Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov doesn’t feel like pushing the panic button despite the team’s woeful start, as he indicated to Andy Vasquez of NorthJersey.com in an email exchange. Prokhorov is preaching patience, which is something he hasn’t shown in the past, Vasquez notes. “We have a lot of new players and quite a few younger pieces, so it takes some time for the team to gel and to show its full potential,” Prokhorov told Vasquez, adding that “I think we’ve seen some positive progress and my hope is that these efforts will soon be reflected in the wins column.”
In other news around the Atlantic Division:
- The Celtics have positioned themselves for a very bright future, as Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post analyzes in his new role as the newspaper’s national NBA columnist. GM Danny Ainge made shrewd moves in the draft and in trades to secure quality pieces like Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder and Isaiah Thomas but that’s just the start, Bontemps continues. They have the Nets’ unprotected first-round pick next summer, courtesy of the 2013 Paul Pierce–Kevin Garnett trade, with an unprotected pick swap in 2017 and another unprotected first rounder in 2018 still to come their way from the deal. They could also have more than $50MM in salary-cap space next offseason to chase high-level free agents, Bontemps adds.
- Heat power forward Amar’e Stoudemire blames his Knicks coaches for not taking advantage of his offensive skills in conjunction with Carmelo Anthony, Marc Berman of the New York Post reports. Stoudemire and Anthony wanted to run more pick-and-rolls together during Stoudemire’s years in New York but couldn’t get their coaches, namely Mike D’Antoni and Mike Woodson, to call those plays often enough, Berman continues. “I don’t think that pick-and-roll offense between Melo and I was ever taken advantage of, which we could have,” he told Berman. “The way he shoots the ball, handles the ball from the outside and the way I attack the rim, it could’ve been a pretty good combination. I don’t think the coaching staff at the time really bought into that.’’
- The Raptors have to do a better job of getting everyone on the roster up to speed with all of their plays, according to Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun. Coach Dwane Casey has become increasing reliant on his reserves, and they haven’t demonstrated that they know the plays as thoroughly as the starters, Ganter adds.