With free agency nearly over, the grades are beginning to roll in for NBA offseasons. The first review we look at will be from Grantland, who has the Brooklyn Nets in the “Generating Divided Opinions and/or Excited Anxiety” category. Here is the full review:
Brooklyn really deserves its own category, because the Nets are generating some toxic combination of animosity, jealousy, and giddy anticipation of a looming franchise apocalypse. Brooklyn has to make the pieces fit, both on the court and in the locker room, where there is a bit of anxiety over how the happy-go-lucky Brook Lopez will mesh with the new screaming maniac from Boston. But these aren’t last year’s Lakers, no matter how badly rival executives wish that to be the case.
Those Lakers, another on-paper juggernaut, went four deep before a falloff to subreplacement players. This team will have five legit All-Star-level starters, with Andrei Kirilenko, Shaun Livingston, Andray Blatche, Jason Terry, Reggie Evans, Mirza Teletovic, and more coming off the bench. They will be a 50-plus win team, and likely better, just by showing up.
They aren’t favorites, and they may well finish behind Chicago, Miami, and Indiana. But if Kevin Garnett can get through the season healthy, people are underselling this team’s chances at making real noise. Again: Miami has been on the ropes in each of the last three seasons, and the Nets were a top-10 offense before exchanging the Brick Machine Formerly Known as Gerald Wallace for three ex-Celtics who should do well in supporting roles. Garnett holds the key to transforming a so-so defense, and if he can work some of his old magic, the Nets will be a very dangerous team. They’d better be, because they’ve mortgaged their future to assemble this roster.
To sum this up, the Nets should easily win 50 games next season, but still not finish any higher than Miami, Chicago, or Indiana, all of which are expected to also win 50 games next season. However, the Nets may need to win more than any of the other teams because they are sacrificed their future by trading away the 3 draft picks in the Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce trade.
I like how this reviewer does not compare the Nets to last season’s Lakers, which is really very silly considering the quality and quantity of players the Nets picked up.
I also agree with some of the questions proposed here about the Nets. We still don’t know if Kevin Garnett will transform Brook Lopez into a tougher, more physical player.
And with the top 4 teams in the east as good as they are when healthy, it would be foolish to think the Nets are a guaranteed top-2 seed.
Meanwhile, the article places Brooklyn’s top 3 competitors in the “Stood Pat” category, while the Manhattan Knicks were the first team listed in the “Generating Bad Buzz” category.