TODAY'S PAPER
Good Afternoon
Good Afternoon
SportsBasketballNets

Nets at a glance

Nets guard Deron Williams will be a free

Nets guard Deron Williams will be a free agent after the 2011-12 NBA season. (Mar. 18, 2011) Credit: AP

NETS AT A GLANCE

COACH: Avery Johnson (sixth NBA season, 218-128, .630).

LAST SEASON: (24-58, .293 pct., fourth in the Atlantic).

PLAYOFFS: Did not qualify.

3 THINGS WE LIKE

POINT GUARD DERON WILLIAMS gets a full (OK, nearly full) season running the offense.Williams, who can become a free agent this summer, is the real deal and has every incentive to have a big-time season.

PURSUIT OF DWIGHT HOWARD. If the Nets land Howard in a trade, it will be considered the deal of the century. If they land him as a free agent in the summer, it will be a pretty big move, too. Hard to think of a more exciting duo for the Nets to bring to their new arena in Brooklyn next season than Williams and Howard.

FORMER PROVIDENCE SWINGMAN MARSHON BROOKS could be the surprise of this season's rookie class. Acquired with the 25th pick from the Celtics, the 6-5 Brooks scored a Big East-record 52 points against Notre Dame in February. Brooks should get plenty of floor time this season, which bodes well for his development down the road.

3 THINGS WE DON'T LIKE

THE NETS' BAD LUCK SEEMS TO BE CONTINUING. Brook Lopez, the centerpiece of the Nets' effort to trade for Howard, had surgery Friday to insert a screw in his right foot and is expected to be out until the middle of February.

THE THOUGHT THAT THE NETS COULD LOSE WILLIAMS, TOO. Williams wants to play for a winner in a big market, so the next couple of months are critical for the franchise, especially with Lopez out. Because the Nets have a rich owner and plenty of cap room, the pressure is on general manager Billy King to add another big-time player. For the Nets to keep Williams, he must go into this summer thinking the team has a chance to contend.

ROSTER HAS FOUR GUYS NAMED WILLIAMS ON IT. Deron, Jordan, Shawne and Shelden? Writing a Nets game story on a tight deadline is a basketball writer's nightmare.

 

FRESH FACES

Former Knick Shawne Williams is a solid outside shooter and will help keep defenses from concentrating on Deron Williams and Lopez, when he returns. Shawne Williams, who recently signed a two-year contract, made more than 40 percent of his three-point shots last season. The Nets acquired veteran center Mehmet Okur from the Jazz on Thursday night to help fill the void left by Lopez's injury. The Nets also added veteran swingman DeShawn Stevenson on Friday.

New York Sports