New Look, New City, New Hope: Why the Brooklyn Nets Have All the Pieces in Place to Excel in Today’s NBA

For a team that has posted a measly record of 126-268 (.320 pct.) over the course of its past five seasons, including a putrid 12-70 season in 2009-10,

Last season was a major disappointment for the Nets, as they managed a meager 22-44 record, leaving the team with major questions going into a new era in Brooklyn.

predicting even a decent season in 2012-13 would be preposterous, but this upcoming NBA season, the newly named Brooklyn Nets have all the pieces in place to exceed decency and surmount even our wildest expectations.

Just 37 days ago, when NBA teams began negotiations with free agents, the Nets faced a potential unloading of their current depth-lacking lineup, which would have put them in complete crisis. Star point guard Deron Williams was an unrestricted free agent, and rumors were strong that he might have been headed to Dallas. Center Brook Lopez, forward Kris Humphries and veteran forward Gerald Wallace were all free agents as well, and losing one of those pieces would have been a colossal blow to the Nets’ roster. Instead, things went in the opposite direction for the Nets, as they re-signed Williams to a five-year deal, Lopez to a four-year deal, Humphries to a two-year deal and Wallace to a four-year deal. In addition to these essential signings, the Nets delivered a knockout punch to the rest of the NBA by sending Jordan Farmar, Johan Petro, Anthony Morrow, Jordan Williams and DeShawn Stevenson to the Hawks in exchange for six-time all-star guard, Joe Johnson. This move put the Nets in prime position with a strong starting lineup including Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries and Brook Lopez. In addition to this durable starting five, a Nets’ bench that

Bringing back Williams and trading for Johnson were two moves that gave the Nets the star power necessary to flourish in the NBA.

faces numerous depth concerns now possesses C.J. Watson, who the Nets signed this offseason to a two-year deal after he cleared waivers, and MarShon Brooks, the young, energetic guard with boatloads of potential.

Even with a remodeled lineup that leads to a renewed sense of hope for the Nets, there are still some nay-sayers out there, saying that their lack of depth will catch up to them or that Williams and Johnson won’t mesh in the Brooklyn backcourt. While both of these are legitimate concerns for the Nets going forward, the positives certainly outweigh the negatives for this upcoming season.

In the past few weeks, the Nets’ dynamic combination of Williams, Johnson, Lopez and Wallace has been dubbed the ‘Core Four.’ The ‘Core Four’ is a very balanced group both offensively and defensively, as they have a top five point guard, a top 10 shooting guard, a top 10 center, and  a reliable defender in Wallace. Compared to the Heat’s ‘Big 3, the ‘Core Four’ is much more balanced, as the ‘Big 3′ does not include a point guard or a center, and they still won the NBA Finals last season. The Nets’ balanced and star-studded ‘Core Four’ has the ability to push the Nets into the Eastern Conference’s elite class this upcoming season.

The entire Nets’ roster contains every trait that a winning NBA team needs: Dynamic scoring (Williams, Johnson), rebounding (Humphries, Lopez),

Hello Brooklyn! The Nets’ new, savvy look and improved sense of swagger is another aspect of the organization that can give the team the confidence it needs to contend.

defense (Wallace, Lopez, Watson), passing (Williams, Watson), outside shooting (Williams, Watson, Johnson, Brooks), and interior offense/defense (Lopez, Humphries). While the Nets seem like a choppy, inconsistent team, they clearly have all the pieces in place to succeed in the Eastern Conference and beyond.

It has all turned around this offseason for the Nets, as on paper, this is a team that can thrive against even the NBA’s best, erase its atrocious reputation in the NBA, and maybe hang up a banner or two during the process. Now, all they have to do is make it happen.

By Sam Brief

Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment, I would love to know if you think the Nets’ offseason successes will be enough to boost them into the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference!

Follow me on Twitter!! (@SamsSportsBrief)


53 thoughts on “New Look, New City, New Hope: Why the Brooklyn Nets Have All the Pieces in Place to Excel in Today’s NBA

  1. If healthy, I agree. With Deron, Joe, Gerald, Kris, Brook and MarShon as a top six, they may be the best team in New York.

    • He wasn’t the best player on the Hawks’ roster at all, but he is still an amazing basketball player who can be a bit streaky at times, but in the long run, adds serious star power the the Nets’ roster.

  2. Sam! You’re back to writing. Good for you. Haven’t heard from you in a while. Anyway, yes we agree as well. The Nets already have changed the culture and not one game in Brooklyn has been played. So much that the Nets are being compared to the Knicks to the point where the Nets have the upper hand in some instances. Nets are definitely going to make a splash.

  3. And those stats meant nothing . Johnson wasn’t even the best player on the Hawks . And what use is a player who essentially hamstrings the Nets with a $60 million contract that’s guaranteed over the next three years .?

    The culture has to change economically because Prokhorov has plowed $1 billion of his own money into the Barclaycard Atlantic Yards development (future home of the Nets) . Hence the reason that former Nets’ owner Bruce Ratner (developer of Atlantic Yards) sold his majority stake in the Nets . Have you looked at the Nets’ attendance figures over the past five years plus ? Then you can understand how dire their situation has now become beyond what has been happening competitively on the basketball court .

    • First of all, 10-12 rebounds per game? This is a guy who hasn’t averaged more than five per game in his whole career, so why would you give him the unrealistic expectation of suddenly doubling his rebounding numbers?

      Secondly, I consider Johnson to be a high caliber consistent scorer, as he’s averaged 20+ points five times in his career.

      I’d say that the Nets can get a four or a five-seed which can push them to the second round. With a few years of experience together behind their backs, the Nets should be able to crack the top three in the East by the 2014-15 season.

      • Unrealistic ? Johnson is a lazy player living large off an undeserving contract ! If he was so high caliber and consistent how do you account for his failure to lead the Hawks anywhere ? The Nets won’t be cracking anything anytime soon and you’re delusional to believe that by 2015 to think that they’ll be top three team in the Eastern Conference . Do you not believe that any of their contemporaries within the conference will improve also ?

        The front office of the Nets over the last four years haven’t been known for showing a great deal of insight ! And that is even with Billy King there in the front office in his capacity as the general manager .

        tophatal ………..

      • The Hawks didn’t have much success with Johnson because there was no other leader paired with him. While Josh Smith is unbelievably talented, he is not a natural-born leader. It was more of a free-for-all with Johnson and Smith. In Brooklyn, it will be much more controlled with Deron Williams, a top-5 point guard and a fantastic leader, controlling the tempo.

  4. Sam

    Leaders lead , and others will follow . It is down to those on the team who seek to assume the role and not sit around watching paint dry …………. which is what you have with the vast majority of the teams in the NBA !

    Williams is no more a leader than Bristol Palin could be considered a role model as a parent ! How then, would you explain his disgraceful behavior that led to the firing of Jerry Sloan while both were with the Jazz ? Or have you forgotten that whole episode as you now salivate over Deron Williams ?

    tophatal …………….

    • I do remember the Sloan-Williams episode clearly, but the details of what exactly happened are still not clear. Williams leads the team on the court exceptionally well and that’s what matters in my mind. He leads by example, and that is the supreme type of leadership.

  5. What is clear, as night is from day , is that he lied when he stated he had nothing to do with Sloan’s firing ! He went behind the coach’s back to voice his concerns with the front office and then stated that he hadn’t done so when there was clear evidence to the contrary . That to me indicates a lack of character , honesty and in integrity ! If those are the traits that you believe necessary in showing leadership then it’s a pity ! Williams hasn’t shown me that he has those traits , certainly not in Utah and it has yet to be shown in New Jersey .

    • In the long run, though, that was just one episode. Everyone makes mistakes, or will slip up once or twice. The good outweighs the bad for Deron Williams, and he is clearly ready to lead this Nets team to the playoffs and beyond.

      • Yes everyone does make mistakes but the fans and public deplore liars once they’re found out . And Williams simply showed his lack of maturity . Far too many fans excuse that type of behavior as a passing phase . When will enough be enough ?

        tophatal ………

      • Since that happened, he has showed a great increase in maturity. I think one example is the way he handled the Nets’ struggles: most stars would complain and whine, but Williams stayed with it, believed in his team, and took the court each day giving 110%.

  6. Hey Sam! First of all I’m glad to see you’re back and as passionate about what you write as ever! Hope you’ll continue posting…

    As for the Nets, I have to agree they should be a much improved version of their former selves this year. They have one of the best 1 and 2 guards in the league and just enough support in Williams, Humphries, & Lopez to compete. I don’t love their bench but most teams have only adequate ones. Should be some real competition in New York now.

    Nice article. Welcome back..

    • Thanks so much, Hank! I understand that the Nets have a weak bench, but, like the Miami Heat showed us this past season, a team can still win big without a strong, reliable bench. The future seems bright for the Brooklyn Nets.

      Thanks again, Hank!

  7. I think the Nets will be third or fourth seed, they will need time to mesh as the Big Three did their first season. I really don’t think they will win a championship with this team though, with the Heat, Lakers, Thunder, Pacers, and possibly the Bulls all legitimate threats. Will they be fun to watch? Heck yes, but as for me I hate them. I have always disliked the Nets, and unless they get Dwight Howard, I always will. They will be better than last season though.

    • I agree, Clark. A third or fourth seed for the next few years seems like an accurate forecast for the Nets, and I think they can make it to the Conference Finals or even the NBA Finals in some of those years. Do I think they will win an NBA title with the current team? No. But do I think they can be an elite basketball team? Of course.

  8. He’s smiling because he has to . Sole focus of a team that will definitely struggle this upcoming season .

    The thing that the Nets have going for them, is that over the years within the Eastern Conference a 45 win season at a minimum , guarantees a playoff berth . Whether or not they attain that figure is now open to conjecture .

    I see the Lakers have pulled of a mega-trade ? D-How ends up with the Lakers and Bynum gets jettisoned. A solid shift within the conference that will make the West all the more interesting .

    tophatal …………..

    • The Nets can win 50 games next season, which should be enough for a four-seed. The reason: Offensive firepower and offensive consistency.

      Also, what a trade! Great job by the Sixers in acquiring Andrew Bynum. The Magic could have gotten more in return for their franchise player. Most importantly, though, Dwight Howard is headed to Los Angeles, and now the Lakers, with a nearly all-star lineup, are the team to beat in the West.

  9. That’s because in terms of real marquee talent there wasn’t much out there in terms upper echelon free agents . Howard wasn’t due ’til 2013 and many players really didn’t test the market because in essence they knew that remaining with their current teams happened to be in their best interest .

    How do you see the Nets coping with the likes of the Bulls , Heat and Celtics this upcoming season ?

    I see the replacement referees will make a mockery of the NFL ? If this idiocy carries over into the regular season , I will definitely go elsewhere in terms of my sporting entertainment . These referees are so inept that it’s beyond belief ! Goodell is a simpleton and a complete jack#ss !

    • I think that the Bulls will struggle this season without Rose and with a new bench lacking depth. The Celtics are aging and I don’t see them keeping up with the Nets. The Heat will be the one-seed, and it will take the Nets a few years to knock them out of that.

      • The Bulls need an additional scoring option . In the case of the Celtics the return of Avery Bradley will bolster that team from a defensive standpoint because he is by far and away their best defensive player . A few years from now is not what team owner Mikhail Prokhorov wants ……………. that team has to be a contender now , not one or two years from now but with the immediacy of here and now !

        That new venue won’t pay for itself with merely the curiosity factor or repeated Jay z concerts .


      • sam, your writing is hot as ever. you are the radioman!

        dontcha think that if the mets owners can attract the investors with big bucks and big egos [like the russians and others], and develop a terrific scouting organization,they have a good shot at the finals next season? or, what am i missing?


      • Thanks, Gpa!

        I think you meant to say Nets instead of Mets. Regardless, in my opinion, it would be a great stretch to say that the Nets have a clear shot at the Finals THIS SEASON because the team won’t have developed the chemistry needed to go to that stage of the playoffs. Once this team really learns how to play together and once the star players learn how to complement each others’ different styles of play, the Nets will be ready to take the next step.

  10. Tyrann Matthieu simply proving what a moron he just happens to be ! Kid gets kicked off the LSU football team peremanently having been busted (possession of marijuana 2nd offense) violating team rules . And please don’t use his age as it being a mistake .

      • Matthieu is an immature imbecile ! Busted for the same dumb rule violation twice ( possession of marijuana & two failed tests ) . McNee State won’t enhance his career and the NFL will have taken note of this latest faux-pas by the player , that’s for sure . It shows he’s got character flaws .

      • Down the line with the Nets ? How far down the line ? Two , three , four or five years ? Wade and LBJ may well be that dominant over that timespan that the Nets won’t even get a seat at the table and they’ll just be left with the scraps . I don’t believe that’s what Prokhorov plowed his money (over $1.5 billion into Atlantic Yards & Nets) the team or development of that complex, for . The team owner is not known to be a patient man when it comes to business or any of his outside business interests .

      • Two or three years sounds reasonable for a possible Nets’ berth in the NBA Finals. It would be a great challenge to compete with the Heat, but, like I said, the Nets’ ‘Core Four’ can oust the Heat’s ‘Big Three’ because of the presence of a solid point guard and center.

  11. Matthieu is an imbecile ! Wishing nothing but the best in the future ? He’s been busted for very same offense twice , so obviously this kid doesn’t seem to possess the aptitude to learn from his mistakes . And most certainly he hurts his future prospects in the NFL .

    • alan, how many times must you call matthieu an imbecile? four minuted apart? your point taken: he likely damaged his career–who can trust him now? but your other blog comments show that you can write better than using pejoratives like imbecile, which is offensive to anyone who suffers from mental retardation. what about “stupid” or “an ignoramus”? –Gpa

      • Does Matthieu suffer from any form of mental retardation ? How many times should he be excused for his stupidity ? You know what’s offensive is Matthieu to believe that have violated team rules , is the fact that anyone believe he’s deserving of a second chance .

        Tophatal …………

  12. On paper, the Nets have a star studded starting five, a great new arena, a billionaire for an owner whom I’m guessing will be like the new Steinbrenner (spending whatever in order to win), and while there might be some early hiccups, like the Heat when they first came together as the “Big 3”, they’ll settle down. Their chances at going far in the playoffs remain to be seen, however.

    Great first post coming from your break!

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