Tuesday, August 09, 2005

In Rod We Trust
By Ben Valentine

For the few of you who take an interest in my blog postings, or who know me personally (I’d imagine they’re pretty much one and the same), you know that I never hesitate to rip my teams for the moves they make. Sometimes I wish I had the personal line to a guy like Glen Sather, or now assistant Mets G.M. Jim Duquette, to ask them what the hell they were thinking.

There is however, one exception to the rule. That exception is New Jersey Nets’ President of Basketball Operations Rod Thorn.

Thorn took the position in 2000, leaving a cushy job as Vice President of the NBA, to oversee arguably the worst franchise in the NBA. Clippers East Coast, or so they would say. After one year on the job, Thorn shook things up. He dealt Stephon Marbury for Jason Kidd, in what was at the time a questionable move. (Trading a bona-fide superstar for a guy who was older and had off the court troubles). A few days earlier, he had dealt top ten pick Eddie Griffin for three mid round selections; Richard Jefferson, Jason Collins and Brandon Armstrong. I can still remember David Aldridge absolutely killing Thorn on air about trading away a sure thing in Griffin for a bunch of mediocre players.

Aldridge was about to learn a valuable lesson. Thorn doesn’t usually make mistakes.

He turned the Kenyon Martin debacle into Vince Carter. Now the Nets look like geniuses while the Nuggets look like they gave max money to a solid, but not great power forward. He drafted Nenad Krstic, who looks like a competent if not very good young center. And he by all accounts had a solid draft this time around, taking Antoine Wright in the first round and a supposedly very talented player in Mile Ilic in the second.

So that’s why while I want to question Thorn’s thinking behind voiding this Shareef Abdur Rahim trade, I just can’t. I couldn’t last year when K-Mart ended up in Denver. That’s because I wouldn’t have drafted K-Mart in the first place, I wouldn’t have traded for Richard Jefferson or for Jason Kidd. I would have been hesitant to get a disgruntled Vince Carter. I don’t know how my Nets would have looked, but I can guarantee you they would not have looked as good as the teams Thorn has fielded. Maybe Marc Jackson, who the Nets ended up using their trade exception on, will end up producing as much as Rahim. Or maybe Rahim does go down to injury, wherever he turns up.

In the end, I think this Nets team is the fourth best in the East. With Rahim I thought they were perhaps the top squad. But I’m not going to criticize. When it comes to talking about the Nets, I’ve learned to sit down, shut up and just watch Rod Thorn perform his magic.

*Jets get on the right side of the Law

My thoughts on Ty Law’s entry into the Jets secondary can be summed up pretty quickly; when New England cut him, I said, I hope the Jets sign him. Now they have. I don’t know what Law has left, but it’s bound to be more than David Barrett, Justin Miller, Derrick Strait and the now departed Ray Mickens.

I’ll do more on my favorite of my favorite teams closer on to the season. I want to see what happens with John Abraham and of course, if they can make it through the preseason relatively unscathed and uninjured.

But let’s just say I’m trying my best to contain my excitement. Seriously.


Blogger Zachary Geballe said...

While I can't argue with Rod's success, I wonder if maybe the Nets were looking a little too hard for an injury with Shareef. Maybe after they made the deal they decided they didn't want him. After all, they're already got Carter and Jefferson who are gonna take plenty of shots, and they want to develop Krstic more. Even if Kidd scores less, Carter and Jefferson would bump Krstic to the third option, while adding Reef might relegate him to the bench. Marc Jackson is more likely to be a backup, or at least a less demanding option at power forward.

1:11 PM  

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