Four Questions on 'Zo

How will Alonzo Mourning play this season? And how will he fit in with the Nets? Here are the answers.

Updated: October 23, 2003, 12:35 AM ET
By Tom Tolbert | Special to ESPN.com

How will Mourning's new teammates react to him?

I talked to my former college teammate Sean Elliot, who was the first player to return from a kidney transplant, about his return. Sean told me that once he started getting into the flow of things, his health wasn't at the forefront of his mind ... the game was.

The biggest concern of Sean's was getting his teammates to play him hard during practice and getting his coaches to have the confidence to play him. Once they saw he was back to normal, their attitudes returned to normal. My guess is that it'll be the same way with 'Zo.

How will Mourning play?

Alonzo Mourning
The Nets will be better only if Alonzo Mourning is feeling better.
It's been a while since he last played so it's difficult to tell. As much as I'm sure he's been practicing, there's still no substitute for playing in a real NBA game. There will be rust when he first returns to the court just like there was rust when Michael Jordan initially returned to the court.

The NBA is a much more physically grueling game than people give it credit for being. It'll take a few games for him to come back and be in "game shape," but once he is, his game may return also.

Mourning was a very physical player when he played before and it'll be interesting to see if he's still going to be the same physical player he was. In the East, it won't be necessary for him to be as physical as he was before he left. There simply aren't enough dominant centers in the East for him to have to bang around as much as he did before.

What do the Nets expect from Mourning?

The Nets are probably going to try to keep him rested with just 20-24 minutes per game. The NBA season is a marathon, not a sprint, and they'll want him rested for the playoffs. The Nets didn't bring Mourning in to win the Eastern Conference, they've done that the past two years. They're bringing him in to win a championship.

Can he sucessfully platoon with Jason Collins?

Yes, this won't be a problem at all for the Nets. Collins is a good, young player who should be pleased at the opportunity to share minutes with a great NBA player and to learn at his side. He's going to be in for a great education as the Nets attempt to capture their first NBA championship.

Tom Tolbert is an NBA analyst for ESPN.

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