If you put together a team that includes six former All-Stars (seven if you count the coach), you expect to have a very good team. If you put together a team that has six guys that have played in 36 All-Star games (46 if you include the coach), you demand to contend. However, instead of contending the Brooklyn Nets are trying to gain relevance as they sit in the bottom half of the Eastern Conference. Having spent the offseason adding former All-Star players like Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Andrei Kirilenko, this team has no excuse to not make the playoffs this season…oh, and their best player this season, Brook Lopez, is out for the season.
The Good: Deron Williams is healthy again and put up a productive line of 15.1 points, 8.0 assists and 2.6 rebounds per game in December. Did I mention the 36 All-Star appearances by this team? Mason Plumlee may turn out to be better than his brother Miles, who is playing well in Phoenix. The Nets have five guys averaging double figures this season, and despite the least enthusiastic coaching of all-time by Jason Kidd, he’s managed the minutes of this veteran squad well as only one active player is playing over 30 minutes per game…this might not be a good thing.
The Bad: Their best player, Brook Lopez, was lost for the entire season after breaking his foot for the second time in two years. Lopez was the one bright spot on this otherwise horrendous Brooklyn Net team. The Nets – who are 9-17 at the time of writing – is costing owner, Mikhail Prokhorov $186 million ($85 million in tax) this season. They have no one to replace Lopez’s production (he was seventh in PER this year). If that wasn’t bad enough, next season they’re already committed to spending $87 million on eight players (this does not include Pierce, Kirilenko, Andray Blatche, and Shaun Livingston). So more than likely, that number will rise a bit higher before all is said and done. In addition to their on-court issues (winning, being coached properly, not being old), and their financial constraints, this team has no hopes of getting better through the draft.
The Fix: You’re left hoping that the early season struggles will evaporate as the season goes on. This team can hope for a favorable matchup in the playoffs (if they get there) that they can take advantage of and use as a springboard to the second round. However, they would most assuredly lose in four games to the Heat or Pacers. Prokhorov has invested far too much money in this team to not go down with the ship. Good luck, Nets fans!