SI's 2008-09 NBA Scouting Reports
New Jersey Nets
Projected Finish: 15th in Eastern Conference
 
The new attack plays to the strengths of point guard Devin Harris, who is one of only two sure starters on the team.
AP
Fast Fact
 
Last Season
 

In with the new: fresh faces and a dribble-drive offense. Out with the old: success

The point guard is gone, shipped to Dallas for a younger model. The center is out too, banished to Minnesota (via Memphis) for a more athletic version. The small forward was the last to go, shuttled to Milwaukee for a couple of guys with shorter contracts. By trading Jason Kidd, Jason Collins and Richard Jefferson since last February, the Nets have officially dropped the curtain on a seven-year run highlighted by two trips to the Finals. "It's definitely a new team," says coach Lawrence Frank. "But we have to look at it as an opportunity to create something from the first brick."

The foundation rests on a new offense, a dribble-drive scheme that will maximize the playmaking abilities of point guard Devin Harris. In anticipation of a heavier workload, Harris spent the off-season honing his three-point shot (he shot 33.5 percent from long range last season) and packing 10 pounds of muscle onto his lower body. "This new system is perfect for me," says Harris, 25, who averaged 15.4 points and 6.5 assists in 25 games after being acquired from the Mavericks for Kidd.

And just who will be catching Harris's kickouts? "Spots three through 15 are wide open," says Frank. The one certainty besides Harris is shooting guard Vince Carter—at least for now. League sources believe New Jersey will try to deal the eight-time All-Star before the February trade deadline to free up cap room.

In the meantime, many new Nets will get the chance to prove they're scoring threats. "We can't focus on one guy like Vince and [make him] do everything," says Frank. "It's about everyone doing their part and doing it together." -- Chris Mannix

 

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