Carter to start for Nets tonight

Vince Carter, who was acquired by the New Jersey Nets on December 17th will make his debut tonight in a game against the Detroit Pistons.“I’m excited. I feel good,” Carter said yesterday after a two-hour practice that included a 20-minute film session.

When the Nets made the deal for Carter on Dec.17, he was sidelined with a strained left Achilles. He does not think his health will be an issue tonight but is not quite sure he has a firm grasp of the Nets’ motion offense, which, by most accounts, is difficult to learn.

If Carter does flub a couple of plays, it won’t be for lack of preparation. He’s been studying the Nets’ playbook since the day he became a member of the team and even watched game tape on Christmas Day while his wife prepared a holiday meal.

With the Nets, Carter will have a supporting cast better than any he had in just over six seasons with Toronto. Carter, Jason Kidd and Richard Jefferson should give the Nets one of the more exciting offenses in the Eastern Conference. He’s stressed over the past few days that he will defer to Jefferson for now, since Jefferson is “red hot” after scoring 42 points in the Nets’ last game. Jefferson is also averaging 30.6 points over his last three games.

Jefferson, however, did not practice yesterday because of an illness, so Carter may have to pick up some of the slack if he’s still not feeling well tonight.

Thought Lawrence Frank was not sure how many minutes Carter would play, Carter said he is not worried about that. He’s just looking forward to getting on the floor again.

“Two weeks is a long time,” Carter said, “especially when you get traded and you have to start over.”

Frank called Carter a “quick study” and is not worried about his ability to learn the Nets’ offense. He’s also curious to see how Carter performs now that he won’t be the primary focus of opposing defenses.

As for the speculation that Carter and Jefferson won’t blend well together since they are very similar players, Frank isn’t buying it.

“In due time I think it will be great,” Frank said. “It’ll be something that will be a positive for us.”

Daily News Sports

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