Kevin F. Love: How have the Nets played lately?
Anthony Puccio: Well, they’re 3-17 in the last 20 games and 11 of those games have been lost by double digits. Sometimes the score is misleading, but the Nets have taken a hard fall since impressing some in the beginning of the season.
KFL: What are you hoping learn about the Nets in the remaining games?
AP: From a Nets perspective you’d like to see the young guys continue to get better. D’Angelo Russell looks awfully good right now but he needs to stay consistent. Other young guys such as Jarrett Allen, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert need to show they can play together and win some games.
KFL: They haven’t had many, but when the Nets win, what usually happens?
AP: They hit a lot of threes. Live and die by the three, literally. More importantly, they win when the defense shows up. They’re 12-1 when they hold opponents below 100 points.
KFL: How do the Sixers win against the Nets? Any specific weakness?
AP: In the last matchup, I noticed the Sixers pressed up against the Nets which made it difficult for them to swing the ball around the perimeter. Philly switched on basically everything and that’s been an issue for the Nets all season.
Oh yeah, and Joel Embiid. Nets didn’t play anybody taller than 6-8 in their last game. Size is an issue.
KFL: I’m looking into a crystal ball and see the Nets have won tonight’s game. How?
AP: Like I mentioned, defense has to be stellar in order for them to win. They would need a balanced offensive effort because that’s how their offense is set up, but forcing turnovers and forcing tough shots is crucial.
KFL: Are either of Jahlil Okafor or D’Angelo Russell in the Nets long term plans as far as you can tell?
AP: D’Angelo Russell certainly is. Don’t know if I can say the same about Okafor.
KFL: When Jah was a Sixer, he was polarizing to say the least. How do the Nets/Nets’ fans view him? Promising or borderline NBA talent?
I think they value him but also understand that his skills do not fit today’s style of play nor theirs. That said, he’s only 22. A summer in the gym with their training staff and you might see Jah thinned out chucking a bunch of threes next year.
KFL: Personally curious: as far as fandom goes, how does one select the Nets over the Knicks or vice versa?
AP: At this rate... you watch college basketball. Seriously speaking - I guess if you’re a young NBA fan or even a new NBA fan, the Nets are probably a good team to root for because they’re heading in the right direction. Not dissing the Knicks, but I’m not all too sure where they’re headed. At least Nets fans have assurance that these guys running the ship aren’t going to rush this ‘process’.
I would like to give a big shoutout to Anthony Puccio for joining me on his Friday afternoon. You can follow Anthony on Twitter @APOOCH for Nets coverage, or read him at Nets Daily. Their game preview can be found here.
I have to say, I see where Anthony is coming from re: Knicks fandom vs. Nets fandom. The Nets haven’t had the ability to add through the draft thanks to our old pal Billy King. (Shivers ran up my spine typing that.) But they seem to be in the right hands at this point, making calculated gambles on young potential when possible. The Knicks, to me, have no direction at all. They do have Porzingis which, as much as I hate the Knicks, is a joy to watch. But the young unicorn has been riddled with injuries and doesn’t have a lot of talent around him.
TL;DR: I wouldn’t have any trust in the Knicks front office. I like the chances the Nets have taken lately.
As for Jah, we’ve seen him lose the extra pounds. And he’s had multiple offseasons to adjust his game. I don’t think it will ever come around for the kid.
Thanks again, Anthony!