Today, Hoopsworld posted a nice preview of the Nets’ upcoming season. Five different writes weighed in and made predictions on where the Nets would finish. Four of the writers predict that the Nets will finish 2nd in the Atlantic Division behind the Celtics but ahead of the Knicks and 76ers. Another writer predicts that the Nets will finish third in the division behind the Celtics and Knicks.
One writer, Yannis Koutroupis, raves about the Nets’ offseason: “They couldn’t afford to enter a new era in Brooklyn without a team worth rooting for and that’s exactly what they have now.” Another writer, Alex Raskin, points out that Gerald Wallace, despite his flaws, is arguable the best defender on the team: “Even into his 30s, Wallace matches up with shooting guards, small forwards and undersized power forwards. He rebounds well, and best of all, Wallace’s intensity is beyond question.” Raskin also throws support behind Avery Johnson:
His record won’t show it, but Johnson is probably a better coach now than he was with the Mavericks. There is no grey area with players and he has enough job security to say whatever he’s feeling, whether that’s publicly to the media or within the locker room. But that freedom hasn’t turned Johnson into a tyrant. Now he’s the kind of coach who’s willing to meet privately with his guys away from the team facility. Johnson is direct, head strong and supportive of everyone that puts on the uniform.
In conclusion, Raskin writes, the pressure is on for the Nets to win, “The Knicks, 76ers, Celtics and Toronto Raptors will all be vying for playoff spots and if the Nets don’t finish among the top six teams in the Eastern Conference (maybe the top four), the 2012-13 season will probably be judged as a failure.”
The Nets’ offense should really be special next season and barring injuries, Brooklyn should be able to compete for the second overall seed in the Eastern Conference. I am concerned about their interior defense in part because Humphries, Lopez, and Teletovic are not renowned pick-and-roll defenders.