With the season less than a week away, I am going to break down the Nets position by position. Today, the guards: There are 5 guards that made the team. They are Devin Harris, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Keyon Dooling, Vince Carter, Maurice Ager.
OK, I am going to say it. The Nets have one of the best starting combined backcourts in the NBA…noticed I said combined. Devin Harris and Vince Carter are two great players (ok one great player and one solid player who has the potential to be great). Give me a team (besides the Spurs, Hornets, and maybe the Pistons and Philly when AI decides to play) who can trot out two great guards. Im serious! I dare you to do it! I know this is a Nets blog and I may be a little biased, so let’s try this. The Heat? Yeah I know Dwyane Wade, but they are starting a rookie at point. The Cavs? LBJ is great but Mo Williams? I could keep going down the line.
Along with each being great players, their styles compliment each other very nicely. Devin is a PG who relies on his speed…a ton. He uses his speed to break down his defenders and he has the ability to get into the lane at will. The lane is where he gets most of his points (Devin’s jumper is pretty weak and needs to get better) and assists (after breaking down his man, a double team usually comes). This is where VC comes in. Vince (who still relies on his jumper a little too much – it’s a sweet shot, but come on, take it to the tin once in a while!) can dominate a game on the wing if he gets the ball in the right situations, something I think Devin can do for him.
As good as this duo is on offense, they can be as bad on defense. Sure when Vince wants to go after it he can stop his man, but as he gets older, that is few and far in between. As for Devin, his footspeed means he could be a great defender, but he needs to improve his positioning, actual footwork, and he needs to show the desire to stop his man.
Grade – B+ (Would be higher if they could defend better)
As high as I am on our starters, I just as down on our bench. Our starters aren’t going to be able to average 48.0 minutes a game (especially Vince, I see his minutes going down this year to keep him healthy – and when I say healthy, I mean 100% and not playing injured – towards the end of the year). Besides Kenyon Dooling, who is great off the bench and knows his role, the Nets’ guards coming off the bench have only 2 years experience. CDR is a rookie, and Ager hasn’t really seen meaningful minutes consistently, if at all. Hopefully Coach Frank is going to be able to ease them in, especially CDR. He is an althetic freak, and when he improves his shot, I can see him being a Shawn Marion type of player. I just think it is going to take him a little while. He has always been the fastest guy on the court, and that may not be anymore – needs to get use to the speed of the NBA. If there is something that is going to keep the Nets out of the playoffs it is going to be their guard play coming off of the bench.
Bench Grade: D+ (Only this high because of Dooling)
Overall Grade: C+