The New Jersey Nets are stuck in New Jersey for another few months, waiting to finally make their way to Brooklyn. Jay-Z is super happy about it. But for now, it’s New Jersey and the Prudential Center, where the Nets have played the last two seasons.
And they hate it. Deron Williams and Anthony Morrow in particular aren’t fans, telling some media outlets they “don’t like this arena one bit” and “it was made for hockey, not basketball.” Considering the team shoots worse and scores fewer points per game at home than on the road, their complaints might have some validity.
Avery Johnson, however, isn’t buying it. From the New York Daily News:
“Guys have played basketball, outside. You’ve played in the dark, you’ve played in matchbox gyms. For me, I didn’t care where I played because the basket is 10 foot,” Johnson said. “And we’ve got to find a way to put the ball in the basket and take our time. So whatever the perception or the depth or whatever that is, hopefully we can have the right type of depth perception where the ball goes in the basket.”
Just to clarify for Avery Johnson, it’s “depth perception” that the players are worried about. That is, to quote Wikipedia, is the visual ability to perceive the world in three dimensions (3D) and the distance of an object. Now that that is cleared up, we can move on to the jokes.
I can see both sides of this argument. It can be tough to play in a new place. You’re not used to the sight lines, dead spots on the floor and where the light is coming from. It’s different and it can definitely mess with you.
On the other hand, these dudes are professionals and they’ve been playing games in the Prudential Center for about a year (more so in Morrow’s case), so they should be able to handle playing in a hockey arena. Plus, as Avery Johnson says, get over it. These guys have played in worse gyms in the past, no doubt about it, so they need to just stop worrying about it and play basketball. Deron Williams was playing basketball in Turkey two months ago. Even New Jersey has to have better stadiums than that.
To me, the solution to the Nets’ problems is easy. Avery Johnson needs to take his team to the streets to play a wild game of street basketball, similar to what Team USA did in “D2: The Mighty Ducks.” If getting back to what basketball really is doesn’t help, then nothing will.