Rod Thorn has always been an impressive evaluator of talent, regardless of whether or not the Nets have been a spectacular team on the court; most of the time, during his tenure, they have been, but there’ve been some down years.
So it makes sense to talk with him about the NBA Draft after it happened. In addition to finding out about Terrence Williams (the Nets first round draft pick) and Vince Carter (who the Nets traded to Orlando), Mike Francesca of WFANalso discussed Blake Griffin, Ricky Rubio and Tyler Hansbrough with Thorn — just an all around, excellent interview.
On Terrence Williams:
“We liked his versatility. He can play different positions — he’s an excellent passer, a great defender. He really is a talented kid. We had some other players there that we were looking at, but when it came down to it, why not take this kid — he’s got a huge upside … He’s not a finished product as a shooter … He’s got a huge hand, Mike, and he can really handle the ball, and we’ll see, but we were very happy to get him.”
On the Vince Carter trade:
“Our feeling was we’re going to be a 30-40 win team. We’ve got Carter who’s obviously a star, a great player, 32 years old. And our feeling was, let’s clear cap space if we can get a young player who we feel can be a good player. And this deal came along two days ago and we talked about it for a day and ended up doing it. We like Courtney Lee a lot. We think he’s another good athletic player who defends and passes. So now in Harris, Williams and Lee, we’ve got three wing-type players who are interchangeable almost. I think Orlando — they may or may not re-sign Turkoglu — so I think they felt some pressure to get a guy who can make plays at the end of the game like Vince can. So it may be what puts them over the top, but we’re in a different spot.”
On Blake Griffin:
“I think he’s a star. I think the bounce he has, I think the relentlessness he has, I think with the athletic ability he has, he’s a star. And I don’t think it’s going to take him a long time.”
On Ricky Rubio:
“He is a guy who has extraordinary court sense. He sees things like before they happen — you remember Wayne Gretzky in hockey; he could see what was going to happen before it happened — this kid has that kind of ability to do that … Right now he’s a reluctant shooter, his shot is not broken, he’s got the ability to be a good shooter.”
On Hansbrough’s transition:
“I think he’s going to be good, and I’ll tell you why — we worked him out and he can jump head-high on the rim when he’s moving. He has terrific lateral movement. His balance is not great right now, so he looks awkward when he’s making his moves and he gets bumped. He’s a ferocious player … I think he’s going to be good. “
On who’s going to run the Nets’ point:
“Harris is going to play a lot … And we picked up Skip to My Lou in the deal, who’s still a very good player. And we’ve got Williams who can play point and Dooling who can play point. We’ve got a bunch of guys who can play — other than Alston who’s just a point guard — we’ve got a bunch of guys who can play two positions, and Williams can play three.”