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One Way To Go

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 12/8/2010 1:10:32 PM

They say sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you can get better and last year the New Jersey Nets did just that struggling to the worst record in the National Basketball Association but a new dawn has hit the boys from the Garden State.

It helps to have a guy controlling the strings to have deep pockets and the Nets new owner, Mikhail Prokhorov, has the biggest pockets in maybe all of sports, as he is a Russian billionaire, as in B.

After a long search, the Nets settled on Avery Johnson as their new coach and he has his team playing hard every single night so far already winning a half dozen games in the new season.

Johnson won a championship with the San Antonio Spurs as the starting point guard and although he was undersized, his heart carried him on most nights.

Avery went on to coach the Dallas Mavericks whom he guided into the NBA 2006 Finals when they had a 2-0 lead vs. Miami before Dwayne Wade put in a classic performance and spoiled their season.

His philosophy as a coach is to preach defense and that’s the best place to start because in the end, defense wins championships.

In the off season, the Nets went after the big free agents like LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer and Amar’e Stoudamire and the fact that they were unsuccessful in getting any of those players could very well be a blessing in disguise.

They have a very talented young core and when they move in 2 years to Brooklyn, New York, they should be in a place that allows them a ton of freedom in the free-agent market.

As for now, they have one of the best shooters in the game in unknown Anthony Morrow and the hard-working Travis Outlaw. A key piece to the backcourt was signing Jordan Farmar, who won championships with the Lakers.

Their 2 best players guard Devin Harris and Brook Lopez will be in this league for the next dozen or so years and can only get better.

As far as betting on the Nets this year, they have a winning record against the spread through their first 21 games and are better than mid-pack in the defensive stats. They have had trouble scoring at times but have lost some very tough games.

After opening the season with 2 consecutive wins, Jersey went into a funk but played hard losing by a deuce to Charlotte, by a point to Orlando by only 4 to the high-octane Nuggets and in back-to-back OT beats to Oklahoma City and the Bobcats.

Hoop bettors should look to the best match-ups when thinking about wagering on the Nets. When they catch a team like Portland, who rely so much on their point guard Andre Miller to have his A game, Jersey can thrive because Harris and Morrow can put so much pressure on the opposing guards to play defense.

As the season moves on and Troy Murphy gets healthy, the Nets have to be give a long look when the are getting more than 7 or 8 points.


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