Saturday, December 26, 2009

Netcade - Top 10 Nets Players of the 00s

Once the calendar hits December of any year ending in a 9, it is time for the masses to declare the top 10 of whatever the previous 10 years provided us. I have seen numerous lists recounting the best of film, television, music, sports, etc. But, where is the New Jersey Net love? As always, Slippery When Nets is hear to provide a voice for the little man! And now, I proudly present:

The Top 10 Nets Of The Zeros!

10. Jason Collins



Towards the end of his Nets tenure, Jason Collins became a divisive figure amongst Nets fans. Many argued he was too slow, and shot too poorly (as his below 50% free throw percentage can attest to). However, I don't want to spend too much time picking him apart, because there are so many forgotten positives.

First, if one looks at his numbers in his first four seasons, you will see a solid NBA center. I remember his free throw shooting was so good that he would often take the technical shots. But, the first word when talking about Jason Collins' career is one word: DEFENSE. He was an immense defensive presence on the Nets for six and a half season. He anchored the defense on and off the court. His defining moment has to be in the 2007 playoffs, where he absolutely owned Chris Bosh. It is no surprise that as soon as he was traded, the Nets' defense has steadily declined.

So yes, he will have his critics. However, as a Net, he brought everything he could to the game. He left nothing on the table. And for that, I am giving him the 10-spot.

9. Lucious Harris



Lucious gets the nod partially based on him sticking with the team through the worst of times in the 90s. When Jason Kidd arrived, Harris stepped up his game and became the most integral member of a solid Nets bench. In the middle of the 2002-2003 season, he started 25 games in place of an injured Kerry Kittles, and filled in admirably. He also shined in the famous triple-overtime game versus Detroit in the 2004 playoffs, hitting many clutch 3s. There are probably more talented Nets players than the first two I've listed, but there aren't many with more heart.

8. Brook Lopez



This is a complete potential pick. He has had only a season and a half so far, but I have high hopes for him. He is easily the most talented big-man the Nets have had this decade. He looks like he will be a future All-Star and a perennial 20/10 player. Will the Nets management get its act together and have a roster of decent players he can work with? That is the the question. It is a shame to watch him this season busting his ass and playing 40 minutes a night while the Simmons and Alstons of the world chuck up ugly 3-pointers.

7. Keith Van Horn



I already slobbered all over Mr. Van Horn in a previous blog post, so no need to go over the basics. Although, to be honest, I think it is time to rethink he career again. In the 2000 season, Keith was the second best player on the Nets, behind Stephon Marbury. The rest of the starters were Jim McIlvaine, Kendall Gill, and Kerry Kittles. How many games did they win? 31. This current team, whose two best players are Lopez and Devin Harris, are on pace to win 6. Perhaps the players on that team are better than we remember them.

6. Devin Harris



Well, I'm going to make this quick, before my rage takes over and I remove him from this list. He came in, and filled in admirably for the Captain. In the 2008 season, he helped the Nets get off to a good start, and made the All-Star team. However, this season, he has been abysmal - showing no leadership, playing no defense, and possibly undermining Lawrence Frank. However, he is still young and talented, but I fear I'll look back on at this list next decade and just shake my head.

5. Kerry Kittles



Like Lucious Harris, this is a longevity award. Kerry Kittles is perhaps the one player of the decade you can definitively call a "True Net". People forget, but the 2001-02 season not only marked the Nets' best season, but Kerry Kittles playing every game after missing the entire 2000-01 season due to injury. A starter for the two NBA Finals teams, Kittles made the most out of his injury-shortened career, and will be appearing a surprising number of times on ESPN Classic in the future.

4. Richard Jefferson



Like Kerry Kittles, a "True Net" through-and-through. He gets the nod over Kittles for three reasons:

1. He was better than Kittles in his prime

2. He played more seasons than Kittles in this decade.

3. When he was traded from the Nets, he said he wanted to remain a Net.

What? Read point #3 again. That has never happened in my recollection. EVER. And it may never happen again.

3. Vince Carter



I have made no secret of the fact that I am not a fan of Vince Carter. I eviscerated his game in this embarrassingly optimistic column this summer. But, you cannot ignore his contributions to the Nets from 2005 to 2009. He may not be the best player on a championship team, or on conference finalist team, or even on a 50-win team. But, you can count on VC for being the best player on a 30-to-40 win team. With the way this season has gone, I miss Vince more and more.

2. Kenyon Martin



1. Jason Kidd



Could it be any others in the top two? Kenyon Martin was the heart of the operation, while Jason Kidd provided the brains and the willpower. Kidd was more important, but neither has found the same sort of success in their careers that they had from 2001 to 2004.

Unfortunately, these teams have been forgotten and occasionally disrespected as the decade has worn on. "They were boring." "The East was weak." "There were no fans in New Jersey." All of this is, of course, bullshit. I will leave you with my favorite YouTube clip of the past month. Keep in mind these factors: This was the second round. This was Game 5. The Nets were up 3-1. Basically, it was a pretty mediocre set of circumstances. However, listen to the crowd. We loved it (and I say "we", as I was at this game). Even when the Nets made the second round in 2006 and 2007, the intensity did not match this. Listen to the announcers' voices crack as Kidd and Martin put on a defensive clinic on the lowly Hornets. Savor these moments, Nets fans. Perhaps, next decade, we'll be lucky enough to enjoy them again.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Gone Podcastin' Part 5

Click here to listen to me make another appearance on the world renowned Brad Bogner Show!

The subject is partial basketball, but mostly my upcoming stand-up comedy debut at Caroline's on Broadway. My set is killer, so if you are a fan of my writing, you should make an appearance. The show is on Sunday, December 13th, at 4:30PM. Caroline's is located on 49th and Broadway. Make sure to call 212-757-4100 to reserve tickets, and say you are there for me (Rory Toohey, that is).

If you are enjoying the Brad Bogner Show, make sure to subscribe on iTunes.

There will be a slight delay in Nets articles, but I will be back with a renewed fury next week.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Even The Losers Get Lucky Sometimes



It couldn't have been that easy to forget about them.

Yes, the Nets have finally shown up for the 2009-2010 season. And, it has been interesting to see the reaction from not just Nets fans, but sports fans in general. Since the losing streak became national attention, it seems that every casual fan began rooting for the Nets. I would discuss the streak with friends and co-workers, and even those that were Knicks fans (my sworn enemies) said they were looking for the Nets to break the streak.

After the final minutes of last night's victory, I received several congratulatory texts. In past articles on this blog, I discussed how when the Nets became successful in 2001-02, people would congratulate me (as if I had something to do with it at all). There were shades of this again after the win, but now with a stinging ironic flavor.

Before we move on, let me say a few words about the dearly departed Lawrence Frank. I was a Frank supporter since Day 1. I had gotten sick of Byron Scott, as the rest of the team clearly was. This team had been to two Finals, and now was playing .500 ball? Something was clearly wrong. In steps Frank, who introduces concepts foreign to Byron, such as watching game tape, talking during time-outs, and not sleeping before games. The Nets reel off 13 wins in a row, and are back in the championship hunt. I contend that Frank brought that Nets closer to the championship than any coach, as the Nets took the eventual NBA champions (the Pistons) to a seventh game. The previous Finals appearances ended in four and six games.

I always felt Frank did the most with a poor cast of characters. He yanked career seasons from NBA misfits like Mikki Moore and Boki Nachbar. He squeezed out productive years from aging veterans like Cliff Robinson and Travis Best. There has not been one player of note whose career has skyrocketed since leaving the Nets during this time. Frank's masterpiece definitely has to be the 2005-06 season. Take a look at this roster again. Excluding the players who played less than 10 games, that team had five players who were out of the league less than two years later (Robinson, McInnis, Jackson, Padgett, Murray). John Thomas had to play in EIGHT playoff games due to the lack of depth on that team. And they still won 49 games and got to the second round of the playoffs! The eventual champions, the Miami Heat, took them down, but I can't help wonder if things would have gone differently if Cliff Robinson didn't pick up a bong that week.

Frank was not perfect, but was still an above average coach. I always felt he suffered because he did not delegate enough work to his assistant coaches (something Lord Byron clearly did not have a problem with). However, Byron was flanked by two great assistants - Eddie Jordan and Frank. Once Jordan left, things went downhill fast. Frank's best assistant was Brian Hill - his mentor. Brian Hill was a fine assistant as well, but nothing close to having Jordan and Frank as your wingmen. Although, it should be noted that Brian Hill left this offseason to go to Detroit. While correlation does not equal causation, I think it should be noted how valuable having good assistant coaches is to a team.

Putting the praise and the excuses aside, I cannot oppose his firing. I don't care who you are or what your roster is, an 0-16 record is indefensible. At that point, you need to try everything. But, I had mixed feelings with Kiki coming in to coach.

The "rumored" story goes like this - Kiki never liked Frank. Then Kiki would whisper to Devin Harris about Frank. Harris became the leader of the revolution. Unfortunately, the only people on his side were clowns like Bobby Simmons, Sean Williams, and Eduardo Najera. Since he was fired last Sunday, Frank has become a basketball martyr and Kiki has been painted as a scheming egotist. Is any of this true? I have no idea. But, through my years of watching and reading about the NBA, I have learned one thing - believe every single rumor you hear (even the ones that contradict each other).

I have met both Frank and Kiki in the past, and definitely was more impressed with Frank. He was more friendly and very attentive - I felt like he really listened to what I was saying. Kiki struck me as humorless and slightly defensive. So, while I didn't want to start rooting against the Nets' new coach before he even took the court, my guard was up. This article didn't exactly inspire me either. Shooting free throws for half of practice? Getting laughed at by Doug Moe? This did not sound like a recipe for success.

But, talk is cheap. And all that matters is the Nets have that new number in the left hand column of the standings. Is this another dead coach bounce like critics of Lawrence Frank have claimed in the past? It is hard to say, but it is suspicious that Kiki took over before a stretch of "winnable" games, as opposed to taking over Wednesday at Dallas. I will be on high-alert should more "evil Kiki" stories arise, but for now I have no complaints with the man.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Eighteen, I Get Confused Everyday



Eighteen. I just don't know what to say.

I've gotta get out of this place. I'll go running in outer space.

Well, I've been in New Orleans the past week, but returned home. Boy, did I miss quite a weekend. I'm going to ditch the "Three Point Land" format, since everybody already knows the scores and the games. But, I will be updating the blog regularly, at least every three games (if not more).

The Nets are now the greatest of all losers. It is quite an accomplishment. As a fan, I know I am powerless. I am not personally involved with the team's performance in any tangible way. So, rationally, I should be able to let this slide and get on with my day. Unfortunately, that's not the case.

Every time something awful happens to another team in sports, I do get a sense of joy. "Schadenfreude" is not quite the correct word, as I am not actively rooting for these events to happen. It was wonderful watching the Mavs lose to the Warriors, and the Detroit Lions go 0-16. Hell, I even found some satisfaction in the Yankees blowing a 3-0 lead against Boston, even though I am a Yankees fan. Why?

Because at least these things did not happen to the Nets.

Now, I cannot say that. The Nets were always able to skirt by the public with a low profile. Last week, I compared their franchise history to the Knicks and Magic. Both teams have had ups and downs, but the last 20 years of each franchise has been pretty unremarkable.

But, yesterday the Nets entered the record book as the first team to start 0-18. And, I have a feeling they will be entering the record book again at the end of the season. They are now in the rankings of the Clippers, Cubs, Pirates, Lions, etc. The feeling is pretty awful.

As a fan, the natural instinct is to find a scapegoat. And really, at 0-18, everyone is guilty in some degree. Management blamed ex-coach Frank, who I will discuss this weekend, after Coach Kiki's first game. The more I read about that whole situation, the more complicated it becomes. Ex-players like Kidd and Martin have blamed Ratner. I hate that guy as well, but aside from the Summer of 2004, he has been pretty hands-off. Sure, the Nets were working with a limited budget, but so are 75% of the other teams in the NBA.

For now, my blame on this goes to Rod Thorn. He has always been savvy with the media - I think his folksy drawl weakens their defenses. I'll admit, he's a hard man to criticize. But, in 2004 and 2007, he acted like a crooked Wall Street CEO, making rash short-term decisions that have finally caught up with him in the long-term. I speak, of course, of Richard Jefferson's and Vince Carter's contract extensions.

In 2004, after losing Kenyon Martin, fans were fuming, and Thorn panicked. He exceedingly overpaid Richard Jefferson to the tune of $78 million over six years. In 2007, in a bidding war with nobody, Thorn extended an aging Vince Carter for $60 million over four years. The latter contract pissed off Kidd, destroying the 2007-08 season and forcing this rebuilding process to occur. These two contracts became albatrosses, and the team had to gut its talent to take them off the books. Basically, the Nets let their second-best player, emotional leader, and starting power forward go to overpay their small forward, and resigned a shooting guard to sell a few tickets instead of their franchise changing point guard.

But, the blame game sucks. I'd rather play Hungry Hungry Hippos.

Anyway, I try to remain annoyingly positive, as this too shall pass. The previous record holder was the 88-89 Miami Heat, and they ended up winning a championship 17 years later. (What? They beat the Nets in the second round that year with dicey calls and a dumb suspension on Cliff Robinson? Fuck. Let me do another example).

The worst team of all-time is the 72-73 Sixers, and they won a championship ten years later. (What? They won because the Nets had to sell them their franchise leader and future Hall of Famer Julius Erving? Um...)

....

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Go West, Life Is Peaceful There - 3PL, 11/19 to 11/26



Happy Thanksgiving, Nets fans! And, happy birthday to the most handsome Nets blogger: Me!

At this point, I think all Nets fans need to just go with the flow. Just sit back, and let the current take you away. Many people are under the impression that if a team plays enough games, they are "due" a win. Fact is: the other team wants to win, too. The NBA is not a charity. The losers, such as the Nets, will be beat into submission.

They are the 2008 Lions. Accept it, and let us move on to next season.

Record Needed To Avoid Being The Worst NBA Team Ever: 10-57 (0.149)

November 21st - vs. New York, 91-98 Loss

The Knicks are my least favorite team in the league. Not because of their personnel, but because of the way their fans and media treat them. There is a sense of entitlement, that the Knicks deserve to be a good team. They believe that they are on the same level as the Bulls, Lakers, and Celtics.

This is all complete bullshit. The last time the Knicks won a title, the NBA talent was being diluted by the ABA, and I was minus 10 years old. Nobody under 40 remembers them being a champion. When it comes to being a "storied franchise", they have accomplished just as much as the Nets. Don't believe me? Let's compare

An up-and-down decade? Both did this in the 80s.

A decade of suckitude? The Nets did this in the 90s, and the Knicks did this in the 00s.

A decade of dominance, marked by a few division titles and two Eastern Conference championships, but losing in the Finals both times? The Nets did this in the 00s, and the Knicks did this in the 90s. On a side note, I am much more impressed by the Nets playoff runs, as they never, ever choked. The Nets never lost a playoff series where they had home-court advantage. In fact, they won two great series as underdogs - the first round in 2007 versus Toronto, and the conference finals in 2003 versus Detroit. They could never match the choke artistry of the 1995 Knicks.

A number 1 draft pick expected to be the franchise savior, but just went on to be a disappointment? The Nets had two swings at this - Derrick Coleman and Kenyon Martin. The Knicks only had Patrick Ewing, but hung onto him way too long.

So, clearly, when you think about the Knicks, please just lump them in with the Nets. Or the dozens of other teams that have a similar history - like the Magic, Jazz, Mavericks, Trailblazers, etc.

November 24th - At Denver, 87-101 Loss

And so begins the Nets annual western road trip. More on it below. But, in this "recap", I have to talk about the Denver Nuggets a bit. I am strongly against rooting for two teams, but as I realized in the playoffs, I like the Denver Nuggets. I will crown them the official Slippery When Nets Second Favorite Team Award As Long As The Nets Are Not Competing With Them for 2010. The SWNSFTAALATNANCWT10 for short. And here are the reasons why:

- The Nets and Nuggets have no discernible rivalry as far as I can tell. Can anyone name a classic game these two teams have played? If you select a second favorite team, the first imperative is that they cannot be considered a rival in any sense. So that eliminates all division teams, most Eastern Conference teams, and definitely the Spurs and the Lakers.

- KEN-YON MAR-TIN! I still love this guy.

- Back when I started following basketball in the mid-90s, I gravitated toward Orlando. But, my second favorite team back then? The Seattle Supersonics. Shawn Kemp was my man (also born today!), but I enjoyed watching their chubby little coach. Said chubby coach is now on Denver, and, god bless him, still choking in the playoffs.

- The fourth and final reason for choosing the Nuggets: a franchise history very similar to the Nets. Both were ABA brethren, both have had Kiki come in and raze the franchise to the ground, both have had little postseason success until trading for a franchise point guard, etc. The parallels are eerie.

All this being said, I still rooted my heart out for the Nets to win this game. Unfortunately, I still have yet to figure out how to control events that I am not tangibly involved in.

November 25th - At Portland, 83-93 Loss

OK, back to the Nets' dreaded western road trip. It always happens during the Thanksgiving holiday, as the Izod Center is occupied by Disney On Ice.



Which brings up an interesting question: What will happen when the Nets move to Brooklyn (or, perhaps to the Prudential Center)? In a "normal" season, the Nets will start out pretty average, but then lose momentum with this trip. But, since Disney won't be kicking them out of the house, could the western trip be moved back to later in the season, allowing them to grow better as a team and gain more confidence? Could this change the dynamic of the Nets as we know it? I mean, the Nets have only won over 50 games once, and clearly, this western road trip is to blame. It is something to think about for the future.

Random Thought: I'm turning 25 today, and this will be the first year of my life where the Nets have less wins than my age.

On that note, enjoy the holidays, folks!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Three Point Land - November 14th through November 18th

It's over. Revising my prediction YET AGAIN! I originally predicted 25 wins, then chopped that in half to 12 wins. Now?

Six.

Trust me, I am not overreacting, or trying some lame reverse jinx. Given what has happened this season, and the effort I have seen from the players and coaching staff, I am not convinced there are ANY games the Nets can win this season.

People will say they have tons of injuries, and when they get healthy, they will win. Well, my argument is two-pronged. First, you cannot assume that when the other players get healthy, the current players will ALSO stay healthy. Guys like Rafer Alston, Trenton Hassell, and Eduardo Najera are very old, and should not be logging huge minutes. Case in point: Najera went down as soon as CDR came back. Also, players are not normally at full strength after coming back from injury, so the working them back up to speed will take longer.

But, the more depressing thing is: look who we are counting on to save our season. Yi Jianlian. Courtney Lee. Jarvis Hayes. Devin is fine, but these guys aren't going to make us instant winners again. To paraphrase Rick Pitino: Jason Kidd isn't walking through that door. Richard Jefferson isn't walking through that door. Kenyon Martin isn't walking through that door. They are an awful team now, and will still be very bad even at full strength.

Record Needed To Avoid Being The Worst NBA Team Ever: 10-60 (0.143)

Anyway, onto the recaps, which will, unfortunately, have more venting.

November 14th - At Miami, 80-81 Loss

Yet another game I didn't watch, because I was out eating sushi and drinking sake. However, that did not stop my phone from being inundating with calls and texts from my fellow Nets fans. I am an atheist, but thank Jeebus I didn't watch this game. My friends called this one of the most frustrating losses they ever saw. Clearly, they have short memories, as from what I can tell, the Minnesota loss to open the season was way worse - blowing a huge lead, and losing to a bad team.

November 17th - vs. Indiana, 83-91 Loss

OK, I was very excited about this game. First, I loved the Nets marketing campaign:



Oh man, how could you see that and NOT get pumped. 10 IS ENOUGH! PACK THE IZOD! FUCK YEAH!

Well, I did go to pack the Izod, which was still probably three-quarters empty. And, let me sum this one up: Ten was not enough.

The Pacers started with a 9-0 run, and never looked back. This loss, to me, was more disappointing than the Miami loss. There was no effort, no heart, no glimmer of hope. It was after this game that I revised my prediction and wrote the opening to this article (before even accounting for the inevitable loss at Milwaukee).

And, a special note to Brook Lopez: WAKE UP! Seriously, enough with the 20-footers. Hibbert took you to school in this game with - get this - POST MOVES! A tall guy using his height and strength to play inside? A novel idea, Brook. You might want to look into it.

November 18th - At Milwaukee, 85-99 Loss

Basically, I'm all vented out at this point. I missed this game due to the comedy class, but was able to write the above entries and opening without knowing the outcome of this game. You see, there is no reason to have any confidence they will win. They will be record-settingly bad.

I'm sorry if this entry depressed my loyal readers, but it is the truth. They are the 2008 Lions. I had not fully come to terms with this earlier, but now I have. I've said my piece, and I will move on. Future entries will go back to their normal, funnier tone.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Three Point Land - November 7th through November 13th

So far this season, the Nets have lost players due to a sore knee, a strained right groin, a strained left groin, a strained hamstring, a sore hip, and a sprained MCL. Oh yeah, and swine flu. The reason behind all this? My guess is a band of gypsies that Mikhail Prokhorov pissed off has cursed the team. Anyway, let's get right down to the nitty-gritty.

Record Needed To Avoid Being The Worst NBA Team Ever: 10-63 (0.136)

November 7th - vs. Boston, 75-86 Loss

As mentioned in the previous post, I was in the happiest place in New Jersey last Saturday: Atlantic City! I stayed at the El Dorado Motel, which had almost two stars on Hotels.com! Highlights of the trip included:

- My friend OB devouring a mashed potato "sundae" at the buffet. Basically, to find the potatoes, one would have to dig through a mountain of gravy, cheese, and bacon. My arteries clogged just watching him eat it.

- Not losing! Between two trips to Vegas and about a half-dozen trips to Atlantic City, blackjack has gotten me well over four figures in the hole. However, I only played sparingly this trip, and ended up nearly $40. Rather than gamble, I refocused my energy on drinking - where nobody loses!

- The drinking eventually led to dancing to "Poison" by Bell Biv DeVoe at vacant card tables at the Tropicana. That's what I love about casinos - as long as you aren't being violent or naked, they will allow you pretty much to act as zany as you want. However, I did end up seeing a catfight at the Tropicana later that night.

- Most importantly, I missed watching the Nets! From the sounds of it, our boys put up a good fight, but a short bench means more minutes, which means players get tired by the end. It is encouraging to see that they aren't getting blown-out all the time, but man, you can only have so many "moral victories" before needing to have one of those...what do you call them...oh yeah, REAL victories.

November 11th - vs. Philadelphia, 79-82 Loss

Eight is enough! Another game I missed, due to it being on Wednesday. You see, I signed up for a 6-week comedy class on Wednesday evenings, and had no idea it would conflict with the Nets games so much. I never really paid attention to what days of the week the Nets played, but here is the breakdown:

Sundays: 8

Mondays: 7

Tuesdays: 10

Wednesdays: 24

Thursdays: 0

Fridays: 17

Saturdays: 16

Thursday is absent because of TNT's stranglehold on the night. I think this teaches an important lesson to all fans of shitty basketball teams: plan your nights away from the TV on Thursdays.

November 13th - At Orlando, 72-88 Loss

I only watched the first half of this game, because I had made plans to go out. Again, looking at the schedule, Fridays and Saturdays have the second and third most scheduled Nets games, so having a social life is not in a Nets fan's best interest.

During the first half, when the Nets were up 10, I told my roommate: "It will be close until half-time, and then Orlando will pull away in the third." As much as I hate it, I'm proud to chalk this up to my other correct predictions this year, such as blowing the lead versus Minnesota and being fearful of the backcourt depth.

Random Thought: LeBron James announced he was changing his number from #23 to #6. It is interesting, because the Nets have #23 already retired (in honor of John Williamson). Currently, Courtney Lee wears #6. However, early mock-ups of the reversible jersey promo had Courtney Lee wearing #33. Why the switch to #6? Did they consult with LeBron before? Conspiracy theorists, go!

The Future Three: The suffering cannot continue much longer, right? Miami (tonight) will be tough. But, two days of rest and at home for Indiana? With possibly Devin Harris and Courtney Lee returning? That game is, dare I say, a must win! After that, they are on the road versus Milwaukee. These are two winnable games, and if this team has any heart (and, more importantly, if they can stay healthy), they will win one. But, as any Nets fan knows, always expect the worst.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Three Point Land - November 2nd through November 6th

This team is breaking me. I'm getting legitimately worried that this might be the worst team in NBA history. Let me halve my prediction from 25 wins to 12 wins. Here's the tracker:

Record Needed To Avoid Being The Worst NBA Team Ever: 10-66 (0.131).

Injuries have taken their toll, and the countdown to Johnny Wall and/or LeBron James has begun. I can't even enjoy watching these games right now, so let me tell you what I have been doing instead.

November 2nd - At Charlotte, 68-79 Loss

Like a moron, I had a really good feeling about this. So much so, I wagered my pennies on the Nets to win at centsports.com. I watched the first half, and, while ugly, the Nets were up, and I felt supremely confident. With the Nets leading (and the Yankees up 1-0), I left to see the Fuck Buttons at Bowery Ballroom.

Little did I realize the doom that would descend upon both teams. A 24-0 run. 10 minutes without scoring. Yi getting hurt for a month. It was the worst of times, it was the worst of times. This game could not have gone any worse. At the concert, I was constantly checking my phones for updates. This is not a good strategy, as I nearly smashed the machine in disgust.

November 4th - vs. Denver, 94-122 Loss

Game? What game? I was out at the bars in Midtown, spending too much money (the damage came to about $80), BUT...I was watching champions! 27 baby!

(OK, everyone who knows me knows I don't give two shits about baseball. Although, my team has been the Yankees, if anything because they are closest to where I live, and they have the same team colors as my two other favorites - the Nets and the Giants. However, with the Nets setting franchise records in futility, and the Giants struggling for God knows why, I definitely overcompensated by following the relatively stress-free Yankees this post-season.)

November 6th - At Philadelphia, 94-97 Loss

Unlike the last two games, I actually sat down and watched this game, from soup to nuts. This was completely against my better judgment. At half-time, down only three, I got the sinking feeling this game would break my heart (again). And guess what?

I'm going to Atlantic City today. I cannot watch the Celtics game. The roster is completely depleted, and so am I. I'm conceding the next 4 games. Hopefully, November 17th at home against Indiana will be a win. Hopefully.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Three Point Land - October 28th through November 1st

Well, this is my first blogging season, and I was not sure how to handle it. I do not have the time to recap and analyze every game, and, as my regular readers know, I suck at game analysis. However, what I will (try) to do this season is a new feature called "Three Point Land", where I will just say whatever thoughts I've been able to garner over three games. Here we go!

October 28th - At Minnesota, 93-95 Loss

Man, it is GOOD to have basketball back in my life. Frankly, I was sick of football by week one, and, according to how they schedule the World Series, we still have three more months of baseball. New season, new opportunities!

However, the Nets know how to suck the joy out of everything. I was out at a comedy class earlier in the night, and came back to catch the entire fourth quarter. Immediately when I turned on the game, I did not like the body language. It seemed like they were playing not to lose. When the Nets were leading 87-75 with six minutes left, I turned to my roommate and said, "I think we're going to blow this game." He said I was being crazy. I'm not normally right about things, and I hate it when I am.

Man, though, Jonny Flynn is AMAZING. Also, I think it was pretty clear that Kurt Rambis had an axe to grind against Lawrence Frank for shattering his record for most consecutive wins by a new head coach.

The good thing about doing this blog is how cathartic is it. The Nets used to frustrate me immensely - so much so that a bad loss could ruin my night. But, recently, I have been feeling at peace with this crazy team. Until the end of that first game. I seriously considered posting that night, but figured nobody wanted to read my bitter tears in blog form. Plus, there's only so many ways to write "FUCK THIS TEAM!!!!"

October 30th - Orlando, 85-95 Loss

After that opening game (combined with the rape-down Orlando laid on Philly), I figured I was walking into an execution. However, I read the excerpts from the Tim Donaghy book, in which he accused Dick Bavetta of favoring the lesser teams to keep a close game. Needless to say, Dick Bavetta was reffing this game, and the Nets were never completely out of it until the end. Coincidence?

I was also at this game. The atmosphere is getting more depressing - seeing four entire sections closed off did not help. Vince received a nice applause, although I was not at my seat at the time. The half-price food was good, and helped offset the cost of the much-needed alcohol. This loss was much easier to digest than the first one with a mild buzz going on.

October 31st - At Washington, 104-123 Loss

OK, I didn't watch a minute of the game. The box score suggests I didn't miss much. Not that I'm the coolest guy in the world (I think I'm as cool as a Nets blogger can be), but it was Halloween Saturday in New York City - there were way more awesome things to do than watch my awful team. I dressed as Elvis! And drank and ate candy! Sweet!

Random Thought: The Nets' slogan is More Than A Game. The LeBron James documentary is called More Than A Game. Hm...

The Future Threes: I think the Nets will get their first win of the tonight against Charlotte. Book it! Followed by two more abortions against Denver and Philly. Three down, only 79 more to go...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pacific Division Previews

The season is underway, but there's still time to preview the season! Click away!

Golden State Warriors Previews
Golden State of Mind

Los Angeles Clippers Previews
Clips Nation

Los Angeles Lakers Previews
Silver Screen and Roll
With Malice
NBA Tipoff
Hoops Addict
Forum Blue and Gold

Phoenix Suns Previews
Bright Side of the Sun
Binary Basketball

Sacramento Kings Previews
Sactown Royalty
Basketball Fiend
Cowbell Kingdom

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

You Have Nothing Better To Do On A Friday

Seriously, you don't. Trust me, I know my demographic, and if you are reading this, you probably can't tell me something that is more interesting than going to a Nets game on a Friday. I have already my tickets (Section 117, Row 16!), but something tells me that you may not. What can you do?

Well, there's this site called Fanrates.com, which has a system of getting tickets at reduced costs, straight from the teams themselves (rather than the bartering system used on sites like Stubhub). Plus, they've got this nifty logo that makes good use of the iconic foam-fingered fan:



I mean, just look at the rates to Nets games. Many tickets are 50% off. For my money, I'd go for the $21 seats. Then, at the end of the first quarter, go down to the lower section and tell the security guard a riddle. Might I suggest:

Brothers and sisters, I have none.
But this man's father is my father's son.


(Hint: It's you!)

While he is distracted, sneak down to the seats closer to the court. Bingo! Discount ticket for AMAZING seats! All thanks to Fanrates.com and me!

Also, if you somehow can't make it Friday, Fanrates.com is doing a special offer where all tickets you buy in November will get you a free ticket to the Jazz game on December 16th. It has never been cheaper to be a Nets fan.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It's Nets Season Eve!

Did you hang up your basketball socks by the fire? Have you been good fans all offseason? It is Nets Season Eve, and I'm pumped. However, prior plans means I can't watch tomorrow night's game. Bummer. But, I have tickets to Friday's game, and the return of Half-Prodigal Son, Half-Blame Him For Everything Wrong With the NBA. I'll be in Section 117, Row 16, on the end. So, if you are not a crazy stalker (and maybe if you are), stop by and see me.

Last week, I had an awesome give-away for awesome tickets at The Rock. Now, the Nets are flirting with a potential move to Newark temporarily until the Brooklyn arena is built. Coincidence, or a sign of the massive power that Slipperywhennets.com is attaining? I think the answer is quite clear. While I usually get my predictions wrong, I did say that the best way to keep the Nets in New Jersey was to go to the Newark preseason games.

(On a side note, I did not learn my lesson from my prediction failures, and participated in an over/under game with other Nets bloggers on Nets Are Scorching. Feel free to click, then point and laugh.)

Anyway, onto some of the photos from our winners. Here's Mark Hand's photos. He had some camera difficulties, but like Angus MacGyver, he was able to work with what he had:





Mark said he spent a lot of time in the lounge areas of the concourse. It looks pretty swanky here. The Izod Center has places like this (which I chronicled here), but they are not open to everybody.





A couple nice action shots, but it is missing a certain something...



There we go! Thanks, Mark!

The other winner was Denis Jatsiv. Let's see what he provided me...



...

Clearly, Mark got the memo about cheerleader pics, and Denis did not.

(Just kidding! I love the Nets Senior Dance Team! Go see Gotta Dance, available on DVD!)



Anyone who knows me knows my love of shiny lights. That's why I moved even closer to Times Square. This is one sweet scoreboard.



Woah, was there a fight in this game that I wasn't aware of?





I love the look of the players on the Nets' bench in these two photos. Basically, the poses of Brook Lopez in picture 1, Sean Williams in picture 2, and Josh Boone in picture 2 are the only three poses I have while I'm at work.

Anyway, thanks for the photos guys.

Let the games begin. My brother's prediction was 8 wins, my mom's prediction was 83. My prediction? Pain.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Northwest Division Previews!

I've got some great pics from the lucky contest winners, and I'll have the goods up this weekend. Until then, go visit these awesome team previews from the Northwest division:

Denver Nuggets Previews
Denver Stiffs
The Nugg Doctor

Minnesota Timberwolves Previews
Canis Hoopus
Empty The Bench
Twolves Blog

Zombie Sonics Previews
Blue Blitz
Daily Thunder

Portland Trail Blazers Previews
Blazers Edge
A Stern Warning
Rip City Project
Blaze of Love
Busta Bucket
Trail Post

Utah Jazz Previews
SLC Dunk
True Blue Jazz

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

SLIPPERYWHENNETS DOT BLOGSPOT NO MORE!

You smell that? That's the smell of legitimacy. Or $10 wasted.

Yes, I am now at Slipperywhennets.com! Like a big boy site!

Also, please send your future e-mails and love letters to slipperywhennets (at) gmail.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Contest Over!

No more e-mails, please. I've already found two lucky fans to venture to Newark for the game.

Preseason Hype: YOUR Turn!

"Do you want to take my picture? Because I can't remember." - Filter



Above are the shattered remains of my digital camera screen. I had gone to 3 Bruce Springsteen shows out of 5 in Giants Stadium earlier this month, and by the third show, The Boss had rocked me so hard that he shattered the camera screen. The camera was a free gift I won at work, so do not cry for me. This tragedy has created opportunity!

You see, I have access to FOUR Nets tickets tomorrow at the Prudential Center in Newark. And, I am just giving them away! There are two things you must do, so follow carefully:

1. E-mail me at rory (dot) toohey (at) gmail.

2. Take a lot of pictures when you go to the game. I need you to be my eyes (being my ears, mouth, and nose is optional). I'm pretty sure I know how the game is going to go anyway: Nets play well in the first half, bench their starters, then blow a lead as Bobby Simmons goes 0-23. E-mail me your pictures, and I'll post them on the blog, perhaps with some commentary.

That's all it takes. So, I will open this up to the FIRST two people, and each person will get two tickets each.

So what are you waiting for?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Central Division Previews!

Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. Time, once again, to study the opposition and figure out how to lose gracefully to them.

Chicago Bulls Previews
Blogabull.com
Give Me The Rock

Cleveland LeBroniers Previews
Fear The Sword
Waiting For Next Year
Cavalier Attitude

Detroit Pistons Previews
Motown String Music
Empty The Bench
Pistons Nation
Need4Sheed.com

Indiana Whiteys Previews
Indy Cornrows

Milwaukee Bucks Previews
Brew Hoop

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Preseason Hype: The Backcourt

One thing I've learned as a basketball fan is that preseason performances usually mean jack shit. However, I can't help but getting myself worked up over certain aspects of preseason each year. This month, I'll interject with random ramblings based on meaningless exhibition games.

The Hype:Boy, is there a glut in the backcourt! The Nets might be the deepest team in the point guard, shooting guard, and small forward positions. Between those three positions, there are eight players - young and old - jockeying for playing time. All of them have legitimate cases to earn over 20 minutes a game. Let's run it down:

Devin Harris: The current face of the franchise, the All-Star, and one of only two guaranteed starters on the roster.

Courtney Lee: A starter on an NBA Finals team who was traded for a franchise superstar and expected to fill his big shoes. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that Devin Harris' story?

Chris Douglas-Roberts: Had an unimpressive rookie year, but has been playing very well this preseason. Without consistent playing time, the Nets will not figure out what they have in him.

Keyon Dooling: He put in a terrific season last year, probably one of the best by a Nets backup point guard in a decade. He's battling a hip injury, but should be fine for the season opener.

Rafer Alston: Another starter from last year's Eastern Conference champions. He's the oldest of this bunch, but can still start on many teams.

Terrence Williams: The first-round pick receiving a lot of hype. "The Superstar of Practice". He'll probably get limited minutes at first, but needs to have opportunity to grow.

Jarvis Hayes, Bobby Simmons: Two players who can do yeoman's work at the small forward (and in Simmons case, occasionally power forward) position. They probably will not be on the team next year, but they provide veteran presence, and will need to play to make sure the Nets aren't blow out every game.

Having too much depth is a wonderful problem to have, and it will be interesting to see how Lawrence Frank plays them, or who Rod Thorn trades.

The Reality: Depth can disappear quickly. In 2003, after re-signing Jason Kidd and signing Alonzo Mourning, the Nets were stuck with three starting centers - Jason Collins, Alonzo Mourning, and Dikembe Mutumbo. So Rod Thorn bought out Mutumbo. Then, within a month, Alonzo Mourning went out for the season, and the Nets' depth went from three to one.

Players WILL get hurt. Courtney Lee has been nicked up all preseason. Devin Harris has had some ankle issues the last two years. Dooling is recovering from a hip injury. Rafer and Simmons are getting older.

Furthermore, the young players MAY be awful. Delano and Terrence-osaurus are producing in preseason, but it is only that - preseason. When the lights turn on, they could wilt. Furthermore, the older players may find themselves in decline.

So, while this looks very deep in these positions on paper, this competitive advantage could quickly disappear in the regular season. But hey, it is preseason, which means it is Team Hype time.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Southwest Division Previews

Apparently, not only are there other teams in other divisions besides the Atlantic, but there is also another conference! I vaguely recall some of these teams, but I suggest you also read up on the following teams by using these links:

The Dallas Owner-Looks-Poor-Compared-To-Provhorov-icks Previews
Mavs Moneyball
The Two Man Game
NBA Mate

The Houston Rockets Previews
The Dream Shake
Ballerblogger

The Memphis Grizzlies Previews
Three Shades of Blue

How is Byron Scott Still Coaching This Team? Previews
At the Hive
Hornets Hype

Richard Jefferson's Home (At Least For This Year) Previews
Pounding the Rock
Project Spurs

Wonderful! Keep checking back for more previews (and, also, the stuff I write about too).

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Preseason Hype: Brook Lopez


One thing I've learned as a basketball fan is that preseason performances usually mean jack shit. However, I can't help but getting myself worked up over certain aspects of preseason each year. This month, I'll interject with random ramblings based on meaningless exhibition games.

The Hype: Over the years, Nets fans have been seen all shapes and sizes of basketball players. There are those who truly suck, such as Soumaila Samake and Brandon Armstrong. We see those who get much hype, but never live up to it - your Hassan Adamses and Zoran Planicics.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are the players who are solid for several years, but never quite All-Stars (Richard Jefferson, Kerry Kittles). Then, you have your All-Stars - Devin Harris, Kenyon Martin, Vince Carter. And, finally, you have your Hall-of-Famer, the MVP candidate, the player who will lead your team to new heights and who you will be telling your grandchildren about when you are wallowing in senility. So far, only Jason Kidd belongs in this class.

So, I know I just explained the obvious - there are good and bad basketball players. Big revelation. Where am I going with this? Well, I like to think that, over the years, you can begin to identify the potential of where the players on your team, and how they will eventually be remembered. Devin Harris is already an All-Star, but I doubt he will reach the next echelon. But Brook Lopez?

I have to say, this preseason, he has looked absolutely scary. He looks like a man amongst boys, just scoring inside at will. There are a lot of comparisons to Tim Duncan, which sounds absurd, but he definitely has the body, and is younger than Tim Duncan was when he entered the NBA. Right now, I have a feeling in gut that Brook Lopez might be the next Hall-of-Fame Nets player, and we'll be seeing number 11 in the rafters in 20 years.

The Reality: OK, snap out of it. It is just TWO fucking preseason games, against teams with weak front lines. We will see how he does against the bigger teams in the NBA. Also, as his play improves, teams will start to shift their game plan to shut him down. Finally, a truly transformational player needs to make his teammates better, and I have not seen that yet in Brook's game.

But, there's hope. In a season that most pundits have written off as a rebuilding year (including myself), it will be interesting to see Brook's progression. Will he stall out, ala Al Horford, and not make a significant improvement? Or will he go where I think (well, "hope" might be more appropriate) he will - on a course to Springfield, Massachusetts?

But, as of now it is just...Preseason Hype.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Atlantic Division Previews



You people read my sexy Nets preview this past week, now go ahead and educate yourself about the rest of the Nets' division rivals.

Celtics Previews
Celtics Blog
Loy's Place
Celtics 17
Red's Army
Hoops Addict
Celtics Central
Celtics Hub
Gino's Jungle

Nets Previews
Mine!
Barkley's Mouth

Knicks (BOO!) Previews
Posting and Toasting
Bandwagon Knick

76ers Previews
Liberty Ballers

Raptors Previews
RaptorsHQ.com
Hoops Addict

Wow, that's a lot of Celtics bloggers. Anyway, make with the clicking!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Me to Nets Marketing Department: "WTF dudes?"

Nets fans were taken through a loop when Brett Yormark announced the Reversible Jersey idea. I have already explained this concept ad nausem. However, in all the promotions, all you saw were "artist's concepts" of the jerseys. Well, at the Nets Open Practice in Ramapo on Saturday, I got to see them first hand...brace yourselves:





As always, click on the images to see a bigger picture.

Ugh. These things look incredibly shitty. If you've ordered them thinking you would wear them and be instantly mistaken for LeBron James, you are shit out of luck. These look like cheap intramural jerseys! The jerseys are basically see-through mesh, and do not have any of the piping and details seen in authentic jerseys. So, way to go, Yormark - you not only pissed off fans who didn't like the idea, but these lackluster replicas will piss off those in support of the idea!

Other thoughts from the open practice: Chris Douglas-Roberts looked fantastic, Terrence-osaurus can handle the ball, don't believe the Yi hype, and Tony Sweet Battie looks incredibly gimpy. But, others have delved into this more deeply, so check Netsdaily for links to better analysis than mine. Meanwhile, I will leave you with some candid photos.

Lawrence Frank coaching:



Hassell, Brook, and Boone:



Terrence tucking in his jersey:



SWat, Courtney, and Frank have chat:



CDR addresses the crowd:



(Just a programming note as well: With the season getting underway, I will try to post more often, so keep checking back. I will probably deviate from the Monday schedule, but will have a minimum of one new update a week. Thank you for your continued support!)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Everything You Wanted to Know About the 2009 Nets...But Had Better Things To Do Than Ask

Team Name: Brooklyn New Jersey Nets

Last Year’s Record: 34-48

Key Losses: Vince Carter, Ryan Anderson, Trust of the Fanbase, $25 Million

Key Additions: Courtney Lee, Terrence Williams, a scary Russian Billionaire, Ridiculous Marketing Decisions

1. What Significant Moves were made during the off-season?

This summer was a relaxing one for the Nets management. Team President Rod Thorn and General Manager Kiki Vandeweghe spent the summer in Sandy Hook, chasing girls in their Camaro while blasting Sugar Ray's Greatest Hits. Their blissful summer nights consisted of laying on the roof of the car, drinking warm beer, and discussing how small they were in the universe. Owner Bruce Ratner tried to start his own lemonade stand, but did not have enough money to buy one of those "LEMONADE" signs with the "E"s turned backwards. VP of Marketing Brett Yormark's summer was sponsored by Coca-Cola, Coppertone, and Stiletto's on Paterson Plank Road!



Also, Vince Carter was traded to Orlando. They have cap space for two max free agents in 2010. And there's a new Russian owner. Yeah I know - YAWN!

2. What are the team’s biggest strengths?

As Michael Scott once said, "My weaknesses are actually my strengths." It is very appropriate when describing this team. The Nets have a lot of youth, and a lot of cap space. Basically, the pieces are aligning for a serious run at the top free agents in the summer of 2010. The new owner, Mikhail Prokhorov, is now the richest owner in the NBA, which could help in the future as well.

As for the roster itself, they may be set for the future at two key positions, with Brook Lopez and Devin Harris manning the center and point guard roles. Courtney Lee showed some flashes with Orlando last season, and he, along with Keyon Dooling, Chris Douglas-Roberts, and Skip To My Lou, will be asked to pick up the scoring load with the departure of Vince Carter. Terrence Williams is also getting some preseason buzz, as well.

3. What are the team’s biggest weaknesses?

Basically, the front-court is abysmal. Simmons and Hayes should do a yeoman's job handling the small forward position, but the Nets lack a true power forward. Yi Jianlian is the best one on the roster, and he shot 38% from the field, played very poor defense, and was frequently benched in favor of Ryan Anderson (a key loss in the Vince Carter trade). Josh Boone lost all confidence last season, and has become a complete liability on offense. Rounding out this horrific trio is Sean Williams, whose off-court rap sheet is growing longer by the day (which I chronicled here). This is a roster hole you can drive a truck through.

Other issues lie in areas such as the team's lack of experience and poor defense. But, basically, with so many young players on the roster, you could hit the lottery or end up back in the lottery.

Off the basketball court, the ownership change may cause some friction in the head office. Both Rod Thorn and Lawrence Frank are in the final years of their respective contracts, and the Russian may seek to replace them. This lame duck status can negatively affect the team, as it did with Byron Scott in the 2003-04 season.

4. What are the goals for this team?

The Nets need to use this season to clearly see what their assets are truly worth. Clearly, Bobby Simmons, Rafer Alston, Tony Battie, Eduardo Najera, and Trenton Hassell will not be back next year. What can Terrence Williams achieve in the league? Is Courtney Lee the starting shooting guard for the team's future? Is Yi Jianlian or Chris Douglas-Roberts worthy of a roster spot? Are Josh Boone and Sean Williams just busts, or major busts? Is there room enough to keep valuable veterans like Keyon Dooling and Jarvis Hayes around?

The way I see it, wins are an added bonus for the team this season. If the Nets go through another season and still don't know the value of their prospects, it will be a failed season.

5. So, how the hell do you get to the games?

Glad you asked! In the past, I've ranted about how the public transportation to the arena sucks. In case you don't have time to read it, here it is in a nutshell: instead of having a bus that takes you directly from New York City to the Meadowlands (as they have in previous years), they have a train that takes you from New York to Secaucus instead - which is actually taking you FURTHER AWAY from the Meadowlands. Then, you have to take a bus from there. That's New fuckin Jersey for you. But have they made any changes this year?

Well, they sure did! They instituted a rail system that takes you from the Secaucus to the Meadowlands. Which, from what I can tell, does nothing to solve the problem that YOU ARE STILL FURTHER FROM THE FUCKING MEADOWLANDS THAN YOU WOULD BE IF YOU JUST TOOK A BUS LIKE THEY USED TO HAVE! Furthermore, this rail system completely and utterly failed during a recent concert they had in U2, with many people (including myself) waiting 2 hours to get back to New York (you can read about this here and here. But, this is all for naught, as they won't be running this train during Nets games anyway. So the current situation sucks, they instituted a new solution, which sucks, and then they aren't going to use it. I'm so glad I moved out of that shitty state so my taxes don't go to utter waste like this. Instead, I now pay for governors to buy prostitutes! I can't wait for the Nets to move to Brooklyn, so people can actually get to the games.

Projected Finish: Loyal readers know I suck at predictions. So, I am not going to put much thought into this. How about...say...24-58? That do anything for you?

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Russians Have Landed

Last Wednesday, the Nets were purchased by Russian billionaire and nickel-king Mikhail Prokhorov. Since then, two things have happened: I have learned to spell his name correctly without looking it up, and I have organized my thoughts on the matter by famous Simpsons quotes!

1. "I reluctantly accept your proposal." "Well everyone always does. Buy him out boys!"

I hope smashing Bruce Ratner's office is Prokhorov's first order of business. Now that the Rat "error" has come to a close, I think Nets fans are all in agreement when I say: hit the road, fuckface.

Seriously, the one thing this guy had to do was move the team eight miles and build a new stadium. And what did he accomplish? No ground was broken. None. However, that didn't stop him from running out of money and causing the team to go from perennial contender to a lottery team due to having no budget. Not only did he bring nothing to the table, he took off all the food and silverware from the table, then burned the table to the ground and pee-peed on the ashes. ASS. HOLE.

Now, I know the Rat isn't completely gone, but he's only got a 20% stake in the Nets at the moment, so he's almost out the door.

2. "Oh I get it! I get jokes!"

Hey, did you hear that the Nets' new owner is Russian? Boy, I don't know how comedy will ever been derived from that fact....Wait, people have found clever ways to make puns about having a Russian owner?

Yes, it has been less than a week, and I'm already getting sick of these poor attempts at humor. Granted, I make many awful jokes, but at least mine make you groan on a variety of topics. Now, Nets (or should I say, Nyets!) fans must prepare themselves for Soviet-based puns. If the Nets are moving at a slow pace, expect the color commentators to say they are Stalin. But, when the pace picks up, now the Nets are Russian. You'll be laughing so hard, you'll miss the game action by wiping the tears out of your eyes.

Ooh, I got one! In Soviet Russia, annoying jokes get sick of you! Get it?

3. "We regret to announce the following lay-offs, which we will read in alphabetical order. Simpson, Homer....That is all."

Rod Thorn and Lawrence Frank are in the last years of their contracts, and, while I have no information to base this on, I have a hunch that neither one will be back. Personally, I think both have done a fine job building this team - they have young talent and plenty of cap space, so it will be a shame if they are both gone without having a chance to finish the mini-rebuilding process they embarked on in the last two seasons. But, my guess is as good as yours, so I won't delve much into who might replace them or the ramifications of losing them. I'd just be pulling that out of my ass.

4. "Well he's got all the money in the world but there's one thing he can't buy." "What's that?" "....A dinosaur."

If you read the reactions of Nets fans on the Internets (and yes, there are more of them than just me), the general reaction is positive. To sum up the general viewpoint - a rich owner means more money to lure quality free agents, which means more wins. Well, the two other richest owners are Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks and Paul Allen of the Portland Trailblazers. Do you see any rings on their fingers? How about James Dolan? In the NBA, having money does help, but it does not guarantee success. Also, there will be a huge learning curve for Prokhorov as he adjusts from managing Russian teams to American ones.

So, pencil me in as cautiously cautious. I know I ripped into Ratner, but truth be told, it still could be a lot worse than him (see Sterling, Donald). That's all I've got on this owner for now, and I'm sure I will write about him more times in the coming months. But as for now, I have to go learn the Russian curse words. Idi na xuy husesos!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Trips Through Memory Lane

We're still in the dog-days of the NBA offseason. I was able to kill time with some nicknames, but we're still over a month away from tip-off. I don't feel like analyzing a trade that may not be completed about 2016, and I don't want to talk about the possibility of a scary Russian taking over the team. So, let's dig into the memory banks, and I'll kill more time talking about my favorite season: 2001-02.

As everyone is well aware, that was the franchise's best season, and also the first time I felt "rewarded" for following the team. Not "rewarded" in the physical, "here's a reversible jersey, you gullible fool!" sense, but rather on an emotional level. Following a sports team is a thankless, one-sided relationship built on subjective loyalty and vicarious emotions. I am just a customer, paying to be entertained. But, during this season, I was able to shelve this logic and enjoy the ride.

(Also, I was 17, so my hormones were making me a seething cauldron of testosterone. Since there were no girls in my life, sports became that much more important. Although, perhaps it was because sports were so important that there were no girls in my life. Whatever. Onward!)

As the Nets piled up wins that season, they gained the attention of North Jersey. Being one of the few Nets fans at my high school, people would come up and congratulate me on the team's success, as if I had anything to do with it. People I never had much conversations with would ask me how I felt about the team's recent success. It was like I just became a father. Or, more accurately, I was the father of a perpetual fuck up, and he finally got accepted into Montclair State.

There were many landmark games in that season, but I always felt the Nets turned the page in a game I was at in January, when the Nets played the Spurs and won on a last minute Kerry Kittles drive. That's when I knew this was a potential championship team. Thinking back, there are many classic moments to choose from, such as Nets-Pacers Game 5 (as chronicled already by myself here), or Game 6 of the Nets-Celtics series.

However, the one that is overlooked is Game 4 of the 2002 Eastern Semi-Finals versus the Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets were a "dark horse" team that year, with a solid scoring attack of Baron Davis, Jamal Mashburn, and David Wesley, with solid bigs in PJ Brown, Elden Campbell, and a young Jamaal Magliore. In the previous game, the Nets lost as Jason Kidd went down in a bloody heap. He collided with David Wesley, and blood streamed out of a cut above his eye. As I watched it, I felt my heart sank. How serious was this injury? Is the season over?

But, in came our hero for Game 4, with a giant band-aid over his eyebrow. This game was on Mother's Day, and my family took my grandmother to the Meadowlands racetrack (important lesson learned: while a stroke may take away your ability to walk and talk, it can't take away your love of gambling). I've been there several times, and usually they'd have TV screens with filled with racing information, and a couple tuned to whatever local sport is on (such as baseball). This time, over a third, maybe half, the TVs were switched to the Nets game. We got a table in the Pegasus restaurant area, and switched the little TV on the table to the game. During the game, the Meadowlands staff would walk by and glance at the score on our TV. I specifically remember seeing a guy peaking over the wall separating our table from the betting section to see the game. It was the first time I felt that there was a Nets "community" - not just a few die-hards like us on the internet, but a whole area of northern NJ that legitimately wanted this team to win. Or were bandwagoners. Whatever, there's room for everybody!

Thinking back, you have to cherish moments like this. I remember watching the Denver in the playoffs this year, and they would continuously show graphics pointing out that this was the furthest Denver had gone in the playoffs in 25 years. It might be another 20 years before the Nets ever see this kind of success. But, it is memories like this (and the rest of the season) which makes the money and time wasted following sports all worthwhile. I hate to admit it, but choosing to continue to follow the Nets this season was a very difficult decision. Quite frankly, I don't trust the management to use the cap space efficiently next off-season. However, each season brings new hope...remember, there's still a chance!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Gone Podcastin' Part 4

Just a heads up everybody, yesterday I made my fourth appearance on the award-winning Brad Bogner Show. You can listen to it by going here. Make sure not to miss an episode by subscribing to it on iTunes.

Quick shout outs to Nets are Scorching and Ball Don't Lie for showing me the love this week.

Counting down the days to tip-off is extremely boring, so please e-mail me and Nets related questions/rants/haikus and I'll post them here for your amusement! E-mail address is on the sidebar.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Random Nets Crap - Nets Bobbleheads

Boy, it has been a long-ass time since I did one of these. Time to dust off the old intro:

As a long-time Nets fan, I've compiled a shitload of Nets memorabilia and freebies throughout the years. Now, feast your eyes on the more ridiculous and obscure paraphernalia in a blog feature I call....RANDOM NETS CRAP!

Ah, there. So what's on the platter?

NETS BOBBLEHEADS



As opposed to Meanie Babies, bobbleheads are a classic sporting event give-away that never goes out of style. The other week at a Mets game, I received a Frankie Rodriguez Bobblehead, with a disturbing O-face pose (I'm not going to post a pic, since this is a Nets blog. You'll just have to look at slipperywhenmets.com to find it). I'm not exactly sure when these were released, but I'm assuming sometime between 2000 and 2003. I'll run through them in the order I remember them being released, starting with the player who truly defines "bobblehead"...



Stephon Marbury

By now, most basketball fans have accepted Marbury is a basket-case, but Nets fans have known this since 1999. The Marbury days were possibly the bleakest time as a Nets fan, where there was no cap space, no young prospects, and tons of injuries. There seemed to be no light at the end of the tunnel. While this Nets season looks ominous, I definitely feel more confident about the future of the team than I did 9 years ago.

Marbury's descent into madness was only vexing in how inordinately predictable it was. The best part about Stephon Marbury's basketball career was watching the fans in Phoenix and New York talk themselves into rooting for him, just as Nets fans had done previously, and then, months later, watching their unconditional love turn into deadly venom.

By the way, the head came off of this figure years ago, I don't recall how:



I swear, this was unintentional (as I take good care of all my material possessions). But, it seems very symbolic of his future.

Oh, and he has his "Coney Island's Finest" tattoo on his bobblehead. Is that the first bobblehead with tattoos? If so, kudos to the toy designer for breaking the tattoo barrier.

Next up is Stephon Marbury's life-long friend:



Keith Van Horn

If you sift through my archives, you will find a profuse amount of words on Keith Van Horn. When I come up with a Bill Simmons-esque theory comparing Keith Van Horn to Eagle Eye Cherry, I will post it immediately. As for now, just marvel at the aesthetics of this bobblehead. When I close my eyes and think of the color white, I see this shape. A nice addition to the bobblehead (in comparison to the Stephon Marbury predecessor) is the name along the base. This way, future generations won't confuse him for other white Nets players like Boki Nachbar or Ryan Anderson.

Next up, the captain...



T.J.!

Er, uh...

Jason Kidd

You know everything I said about the Marbury Nets above? Just reverse it for the Jason Kidd Nets. Next week, I'll share my favorite Nets memory regarding Jason.

This bobblehead, however, is not one of them. Two things: they moved the ball to be in front of his jersey, so you cannot see his number; and they added a dumb little sponsor (Foot Locker). Despite this, I'll be taking much better care of this bobblehead than the two previous examples, as it might actually be worth something in 20 years. I mean, can you think of a better Nets icon to be represented in bobblehead form? Well, there is one possibility...



Sly the Silver Fox

Ah, Sly. You've gotten your own car, you're own month in a calendar, and now your own bobblehead! For a fox representing a franchise whose team name and state has no association with foxes, I'd see you've done quite well for yourself.

And, must I say, this is a sharply designed bobblehead. Yes, it does have a crappy little sponsor at the bottom. But the pose is cool, the blue uniform is snazzier than the tighty whiteys, and the silver lettering is a nice touch.

Since these four, I cannot recall more Nets bobbleheads. They had a Vince Carter one the other year, but it was a smaller one that is not in scale with classic bobbleheads (I ended up breaking that one, unfortunately). With attendance numbers sagging, I say it is time to bring back the bobbleheads! I'm sure it would get a more positive reception than that damn reversible jersey idea.