With the Golden State Warriors taking on the New Jersey Nets tonight, Warriors World reached out to Devin Kharpertian of Nets Are Scorching, the ESPN TrueHoop Affiliate blog.
J.M. Poulard, Warriors World: Welcome to my humble abode Devin. The last time we did this, you accepted me on your turf and things got a little crazy; so this time around I hope not to overwhelm you or anything.
The New Jersey Nets are currently one of the powers of the Eastern Conference thanks in large part to the tandem of Deron Williams and Dwight Howard that are almost like the second coming of Shaq and Penny…
What’s that you say? Dwight is still in Orlando? He plays for the Magic? The Nets are at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings?
Say it ain’t so Devin. We’re supposed to promote a game here; a game in which stars come out to play. Oh wait, Kris Humphries is still a Net for at least one more season right?
Devin Kharpertian, Nets Are Scorching: If we’re calling Kris Humphries a star, then Monta Ellis is a supernova, something that looks amazing from afar but amounts to a giant explosion, leaving little substance but dust in its wake. Kris Humphries is more like Mercury, something that got far too close to a star and now no life can inhabit its surface. Okay, I’m getting ahead of myself.
Yes, right now, the Nets are terrible. No way getting around it. Deron Williams’s activity level fluctuates from game to game, Kris Humphries takes away as much as he puts on, and Mehmet Okur is a defensive sieve. They’re not the worst team in the Eastern Conference, but teeter on the edge of worstdom.
There is one bright, shining star in New Jersey’s locker room; the incomparable rookie MarShon Brooks, AKA MarSwag, AKA MiniKobeButNotReallyLikeKobeAtAll, AKA Nick Young Done Correctly, AKA “The Steal.” In 13 games, the 25th pick in this draft is averaging 14.7 points on 47% shooting and just under 40% from deep. He’s scored 19 or more five times and couples his efficiency with staggering ball control for a shot-creating rookie.
Outside of Brooks, though, dark days in New Jersey… Though they’ve still got a shot at the SuperPrize. Doesn’t look that way for Golden State these days, right J.M.?
J.M. Poulard: Just in case you haven’t noticed, the Warriors may have actually discovered they had a prize in their own in David Lee. Don’t laugh, snicker or giggle. In the absence of Stephen Curry, the big man has taken some additional responsibility on offense and has become a force on the low block for the Dubs. Is he Dwight Howard? No, but only Dwight Howard is Dwight Howard.
But don’t forget that Golden State is still technically in the running to acquire the big man; and that the prospect of acquiring Ellis or Curry coupled with Biedrins might be enough to get Otis Smith to pull the trigger on a trade. So far, all the Nets have to offer is the right leg of Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries’ spot on the next Kardashian related reality television show and the voice of Avery Johnson. Granted, should Dwight say that it’s Jersey all the way, that would change things but he hasn’t…yet.
The real question I wanted to ask though Devin, what gives with the defense?
Devin Kharpertian: Three simple letters explain it all: TVD. Tunnel Vision Defense. The Nets are ballhawks, to a fault; when an opposing offense runs a set, the Nets immediately tune their sensors directly towards the play, leaving spot-up shooters to feast on their mistakes. It’s the reason the Nets are league-worst at defending the three, and it’s the reason roll men are killing them on pick-and-pops. There’s time to fix it, but the roster is so depleted and potentially in flux that it may never happen.
Speaking of may never happen, didn’t Dwight Howard cross the Warriors off his list already, much like Deron Williams will cross Monta Ellis into defensive oblivion? My guess where Dwight’s going is as good as any — speculation is overrated, just ask D-Will — but I’m relatively certain that Superman crossed Golden State off his parchment.
I’ll say with certainty that Dwight Howard doesn’t want to play in Jersey, but he does want to play in Brooklyn. Most of that, from here forward, depends on Brook Lopez’s foot, which appears to be healing well… whatever that means these days.
J.M. Poulard: Howard did cross off Golden State, but according to reports, the Dubs don’t seem the least bit concerned about that; so the Warriors could potentially land him, although it does not seem likely.
By the way, David Lee has been the best Warrior so far this season, and he will get a chance to strut his stuff in front of Kris Humphries tonight while Hump can only dream about getting paid what Lee does….for doing the exact same thing!
So predict the winner for me…
By the way, have you booed Humphries yet?
Devin Kharpertian: Not once. Doesn’t this whole booing thing seem silly to you? Granted, I think reality TV is silly in general, but this seems overboard. He married a billionaire, who then left him. Are we done with this yet?
I’m picking a surprise upset here. I’ve picked against the Nets in nearly every game this season, but I think at some point something’s gotta give, and tonight is “give” night. Deron has the opportunity to make mincemeat of Golden State’s backcourt, and MarShon Brooks has some chances to show off his surprisingly efficient and veteran-like offensive game. The matchup comes down to the bigs: if Okur’s hitting his outside shots and pulling Udoh out of the lane, that opens up the entire offense (and I use that term loosely with the Nets).
Your turn: predict me a winner!. Also, is Andris Biedrins back from the dead, or just rolling in his grave?
J.M. Poulard: Sadly, I am inclined to agree with you on a Nets victory. The Warriors are currently 2-1 on their eastern road trip and I was of the opinion they would go 2-2 by the final game. The trip has been brutal particularly for Monta Ellis who has had a lot of trouble converting shots as of late and thus seen his field goal percentage start to look like Chicago temperatures in the winter.
Also, I can unequivocally say that Andris Biedrins is alive. Dead people do not get into foul trouble! And so far other than rebounding and scoring when left completely alone, that’s been his best skill.
By the way, I’m not a fan of reality TV either, but shouldn’t people be clapping for Hump or did I miss something?
Devin, it’s been a pleasure, let’s make sure we do this again; and also should Dwight join the Nets at any point in time, you owe me a quick conversation!
Questions or comments? Feel free to leave them in the comments section or you can contact me by email at [email protected]. Also, feel free to follow Devin Kharpertian on Twitter, his handle is uuords.