Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Vujacic would bring shooting and scrappiness to Nets
By Jared Zwerling
On March 26 of last season, about-to-be acquired Net Sasha Vujacic (via a three-way trade between the Nets, Lakers and Rockets, which is contingent upon Joe Smith passing a physical) had an argument with Lakers assistant Brian Shaw during their game against the Thunder. A few days later, Vujacic had a meeting with Lakers head coach Phil Jackson, where he learned that he would be out of the rotation and would only play if the team was down by 20 points (Hoopsnotes.com). "He hasn’t atoned yet for that error [referring to Vujacic's dispute with Shaw]," Jackson said at the time. "When he does, he’ll be back in the good graces. There’s a promise he made before the season that he hasn’t fulfilled."
But Vujacic never left Jackson's doghouse, where he had appeared to already enter the season before. After averaging 8.8 points in 2007-08, his production dropped to 5.8 ppg the next season and then to 2.8 ppg, along with his minutes played. Before being traded to the Nets, Vujacic had played in less than half of the Lakers' games (11) and he only saw the court for four minutes per outing, averaging 1.8 points.
But since the Nets desperately need outside shooting (they were around 30% from three for the second straight night), Travis Outlaw's been demoted and Anthony Morrow could be less than 100% following a strained right hamstring suffered against the Sixers, Vujacic will be valuable to the team from the perimeter. During his career-high '07-'08 campaign, when he hit big shots off the bench to help the Lakers reach the Finals, he had 43.7% accuracy from beyond the arc with a good number of makes (1.6 of 3.8).
Former Laker and current Nets backup point guard Jordan Farmar says Vujacic is a good teammate, hard worker and tremendous shooter who's going to help energize their lethargic team right now (New York Daily News). "He’s going to be scrappy on defense and he’s a feisty European -- that’s how I would describe him," said Farmar, who played with Vujacic for four seasons in Los Angeles. "He’s going to come in with a lot of energy, and he’s going to be able to stretch the floor for sure and open up lanes for Devin [Harris] and myself." Farmar went on to say, "If you’re on the other team, you hate him; if he’s on your team, you love him. He’s one of those guys who will do what he can for the team to do better. He’s going to be scrappy and annoying in a good way."
Vujacic seems to be looking forward to picking up right where he left off on a high note after the '08 season. "[The Nets] are a young team, they're rebuilding their franchise and it's interesting," Vujacic said (NBA FanHouse). "I'm 26 years old, I've played a few years and the last couple years playing on and off, it was just killing. We'll see, if [the trade] happens, then I definitely want to double what I did in LA."