With Devin Harris out of action – for how long, no one will know until the results of his MRI come in – the Nets returned home from Manhattan last night to prepare for a game with the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight in Newark.
For as long as Harris is absent, Jordan Farmar will assume the role of starting point guard, with rookie Ben Uzoh serving as his backup. If Harris is out for any extended period of time, the Nets could recall Terrence Williams from his D-League stint with the Springfield Armor, or possibly add another Springfield call-up who can run point, such as 2010 NCAA First Team All-American Scottie Reynolds.
The Thunder, meanwhile, have no issues at point guard, as third-year star Russell Westbrook has raced out to an incredible start. He is averaging career highs in every major category thus far and has played so well that some are speculating early on that he, and not pre-season favorite Kevin Durant, could be Oklahoma City’s best MVP candidate this year.
But one can’t cast aside Durant, either, as he just so happens to be the NBA’s leading scorer once again after winning his first scoring title last season. With Durant and Westbrook in place as two of the best players in the NBA – each at just 22 years of age, no less – the Thunder have a terrific foundation that many believe will translate into title contention as early as this season, depending on how well some of the other members of its young core – namely Jeff Green and Serge Ibaka – develop. The team does need to find more strength down low and improve on defense, as it’s averaging 102 points allowed this season.
As far as the Nets are concerned, one thing is for certain: Westbrook will keep their Devin-less point guard spot mighty busy in tonight’s contest. They’ll have to hope that Brook Lopez, who finished just one point shy of his career-high with 36 points last night, can replicate his success against the Thunder’s suspect interior defense.
Oklahoma City Thunder (12-6) Projected Starting Lineup
- PG Russell Westbrook: 23.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 8.6 apg, 2.2 spg
- SG Thabo Sefolosha: 6.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg
- SF Kevin Durant: 27.3 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.2 spg, 1.0 bpg
- PF Jeff Green: 17.5 ppg, 6.8 rpg
- C Nenad Krstic: 7.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg
New Jersey Nets (6-12) Projected Starting Lineup
- PG Jordan Farmar: 8.6 ppg, 4.3 apg
- SG Anthony Morrow: 12.3 ppg, .405 3p%
- SF Travis Outlaw: 10.8 ppg, .419 3p%
- PF Kris Humphries: 7.8 ppg, 8.3 rpg
- C Brook Lopez: 19.2 ppg, 1.7 bpg