Pacers-Nets Preview: Not Really A Preview, An Interview!

Mark Ginocchio, owner of NetsAreScorching.com, was kind enough to answer my questions for the upcoming game of the Pacers and Nets tomorrow. I answered his questions for his site, so makes sure to drop by there if you can.

It’s part of TrueHoop network.

Anyways, here is the interview:

Josh Dhani: Were you surprised by Vince Carter being traded?

Marc Ginocchio: Not really. The Nets had already dismantled their core from the past few years in the Kidd and Jefferson trades, and Carter was next in line to go. In these kinds of salary dumps, you never expect to get equal talent back, but I do think the Nets did a good job in getting some expiring contracts with actual worth like Rafer Alston, and Courtney Lee is an interesting young player who just hasn’t found his stroke yet in the early going.

JD: The Nets haven’t gone off to a good start at 0-10, are you surprised of what they have done so far?

MG: Well, I don’t think anyone expected the Nets to be a good team this season, but I also think they’ve been a little snake-bitten with all of the injuries they’ve experienced. For the better part of a week, they’ve been running out a rotation with 8 healthy guys because they have no other options. Last week, 4/5 of their starting 5 was out with injuries, and they just got Chris Douglas-Roberts back after becoming the first player in the NBA to be diagnosed with the swine flu.

JD: Which players should the Pacers look out for in the game?

MG: I guess it depends on who’s suiting up in time for the game. I think if he’s fully recovered and has his legs back under him, Chris Douglas-Roberts can take over a game offensively if given the chance. Obviously Brook Lopez is a nice young center, though he seems to have a hard time going up against big strong centers, so I’ll be curious to see how he matches up with Hibbert.

JD: The Nets have proven they can win games like they did against the Heat, falling by one point with the heroics of Dwayne Wade. Do you expect a turnaround?

MG: The Nets have lost quite a few games recently on their final possession. I’d like to say that there’s some hope and that there luck will turnaround, but the bottom line is the Nets need to get healthy. It’s going to be hard for them to pull any games out when their most talented players are on the bench in suits.

JD: Brook Lopez has been great all season right now, what are your expectations for him this season?

MG: Brook’s numbers are a little deceiving, which is not to say he hasn’t done a good job this season, but let’s just say there’s plenty of room for improvement. He’s been guilty of playing too far away from the basket in the early part of the season. While it’s nice that he has 18-20 foot range on his jumper, it would be even more dangerous if he got most of his touches down low with the occasional pick and pop set mixed in to keep teams honest. I think Brook has been hurt more than anyone by Devin Harris’ injury, since those two really seemed to be developing some chemistry in the pick and roll.

JD: Are there any strengths for New Jersey? Any weaknesses?

MG: With the roster they’ve been rolling out there recently, I can’t really come up with any strengths. They can’t shoot. They’re not athletic. They’ve been smarter guarding the  perimeter recently, so I guess that’s a positive step. But they really need guys like Trenton Hassell, Eduardo Najera or Sean Williams to have career-games to even stand a chance right now, and that’s asking a lot for guys who would be 12th men on most other NBA rosters.

JD: Who is the X-Factor for New Jersey in the game?

MG: After his play on Saturday, I’d say Sean Williams. The guy is an athletic freak, but a bit of a headcase and sports a low basketball IQ. But something happened Saturday night where he was forced into playing time in the second half, and he really turned the game around and put the Nets in position to win (until Wade hit the buzzer beater). Nets coach Lawrence Frank said he’s still not sold on Williams, but the guy needs to get another look against the Pacers just to see if he turned a corner.

JD: What’s your predicted record for the Nets this year?

MG: Before the season started, I thought 30-52 was fair. But now, after this start, it’s harder to guess. I’m going to be positive and say they pull a few games out unexpectedly and end up with 24 wins.

JD: Last question: LeBron is entering free agency after this year. Do you think the Nets have a good chance of landing the athletic forward?

MG: As for LeBron, and really all of the big free agents next summer, I will say I truly believe the Nets have just as much a chance as the Knicks to sign one of these guys. With that said, I think a lot of fans in the New York area are going to be disappointed next summer. I believe LeBron stays in Cleveland, Wade stays in Miami, and maybe, maybe Bosh leaves Toronto. I only say this because of the way the NBA designed the system. The Cavs, Heat and Raptors, can all offer their FAs the most money, so why would they leave? If I could use this as an opportunity to rip the Knicks (a pastime of mine), I think it’s really dumb for an organization to build their roster focused on signing a free agent on another team. At least in the Nets case, they stripped down their roster, but through the draft and through trades, they acquired nice young players in Devin Harris, Brook Lopez, Courtney Lee and Terrence Williams. Between the lottery pick they’re probably going to get this year, and their cap space going into next summer, my hopes is the Nets can round out their roster with strong, complimentary pieces, preferably in the frontcourt where the team has lacked real depth for years.

I appreciate Mark for stopping by and answering my questions. I look forward to do more interviews with him when the Nets and Pacers face each other again. I also hope to do interviews with other sites.

Look out for that.

And again, I appreciate Mark for answering my questions. Please check out his site at netsarescorching.com!

Tags: Brook Lopez Chris Bosh Chris Douglas Roberts Cleveland Cavaliers Courtney Lee Devin Harris Dwayne Wade Eduardo Najera Free Agency Game Preview Indiana Pacers Interview Jason Kidd Lawerence Frank LeBron James Miami Heat NBA New Jersey Nets New York Knicks Predictions Preview Rafer Alston Richard Jefferson Roy Hibbert Sean Williams Swine Flu Terrence Williams Toronto Raptors Trenton Hassell

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