The Nets' back-to-back losses against the Rockets proved two positives: Devin Harris and Brook Lopez are the anchors of the team. While Harris averaged 17.5 points and six assists in the last two games, Lopez is the preseason's fourth highest scorer at 20.5 points per game. Beyond their production, Terrence Williams has been the most consistent third playmaker, which begs the question: Should he be starting? In that hypothetical situation, Harris would be the one, Anthony Morrow the two, Williams the three, Travis Outlaw the four and Lopez the five. According to TheNetsInsider.com's Al Iannazzone, the Nets would be "smaller but more athletic and would lose some punch off the bench with that lineup."
Of course, Troy Murphy is still out and when he returns, he should replace who's ever at the starting four. Because the Nets are a young team, they simply can't afford to play a proven double-double guy off the bench. But for now, a lineup that would feature Williams and Outlaw at the three and four, rather than Outlaw and Kris Humphries at those spots, respectively, could benefit the team by allowing them to push a faster tempo to create more scoring opportunities while wearing their opponent out. With Harris at the one, Morrow, Williams and Outlaw filling the lanes and Lopez trailing for the dunk or putback in transition, they would resemble the early 2000s Nets squads that went to the NBA Finals in back-to-back years (Harris = Jason Kidd, Morrow = Kerry Kittles, Williams = Keith Van Horn and Outlaw = Kenyon Martin). And who would be Lopez's comparison? No one, because not even the three Nets centers from those teams earlier in the decade -- Todd MacCulloch, Jason Collins and Aaron Williams -- equal one Lopez. While the weakest comparison is Harris to Kidd, the current Nets could put up points on the board like the former Nets and rank in the top half in the league in offensive rating. But the current Nets need to take a history lesson with their older counterparts to learn how to D-up opponents. Those Kidd-led Nets ranked tops in the league in defensive rating.
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