Are the Nets better off without Carmelo?

If their first game after owner Mikhail Prokhorov announced the team was backing out of negotiations is any indication, the answer is a resounding yes. Devin Kharpertian of NetsAreScorching writes that last night’s Nets looked confident in an upset of the Utah Jazz.

Now that the stink of the Melo saga has finally rolled off their shoulders, the Nets can focus on playing as a complete team instead of worrying about who might not be in practice the next day. It’s only one game, but the difference between the scurrying team on the floor during the previous 12 games and the confident one against Utah was staggering. Without Anthony, the Nets still have a young, solid core, which includes former All-Star point guard Devin Harris, cornerstone center Brook Lopez, 3-point machine Anthony Morrow and, of course, the prize of the no-deal, Derrick Favors.

Kharpertian goes on to discuss Favors’ progress in his rookie season:

Favors, the youngest player in the NBA, still has skyscraping upside and is playing surprisingly efficient basketball despite his inexperience and the swirling cloud of rumors. In just more than 18 minutes per game, he’s shooting 55.1 percent from the field while grabbing almost 16 percent of available rebounds. There has never been a teenage rookie in the history of the NBA who played up to that level. The closest? Some guy named Dwight Howard. Favors may never have the game-changing impact that Howard has, but that’s a pretty solid start to hang your hat on. I know the Nets are impressed.

Favors is averaging 6.6 points and 5.0 rebounds in just 19.0 minutes of playing time, which results in a slightly-below-average PER of 13.99. Considering he’s just 19-years-old and has a very raw offensive game, there is a lot of upside here. Maybe the Nets are better off seeing how he develops alongside the more polished Brook Lopez. The two could make a formidable power forward/center core in a few years.

This assumes, of course, that Carmelo was interested in joining the Nets in the first place. There have been mixed messages coming out of his camp and it sure seems like Anthony using the Nets offer as leverage to get the Knicks to make a move. If that’s the case, Prokhorov absolutely made the right move to pull out of the negotiations. He doesn’t want his team to be used that way.

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