Welcome back to HHH and game three of the 26th season of the Miami Heat. I had a chance to chat with Tom Lorenzo regarding the Nets and tonight's matchup.
Tom Lorenzo of the great SBNation blog NetsDaily swapped out five questions in preparation for tonight's matchup. Will Garnett and Pierce make nice with Ray? How much impact could Oden have if he plays tonight? Read on for another point of view.
Kevin (HHH): Charles Barkley said it best when he said that the Heat picked up big man Greg Oden for four reasons: Duncan, Hibbert, Howard and Lopez. If Oden gets any playing time, how much success will he have in slowing down Brook?
Tom (ND): Well, I think he'll be of great help, even if it is just 10-12 minutes of bodying Brook. What the Nets have to their advantage is throwing different looks at teams in the middle. They have Brook, who is an enormous, physically speaking, finesse player, extremely gifted on the offensive side of the ball. Then you have Kevin Garnett, who gives you different looks with his ability to play both inside and in the mid-range, Andray Blatche (gifted offensively), Reggie Evans (a beast off the glass) and even Mason Plumlee (who is the athletic big of the bunch). So they can give you different looks, which is why I think Oden will be helpful as a counter to what the Nets can throw at the Heat.
Kevin: The Nets are famously long in the tooth, with 10 players on the active roster past eight seasons of NBA service. If this one-year experiment results in an Eastern Conference or NBA title, is there any way they can keep the principle parts in place for a return engagement?
Tom: I think they have two years in them. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett aren't "what they used to be," but they are still highly-gifted and experienced players who, if anything, provide the core of Deron Williams and Brook Lopez an extra boost on the offensive side of the ball in keeping the defense honest. Last year defenses were doubling on Brook, Deron and Joe Johnson because, well, Reggie Evans and Gerald Wallace were almost dead weight. So, that said, I think the team is "older" but I do believe that they don't need to press as much as they would have in the past. Pierce and Garnett are, at times, the 3rd, 4th or even 5th option on this team. That wasn't the case in the past. And the Nets can still win ball games with either one of those guys resting. They have a deep bench that will provide them with an opportunity to sit and still not feel like they're at a major disadvantage. I believe they have two years to make it work -- as currently constructed.
Kevin: To get a little off topic, will Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce shake Ray Allen's hand before the game?
Tom: Yes, I believe they will. Look, they're all professionals. Things get said, it's a business, etc. But at the end of the day, they had a great run together. They are three Hall of Fame players who are all about winning, and sometimes that turns into slights or knocks, but in the end there's no reason any of them should take it personal.
Kevin: We all know that your starting five have done great things over the course of their careers. How long do you think before they really gel?
Tom: I said it will take 20-30 games in our preseason preview. I just think that with the number of new faces, plus a brand new head coach, it's going to take some time. In Game 1 against the Cavs, the first five minutes of the game was nearly flawless on the offensive side of the ball. But, then things went a little stale. So, I think they just need to continue to play together, get into a rhythm and hopefully by game 20 or so they'll have it all figured out.
Kevin: Can Jason Kidd still ball if he needs to?
Tom: Well, they might have to hope so! With Deron Williams' ankles, Shaun Livingston's injury history and Tyshawn Taylor not looking ready, they may need him to play some point. And I can guarantee you there will be times when he's looking at the game situation and thinking to himself, "man, if I was out there right now..." Yeah, I think he can still ball!
We'd like to thank Tom for playing along. If you'd like to see how I answered his questions, head on over to NetsDaily
. Check back here later for the preview, the GameThread, the recap, and some second to none postgame analysis.
More from Hot Hot Hoops: