Wednesday, October 30, 2013
5 Questions for the Nets' 2013-14 season
By Mike Mazzeo and Ohm Youngmisuk
The season is upon us so let's take a look at five questions facing the Nets.
Nets beat writer Mike Mazzeo and myself answer five questions we have about the Nets:
Can Jason Kidd coach?
Mike: Eventually, I think so. For now, Kidd is going to rely heavily on lead assistant Lawrence Frank -- especially defensively. Kidd has six assistants on his staff to help ease his transition, but he must earn the respect of his veterans early. The toughest part of his job will be managing minutes. His team is extremely talented. He should be fine.
|Can Jason Kidd coach?|
Ohm: Kidd is going to make mistakes like any rookie coach -- especially one who has never been in that position. But he has a quality staff around him (Lawrence Frank will be huge), a loaded roster with veteran leadership and has the respect of his stars. It may take the Nets time to mesh chemistry-wise and Kidd will certainly be learning every night. There'll be ups and downs but Kidd will ultimately show that he can coach.
Can they stay healthy?
Mike: They better hope so. Kevin Garnett (37), Paul Pierce (36) and Jason Terry (36) are old. Andrei Kirilenko (32) is already dealing with back spasms and missed 18 games last season. Deron Williams' (29) ankles look fine now, but you never know. Joe Johnson (32) was bothered by plantar fasciitis last year. Brook Lopez (25) is coming off his third foot surgery in 18 months. Kidd needs to conserve his guys so they're ready for the playoffs.
Ohm: This is one of Kidd's biggest tasks -- to keep his older vets healthy. He spent camp trying to work with a plan on resting Garnett. He'll have to figure out how to keep Pierce, Johnson, Terry, Kirilenko and D-Will healthy and fresh for the postseason if they want to dethrone the Heat.
Can they gel quickly?
Mike: They have seven new players and a new coach. It's probably not going to be seamless, but many of them are veterans and they all seem willing to sacrifice individual accolades for the good of the team. Kidd had an entire training camp and preseason to implement his system. Even Miami's Big 3 started 9-8. D-Will is just returning. Patience is a virtue.
Ohm: It wouldn't surprise me if the Nets take half a season or more to really find the chemistry they want. That doesn't mean they are going to struggle and lose games. I'm talking more about when they hit on all cylinders. They did not have Williams for the majority of the preseason as the point guard rested his ankle. And Garnett and Pierce and other vets could rest on certain nights as well. Even if it takes the Nets half a season or three-quarters a season to hit their stride, they should be in good shape.
Can D-Will return to elite point guard status?
|Will D-Will be elite?|
Mike: Chris Paul. Tony Parker. Russell Westbrook. Derrick Rose. Kyrie Irving. Feels like the golden age of point guards. If Williams stays healthy, though, he could be right there at the top. Better offensive weapons. A system that fits his style of play. Seems like D-Will has everything. It's time for him to be the $98 million engine his team needs him to be for an entire season.
Ohm: He says his confidence is back. Kidd has raised the bar and challenged Williams to return to elite point guard status and average double-digits assists. Under Kidd's guidance, Williams can absolutely return to elite point guard status, especially with the supporting cast around him. The Nets will go as far as Williams takes them. And if he can stay healthy, a big year could be in store for Williams. Kidd should be able to push the right buttons.
Can they win a championship this year?
Mike: If a lot of things break right, sure, why not? GM Billy King has said his team's window is now, as in this season. Like I said, they have talent. Then again, so do Miami, Indiana and Chicago. The one thing they lack is a dominant wing player like LeBron James or Kevin Durant. But they have leadership, toughness and a bevy of perimeter shooters. If they're healthy going into the playoffs, they'll be dangerous.
Ohm: Yes. So much depends on the Nets' health, if Garnett and Pierce will have enough gas left come postseason time and whether Kidd can make a difference as coach. Brook Lopez gives the Nets an advantage with a talented big man inside. And if the Nets play defense the way Kidd wants them to, they can win a championship.
Let us know what you guys think below.