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9 New Jersey
Chris Mannix
October 29, 2007
A healthy big man is needed to balance the vaunted perimeter attack
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October 29, 2007

9 New Jersey

A healthy big man is needed to balance the vaunted perimeter attack

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The staff is closely monitoring Krstic as he comes back from a torn left ACL. Before the Dec.�22 injury Krstic, 24, was averaging a career-high 16.4 points. "I was playing well," he says. "When I heard my knee pop, it was like the end of the world."

Well, it was the end of Krstic's season and the beginning of a long rehabilitation process--one that was derailed for five weeks after he sprained his left knee in early July. "If I hadn't done that," says Krstic. "I would be playing at full speed right now." Krstic began scrimmaging again in early October, but even then his minutes were limited.

When Krstic does return, he will be part of a new-look frontcourt. New Jersey drafted athletic power forward Sean Williams out of Boston College and, after free agent Mikki Moore left for Sacramento, signed former All-Star center Jamaal Magloire to a one-year contract. "Jamaal brings toughness and physicality in the middle," says coach Lawrence Frank. "He's a big brother type who will have the guys' backs."

Frank hopes Krstic will be one of those guys sooner rather than later; in the two-plus seasons before Krstic's injury the Nets were 79-46 when he scored in double figures. But the team will play it safe. "We're not going to bring him back," says Frank, "until we're sure he's not susceptible to another injury."

ENEMY LINES
An opposing team's scout sizes up the Nets

I'm a little cautious in my view of the Nets because they're getting old-- Vince Carter will be 31 in January and Jason Kidd turns 35 in March--and because of all their injuries in recent years, including to Richard Jefferson and Nenad Krstic last season. . . . Carter settled for too many jumpers last year and didn't attack the basket enough, which stagnated their half-court offense. He might be more aggressive if he has his full complement of teammates. . . . They can find ways to increase Jefferson's productivity without disrupting the harmony of Kidd and Carter, because as those two erode physically, there may be more room for Jefferson to score. It's still big for them that they have three players who can get you 25 any night. . . . People are hot or cold on Jamaal Magloire, but I think he'll help them. He can rebound, and he's going to push and shove to get to the ball in garbage situations. If they get scoring from Krstic and that garbage mentality from Magloire, they'll be better off than they were last year.

FAST FACT

In 2006-07 Jason Kidd joined Oscar Robertson (five times) and Magic Johnson (twice) as the only players to average more than nine assists and eight rebounds in the same season. Kidd also had a career-high 12 triple doubles.

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