We’re part of a collection of NBA blogs doing NBA Team Previews before the season. More to come about that. But, we’re down to do the Brooklyn Nets preview, which you can enjoy below!
Team Name: Brooklyn Nets
Last Year’s Record: 22-44
Key Losses: Gerald Green, Anthony Morrow, Jordan Farmar, Johan Petro
Key Additions: Joe Johnson, C.J. Watson, Mirza Teletovic, Reggie Evans
1. What Significant Moves were made during the off-season? Brand identity. No longer can the Nets be considered “losers” to objective basketball fans. To New York Knicks fans, however, it’s a different story as the subjective die-hards won’t be able to admit that the Nets are actually pretty good until, well, they’re actually pretty good. So, there’s a point there, but when you look at the addition of another multi-All-Star player in Joe Johnson, as well as an overall re-haul of personnel that actually increases the talent pool by a ton… you just have to believe. Oh wait, now I’m being subjective!
In any case, the point is, the move from New Jersey to Brooklyn has already reaped rewards as the hype in New York for the Nets was huge during this offseason because of, not only the players added and kept, but because of the new logo, the black and white simplicity of the brand, an tangible anticipation for the new uniforms, and of course this new building called the Barclays Center. It’s really all new for the Nets and it’s been a refreshing change.
2. What are the team’s biggest strengths?
No question, it’s the backcourt of Deron Williams and Johnson. When you consider age and wear-and-tear, the duo has to be considered the best backcourt in the league above the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. Don’t worry, I’ll wait for the rain of torrential boos. In any case, one of the best points in the league and arguably the second-best shooting guard in the Eastern Conference is a pretty damn good place to start. The overall starting five is big strength, if you ask me! And, I know you haven’t, but anyway…
Gerald Wallace is a great “glue” guy despite being paid like he’s going to be more than that, but I’m fine with it because of his intangibles and ability to affect the game without having the ball in his hands. All Kris Humphries does is rebound, rebound, play solid one-on-one defense, and rebound. Brook Lopez will be the true X-factor of the group – can he stay healthy, can he rebound, can he average 20 points per game again, will he ever cut his hair? If Lopez stays healthy, boards, and drops 20 on the regular, who gives a frag?
3. What are the team’s biggest weaknesses?
Expectations. There’s a mountain-high full of them and if the Nets don’t succeed, whatever the definition may be for the judging of it, it’ll be bad. And it’s the Nets organization that have played the role of cocky newcomers themselves, setting it up for an almost “all or nothing” type of result. Obviously, for the Nets to win an NBA title a lot of things have to break the right way, but it’s possible for them to go far. The question is, will the team feel the burden of expectation? Avery Johnson probably does because now he actually has a talented team. If the Nets don’t reach some sort of benchmark, say a top four seed in the Eastern Conference, it might be considered a failure and Johnson could go bye bye.
4. What are the goals for this team?
Prove all the critics wrong, slamming their negative comments back in their respective grills. Seriously, the Nets have to finish with an above-.500 record at the very least and make the playoffs and do some damage during the postseason. Sounds easy, right? The team obviously needs some time to gel, but by the third month or so, they’ll need to be running on all cylinders to make an impression. Playoffs, plain and simple. And going far, not so simple, is the goal.
5. Will the Brooklyn Nets take over the city from the New York Knicks?
Not this year, not next year, and probably not any time soon short of winning a title, something which the glorified Knicks haven’t done in 40 years. However, with a good product on the hardwood over the next few years, the Nets will begin to make a dent little by little over the Knicks’ legacy.