Words by Phlip
Let’s talk about the
New Jersey Brooklyn Nets. Few teams made out quite as well as they did this offseason, which seems quite odd to say when one stops to consider that they did NOT get the one piece they were aiming to add, eventually opting out of even dealing for Dwight Howard.
So what did they get, then?
First of all, they retained the best available Point Guard from this year’s Free Agency cycle in getting an extension out of Deron Williams, then after making it known that they were no longer interested in Dwight Howard’s services they retained their bigs in Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries. In the meantime, they brought in Joe Johnson for some scoring, Gerald Wallace who will provide good basketball on both ends of the floor when given good enough reason to do so, bruiser Reggie Evans and veteran Jerry Stackhouse, the latter two will likely provide them with a very serviceable bench unit when considering that they also avoided trading MarShon Brooks.
Factor in a head coach who has won an NBA championship as a player at the PG position in San Antonio and coached a team to the threshold in Dallas before his team’s owner managed to turn the league – commissioner, refs and all – against him and eventually costing them the series in an embarrassing fashion and the Nets seem to be in an enviable position.
Some remember the new owner prattling on about how his team would be competing for an NBA championship within 2 years after his 2009 purchase of the team and how foolhardy it seemed. At the time, it was even moreso, as they would go on to win only 12 games the following season then won 24 and 22 in subsequent seasons, respectively. It goes without saying that they have not yet tasted the playoffs.
Having an eccentric owner who happens to be the 7th richest man in Russia and is full willing to spend to have some fun in making what is probably one of his smaller investments competitive in what they do is fully on The Nets’ side.
I am willing to bet that their playoffs drought is coming to an end this very season. I will go a step further to say that, as the only team in their division who has done anything to get any better, they will spend at least the first round of the playoffs in The Barclays Center as well.
[Phlip note – yes, I the last sentence can be taken as me poking Knicks’ fans with a stick again]
With Derrick Rose on the mend and Boston in “rebuild” mode without admitting it I am almost willing to say that as constructed, these Nets can make it to the Eastern Conference Championship series. They won’t WIN it, now, as the only person on the team with any real playoffs experience is their coach and I doubt he will be coming out of retirement to play.
They have beefed up their starting lineup and, with it, their bench in attempts to score Dwight Howard this season and in such have built a team that can do just as good without him as they would have with him when you consider what they would have to give up to get him.
As it were, I am of the opinion that these Nets are going to be a problem, a hindrance to teams who we may have thought were on their way to the next level, but they’re still a second-round/Conference Finals loss or two from being an NBA Finals-level team.
In the meantime, and mostly based on the fact that they didn’t sell the farm for a superstar like the other team across the river, I don’t have anything bad to say about the Brooklyn Nets. They have made necessary moves to be competitive just as they arrive into their new digs with the expectations to make it worth the fuss in getting there. I can salute them for that.
Words by Phlip