Jersey and Philly

A couple more teams in the Atlantic Division today.  I notice some voting on the poll to the right...make sure you weigh in when we talk about the team you picked to win.

I added some of my own comments up front this time, the better to spur conversation I suppose.  It's nothing like a complete preview though...there's still plenty of room for refinement, addition, and argument.  Earl won Post of the Day pretty easily yesterday, as he was pretty much the only person to comment in detail.  Can you wrest the crown from him or will he waltz through the division unopposed, a one-man 1992 "Dream Team"?

NEW JERSEY NETS

Record:  49-33, 1st in Atlantic Division, 3rd in Eastern Conference

Statistical Comparison:

Noteable:

28th in three-point %
4th in assists
27th in blocks

Others:

24th in the league in scoring (93.8ppg)
6th in opponent scoring (92.4ppg)
13th in ppg differential (+1.4)
10th in the league in field goal %
7th in opponent field goal %
17th in rebounding
20th in steals
7th in turnovers
16th in opponent turnovers

Additions:  

Eddie House, Mikki Moore, Marcus Williams (R), Josh Boone (R), Mile Ilic (R)

Subtractions:  

Jacque Vaughn

Key Players

PG:  Jason Kidd, Marcus Williams, Jeff McInnis
SG:  Vince Carter, Eddie House, Hassan Adams
SF:  Richard Jefferson, Bostjan Nachbar, Antione Wright
PF:  Jason Collins, Cliff Robinson, Josh Boone
C:  Nenad Krstic, Mikki Moore, Mile Ilic

Comments:  New Jersey reminds me a little of one of those movies sitting in your DVD collection that maybe you should have just rented a couple times instead.  They're good, but they're not that good.  Age and knees aside, Jason Kidd is one of the best and will keep you in most games.  Vinsanity and Richard Jefferson are both offensive powerhouses in their own right.  49 wins is nothing to sneeze at.  But this team just isn't dominant.  Most nights they seem to have a Big Two instead of a true Big Three.  Their big man corps is serviceable but more defensive dominance and stronger rebounding would really help.  I think Krstic could be pretty good, but again that's mostly offensively.  Long story short, when they run the opponent runs with them.  When they slow down they can't score because the opposition just packs it in on them.  I don't see anybody they signed or re-signed that's going to take them to the next level.  Plus there are rumors that Carter is planning to bolt for warmer climes.  Most times those are overblown, but if true we all know how Vince gets when he's not fully motivated.  Is "good enough to always make the playoffs, maybe make the second round, but never get beyond that" really good enough?  The Nets will either have to make a dramatic move or begin dramatically retooling within the next season or two.  It'll be interesting to see where they are as a team when they finally make that move to Brooklyn.

PHILADELPHIA 76'ERS

Record:
 38-44, 2nd in Atlantic Division, 9th in Eastern Conference

Statistical Comparisons:

Noteable:

4th in steals
5th in opponent turnovers

Others:

8th in the league in scoring (99.4ppg)
25th in opponent scoring (101.3ppg)
22nd in ppg differential (-2.0ppg)
13th in field goal %
22nd in opponent field goal %
12th in three-point %
21st in rebounding
18th in assists
14th in blocks
12th in turnovers

Additions:  

Alan Henderson, Rodney Carney (R), Bobby Jones (R)

Subtractions:  

John Salmons

Key Players

PG:  Kevin Ollie, Louis Williams
SG:  Allen Iverson, Kyle Korver, Willie Green, Bobby Jones
SF:  Andre Iguodala, Rodney Carney
PF:  Chris Webber, Alan Henderson, Shavlik Randolph
C:  Samuel Delambert, Steven Hunter

Comments:  The Sixers are the first team we've looked at so far with some real flair at both ends of the court.  They're very athletic and like to poke at a lot of balls (and not in the bad, last-year's-playoffs kind of way).  Between Iverson, Iguodala, and Delambert they can be downright scary in the physical tools department.  Unfortunately Iguodala is playing out of position, Delambert has been hurt, and Iverson is still shooting 11 for 25, so all that individual flair hasn't translated into consistent winning.  And don't even start with the stinky mess they have at point guard, nor with the fact that, despite the numbers, Webber is starting to resemble a randomly shooting celery stalk out there.  They have a couple nice bench pieces in sweet-shooting Kyle Korver and utility center Steven Hunter, but after that it's a lot of mush.  I think their key hope for the season is finally getting Iguodala off, with maybe a couple more points from Delambert as well.  With the style they play they're not going to get much better defense, so they just need to score a little more.  I need somebody to convince me whether that can happen and whether this team is rising or falling.

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)

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