Monday , Jan , 09 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Nets are best in Atlantic

(Sports Network) – The New Jersey Nets are playing great basketball and look
like they are the team to beat in the weak Atlantic Division.

All-Star Vince Carter, Richard Jefferson and Jason Kidd give New Jersey a very
talented trio that should be able to lead them to the Atlantic Division title
in the 2005-06 campaign.

The Nets, who own a solid 19-12 record after 31 games played, seem to have
found their stride. Carter leads the club in scoring (25.5 ppg), while
Jefferson is New Jersey’s to rebounder (7.3 rpg) and Kidd has dished out a
team-best 8.2 assists per game.

New Jersey’s talented trio is surrounded by a lot of role players. Nenad
Krstic is a solid center who can score and grab some rebounds. He is not
dominant by any stretch of the imagination, but the 7-0 Krstic does have the
ability to put up decent numbers in the scorebook.

Twenty-seven year-old center Jason Collins and veterans Marc Jackson, Jeff
McInnis, Scott Padgett, Cliff Robinson are a big part of the supporting cast
that is trying to help Carter, Jefferson and Kidd win the Atlantic. Collins
and Jackson team with Krstic to help hold down the fort in the middle for NEw
Jersey, while Robinson and Padgett give the Nets some outside shooting off the
bench up front and McInnis is a competent backup to Kidd.

Head coach Lawrence Frank does a great job with the Nets. Frank is a
workaholic who spends large amounts of hours studying film and coming up with
game plans. He has figured out a way to get Carter, Jefferson and Kidd to work
well together.

When the Nets acquired Carter from the Toronto Raptors in December 2004,
questions arose as to if the North Carolina product would fit in with
Jefferson, who is a similar type of player to Carter. However, Frank has been
masterful with implementing the two talented players into his offensive and
defensive schemes.

Kidd can play with anyone, as he has that rare talent that allows him to make
his teammates better because of his unselfish and spectacular play. Carter and
Jefferson benefit greatly from the playmaking ability of the 6-5 Kidd, who
loves to get out on the break with his slashing, athletic teammates.

The Detroit Pistons and Miami Heat are the cream of the crop in the Eastern
Conference and are clearly better teams than the Nets. The Cleveland Cavaliers
and Indiana Pacers are stuck in the Central Division with the Pistons and are
also very tough competition to the Nets.

In the Atlantic, Allen Iverson and the Philadelphia 76ers appear to be the
Nets toughest competition. However, the Sixers look like a club that will be
battling to simply make the playoffs. Paul Pierce and the Celtics could come
on, but something is missing in Beantown and changes could be on the horizon
if wins don’t start accumulating in Boston.

The Nets are the top squad in the Atlantic and if they stay healthy will be
one of the top three seeds in the postseason. However, they still need a big
rebounder to help their talented threesome.

As talented as Carter, Kidd and Jefferson are, they still would benefit
greatly from a player who can park himself in the low post and grab rebounds
and put in some garbage points.

It is going to be tough, but if the Nets can add a rebounder and stay healthy
they have a chance to put a scare into some of the top teams in the league.

Carter, Jefferson and Kidd give the Nets a chance in the Eastern Conference.