really become proficient at barrelling towards the hoop and finding his way to the line. He is second in the league in free-throws made per game and fourth in attempts per game. He has a pretty relialbe mid-range jumper and can hit the three. And he is a winner. After leaving college following his junior season- straight from the National Championship Game - he has been to the playoffs every year of his NBA career (all with Nets, of course).

When he gets back in rhythm, what will Marcus Williams bring the Nets?
Marcus had a great summer of hard work. He played exceptionally in the Orlando Summer League and worked all off-season to become a better player. He showed spurts of what he could be last year but had the double-whammy of being a rookie at a position like point guard and being a rookie point guard backing up one of the greatest who has ever played your position. Then just on cusp of training camp, a broken bone was found in Williams' foot, one that required surgery and what turned out to be 10 weeks of rest and rehabilitation. So, that really sets him back. Plus, Darrell Armstrong - whom the Nets picked up in training camp when Marcus went down - has been a real spark of late and has moved for the time being into the backup spot. As Marcus continues to work and progress, however, he is a guy who has a real intuitive sense in the passing game and the offensive ability to consistently knock down shots.

Is it up to the young guys, Josh Boone and Sean Williams, to bring New Jersey regular production up front?
For now, they have stepped up to the challenge. As young players playing alongside Kidd, Carter, and Jefferson they are just being told to be themselves. They are live bodies on the offensive and defensive end, they can really finish around the rim, and they can get out and run, a great thing when you have Kidd leading the break. In the pick-n-roll game, they are really opening up the floor and creating a threat that opponents must recognize. Williams is a little more above the rim, Boone more crafty around the rim. And Williams, of course, is a real weapon on the defensive end. They have injected energy and spark and have been the best suited complement to date to the three stars. It is up to them for the time being, but Nenad Krstic will be back. He hopes to be practicing again with the team sometime this month. That should only help all of the parties involved.

What don't we know about the Nets but should?
Richard Jefferson is as good as his numbers currently show and Jason Kidd is not slowing down.