|By John McMullen, NBA Editor |
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - After a disastrous 12-win season the New Jersey Nets have undergone a makeover, starting with billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov and new head coach Avery Johnson.
Prokhorov is hell-bent on turning around this thing quickly and it may be easier than people think. No, the Nets probably aren't going to land LeBron James but they do possess a promising young core of players, including point guard Devin Harris (27 years old) and center Brook Lopez.
For Harris and Lopez to be most effective, the Nets needs more shooters on the floor with them but the team also needs defense and rebounding. New Jersey fell from first to third in the lottery, giving it the first real decision in the draft.
Kentucky center DeMarcus Cousins probably has a bigger upside than either Georgia Tech power forward Derrick Favors or Syracuse wingman Wesley Johnson, but the Nets already have an All-Star type center in Lopez so look for them to go with Favors, a prototypical four in the mold of Kenyon Martin.
At No. 27, Lance Stephenson, a tough, athletic shooting guard from Cincinnati with an NBA-ready body has the power and quickness that could cause a lot of trouble on the blocks in a few years.
Players under contract: G Keyon Dooling; G Devin Harris; G Courtney Lee; C Brook Lopez; G-F Terrence Williams; F Yi Jianlian
Free Agents: C Tony Battie (Unrestricted); F-C Josh Boone (Restricted); F-G Chris Douglas-Roberts (Team option); F-G Trenton Hassell (Unrestricted); F Jarvis Hayes (Unrestricted); F Kris Humphries (Player option); G Chris Quinn (Unrestricted); F-G Bobby Simmons (Unrestricted)
Draft picks: 1st round (3rd overall, 27th overall); 2nd round (31st overall)