There's a team that resides in New Jersey, that is moving to Brooklyn, and that wants to compete with the Knicks. This team, the erstwhile New Jersey Nets want desperately another star to put along side Deron Williams...
Is their blueprint the way to do it? We will find out.
The particulars ...
Denver: 6-4 (4-1 at home)
Streak: Lost 2
New Jersey: 2-8 (2-4 on the road)
Streak: Lost 2
Denver: Ty Lawson (strained right ankle) questionable
New Jersey: Brook Lopez (foot) out until February, DeShawn Stevenson (knee) questionable, Mehmet Okur (back) questionable, and Damion James (foot) questionable.
Television: Altitude TV
Season Series: First game
Opposition's Take: Nets Daily
Denver Nuggets fans everywhere should be very familiar with the Nets and their general manager Billy King. The Carmelo Anthony saga enveloped the Nets nearly as much as it did the Nuggets. After Melo was traded to the Knicks in February of last year, in quick succession the Nets traded Derrick Favors, Devon Harris, and some picks to the Utah Jazz for, essentially, the right to persuade Deron Williams to stay with the Nets. Really that is what it boiled down to.
This gamble only works if the Nets can convince another star to come to their team. Thus another season-long drama about where Dwight Howard will end up has reared it's head in, you guessed it, New Jersey. It's a big gamble to rely on the good graces of other teams and the direction a player wants to go. As we found out with Melo last season, a player and organization can pit other teams against each other and use them as leverage to get what they want. Although we have since learned that not every GM is as crafty as Denver's Masai Ujiri.
Trouble is, the Nets biggest bargaining piece (outside of Williams) was Brook Lopez. That trade chip came crashing to Earth when Lopez seriously injured his foot early in the season. Orlando has pulled back significantly from trade talks with every team, and New Jersey is left again in limbo and their fans are hanging on every news report that comes out about where Dwight wants to go (see Nets Daily.)
As for the team on the court: they have Williams, Kim Kardashian's ex-husband Kris Humphries, sharpshooter Anthony Morrow, and Jordan Farmar. There's definitely some talent, but putting the pieces together without that "other" player has been a difficult exercise. While you can definitely say that improvement has happened with each Nets game, you can also say that they look as far away as they were last season prior to the trade with the Utah Jazz.
As usual, the key to "stopping" this team is putting the breaks on Williams' playmaking ability. He is the lynch-pin and the genesis-momentum. It will, likely, be a completely different story with the new set of players the Nuggets have right now. Oh, and former Nuggets Johan Petro (Frenchy) and Shelden Williams play for the Nets, and with Lopez out there stands a very good chance that we will see, at least Petro tonight. Mehmet Okur is questionable this one, but Nuggets fans are very familiar with what he can do ... a big man who likes to shoot threes.
Nuggets of Wisdom
I can't explain what happened against the New Orleans Hornets on Monday night. Maybe the Nuggets were complacent? Quite frankly your guess is a good as mine. They managed to play with so little energy I was wondering if they were in a coma. George Karl's rotations were AWFUL, he seemed to forget that the guy who changed everything in the first Hornets game - Kosta Koufos - was even on the bench, until the third quarter.
More than that, it looked like a team that - for the very first time this season - ran out of gas. It seemed like this team put forth a tremendous amount of effort in the San Antonio game and had nothing left for New Orleans. That being said, I refuse to cave in to negativity. The Nuggets need to remember what got them to a 6-2 record. Good defense and good pace. Both of those things combined (albeit unsustainable the way the Nuggets were going) lead to the Nuggets formula for victory. This means Danilo Gallinari, Lawson (if he can play) and Nene Hilario need to stand out and step up. Gallo is better when he's both scoring and running the floor, this leads to nice passes to teammates. Ty needs to stay aggressive throughout, without let up. Nene needs to find his inner beast again and show he can dominate.
It's still early in the season, and it is very foolish for anyone to panic about this team right now. They just need to remember what it was that got them six wins.
Twitter: @jmorton78 https://twitter.com/#!/jmorton78