By Mihnea "Mike" Gheorghita
The Nets left sunny Comeback City behind as they headed home towards Dominationville, NJ. They faced a fresh and ready Atlanta squad, who gunned them down heavy, 106 – 70. Nets still having a lot of trouble with turnovers, something that wasn’t as much of an issue last year. What’s even more worrying is that Deron Williams led both teams in TO’s committed with 6. He had some against the Wizards, he had some against the Knicks. Playing like a free agent would doesn’t match Deron’s self-described plans for the future, so I’m going to take a stab in the dark and assume it’s another thing.
Brook Lopez. His absence, to be exact. Everyone goes on about how D-Will improves all other players, but takes little notice in how Brook’s dominant presence has affected his game. Williams can be a magnificent scorer, but his main goal is to get the ball into the paint for a sure shot, not blast away 3’s as he did in Washington. With Senor Pez out of the equation, Deron is left with a Kobe-esque (or Iverson-esque, according to GM Killa B) rookie and probably the most overrated shooter in Anthony Morrow (don’t start with the hate – the guy has his moments, but is in no way anything more than an occasional Ray Allen).
Both of the above mentioned have a lot of room to grow, and will undoubtedly do so once they get a taste of Brooklyn. But I stress again, without Brook Lopez, D-Will’s assists and shot percentage drop, while his turnovers increase, because there’s no one but foul-line Petro and a suicidal Damion James in front of him. Kris Humphries is doing well, and even though he and Al Horford are evenly built (share the same wingspan also), Kris has yet to prove his consistency this season. Mehmet Okur has also been very shy in both games so far, no hustle, and a well-below average 3 points for him with Atlanta.
The Brooklynettes are sorely lacking the necessary offensive presence in the paint. And now with Brook limping around at the rehab center, all the weight falls on Kris Humphries and Damion James, more or less. Frenchie’s there too, but as he actually admitted, there’s no way he can do what Lopez does.
Player of the night: MarShon Brooks – although not on his way towards a Rookie Of The Year award yet, Providence product MarShon Brooks set his shyness aside and got busy against the Hawks. He lead all scorers (well, tied with Vlad Radmanovic, but he’s the enemy) with 17 points, and went to the FT line 8 times, where he was 7 of 8. The boy is officially in the game, and now we can only hope that he won’t become trade bait. Nets have a bad habit of trading talented rookies pretty soon.
Honorable mention: Kris Humphries – The Incredible Hump made our A-list last game, but he was just 11 and 6 as Zaza Pachulia snatched most of what could’ve been his defensive boards.
Rookie watch: Oh yes. He’s been compared to Bryant and Iverson already, and if he loses the ‘fro and starts jumping higher, we may even hear a Jordan or two. MarShon Brooks, ladies and gents, who tied with Radmanovic for both points and minutes played, showed his skills and obviously makes the loss a bit easier to handle.
Next up –you know it and you want it-, Orlando!
Get more great Nets analysis over at Brooklyn-Bound.