Al Iannazzone reports Nets forward Troy Murphy missed all of training camp and the Nets' first three games of this season with a back injury, but team doctors cleared him to practice recently and he could join the starting lineup for his hometown team as soon as tomorrow when New Jersey hosts the Charlotte Bobcats:
Avery Johnson told his players to get Troy Murphy game ready and they did.
“He took some big hits today, big hits,” Johnson said. “We’ll see how he recovers.”
As Iannazzone notes, the Nets badly need productivity from Murphy's power forward position. Joe Smith, the interim starter, has scored 2 points in 3 games. And while raw rookie Derrick Favors has provided a spark off the bench--he has 31 points and 30 rebounds, including 16 at the offensive end, in just 64 minutes--Coach Johnson would prefer to keep him in a reserve role. Starting him is "not the plan," as Johnson explained.
And Murphy is nothing if not productive, with career averages of 12.1 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 44.7 percent shooting from the floor, including an impressive 39.4 percent mark from three-point range. That last fact is important: the Nets have converted an impressive 38.5 percent of their three-point attempts this season, but have tried just 13 per game. For perspective, 18 was the league-wide average for three-point attempts last season. Murphy would improve their accuracy and their volume, adding potency to a decidedly mediocre overall offense.
New Jersey acquired the Morristown native from the Indiana Pacers this summer as part of a four-team trade.