Weekend Preview: Shorthanded Nets Fly West


The Nets begin a road trip on Friday night that will feature the Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Lakers, and Portland Trail Blazers (in that order).  They are coming off a pathetic loss to the Utah Jazz and a shocking win over the Indiana Pacers that Deron Williams dubbed “the best home win of the season.” The Nets have a substantial chance of beating the Warriors or Kings.  Against the Lakers and Trail Blazers, they will probably get blown out.  I will only discuss the weekend games against the Warriors and Kings in this post.

On Friday, the Nets will be extremely shorthanded yet again because Jordan Williams and Shelden Williams both suffered head injuries in the Nets’ victory over the Pacers.  Shelden was hit hard in the eye and is not expected to play at all during the road trip.  He may return when the Nets play the Washington Wizards at home on April 6th.  Similarly, Jordan Williams will be out on Friday because he is experiencing minor concussion symptoms.  On the positive side, sharp-shooter Anthony Morrow will return to action on Friday after missing the past two games with a shoulder injury.

As a result of injuries, the Nets will only have one center: the Frenchman Johan Petro.  What a disaster.  On a team with very little skill at the center position, Petro has had trouble getting off the bench and playing meaningful minutes in basketball games.  He has some weird playing habits that do not serve him well.

The Nets’ lack of depth or skill at the center position might not get exposed on Friday night against the Warriors.  Newly acquired Warriors center Andrew Bogut is injured and may not play for the rest of the season. Backup center Andris Biedrins is also injured.  Jeremy Tyler, another Warriors center, is not a threat on offense.  The Warriors do have a talented big man, David Lee, but I have hope that Kris Humphries can guard him because Lee is not too tall or strong.

The Warriors traded Monta Ellis, their star scoring guard, and bench big man Ekpe Udoh at the trade deadline. They have lost 8 of their last ten games.  On the whole, the Warriors are not very good (they are 20-29), but of course neither are the Nets.  I think this should be a fairly even game.  I will leave the predictions to Jonah (he will post a preview soon), but I would not be surprised to see the Nets beat Golden State.

The Nets will face the Sacramento Kings, home of former Nets not-so-greats Travis Outlaw and Terrence Williams, on Saturday.  The Kings are only 17-33 but they have DeMarcus Cousins, a center who will absolutely destroy his Nets counterpart Johan Petro both on offense and the glass.  Guards Tyreke Evans and Marcus Thornton are also capable of brushing aside any efforts the Nets make at playing defense.  Even though the rest of the Kings roster is pretty weak (it features Outlaw, Chuck Hayes, and a number of other scrubs), I do not think the Nets match up well at all.

The Nets probably will probably lose at least one of their next two games.  Honestly, I think that this is a good thing.  The Nets are going absolutely nowhere this season and need to tank in order to get a high draft pick.  If the draft pick lottery is unkind and they do not get a draft pick within the top three, their pick will go to the Portland Trail Blazers as part of the recent Gerald Wallace trade.  The Nets can minimize the risk of such a disaster by tanking.  I really hope they lose both games but still play watchable basketball.