No Good for Brooklyn
The Brooklyn Nets find themselves in quite the predicament. To be brutally honest, they are a terrible, no good, awful basketball team. This is coming from a fan; there is very little to get excited about on the roster. It has been 4 years since the team moved from New Jersey and was repackaged for its big jump to New York, and the new shine has worn off and left a disaster of a franchise.
To be honest, nothing has gone right with the Nets over the past few years. The Billy King era was highlighted by mortgaging future assets, specifically first round picks until infinity, for immediate, veteran help. The most notable trade is the now infamous, or famous, if you ask a Boston Celtic fan, move to acquire Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry for unprotected first round picks in 2014, 2016, 2018, and the rights to swap firsts with the Nets in 2015 and 2017. The two biggest problems for the Nets is that it’s only 2016 so they will be feeling the repercussions of this trade for two more years and that neither of those three players actually play for the Nets anymore. To be fair, the move was largely complimented at the time, but now every time I see this picture I want to cry:
The pick this year turned in to the 3rd overall pick, because the Nets were basically a dumpster fire on the floor this year. In an attempt to get younger, the Nets were able to flip Thaddeus Young, who was undoubtedly one of their two best players, for a first round pick and grab Caris Levert, a Michigan guard with lottery talent and two foot surgeries-causing his fall to number 20. In the 2nd round, the Nets brought Seton Hall guard and Brooklyn native Isaiah Whitehead. Both of these players possess NBA level talent, yet there are questions surrounding each of them. Levert’s injuries are serious and foot injuries tend to be recurring, while Whitehead is a bit of a headcase. Given the guys currently on the Nets roster, they are both worth a shot.
Moving forward, it is really unclear what direction the Nets should be going in. Bottoming out 76ers style does nothing for them because the Celtics have them by the balls. They have tons of cap space but nobody wants to go play for them. They only established player on their team is Brook Lopez, yet he doesn’t seem to fit in with the small-ball era the league is moving towards. They might be able to find a late 1st round pick for him, but that’s only in the right situation. He’s a good scorer, but he’s big, slow, doesn’t rebound very well and can’t defend the perimeter. Truthfully, he’s talented and I do feel bad for the guy being stuck in basketball hell, but I don’t know what he’s worth.
The Nets have started to move in a new direction at least, as they let go of Billy King, the architect of the Celtics trade, as well as trading the a first round pick for Gerald Wallace to Portland in 2012. King said that he felt there were only three good players in the draft, and the pick ended up being 6th overall, so all was well and good, right? Well, until you go and look at who the pick was and realize it turned out to be Damian Lillard. Yikes. They brought in Sean Marks to replace him, but he really has nothing to work with. They also let go of Lionel Hollins and brought in Kenny Atkinson from Atlanta, so it will be interesting to see if the two of them can start changing the Nets fortune. It could start with free agency, as they have tons of money to spend and could be willing to risk it on young, unproven guys with short contracts. Again, there is no incentive for the Nets to do poorly, so it makes no sense for them to just totally bottom out.
Time will tell if Atkinson and Marks can steer the Nets back into the right direction. However, since things seem to be looking up for 76ers, it may mean the Nets are in the worst position of anybody in the NBA. Although, a few years ago Cleveland was in the dumpster, and they brought in a homegrown product and subsequently won a championship. So, Isaiah Whitehead, the pressure is on.