For the last few months there has been a lot of hype surrounding the Brooklyn Nets. It seems like NBA Fans & even basketball analysts have jumped on the back of the teams glitzy move from New Jersey as if it’s a whole new era where the team will become one of the most successful teams in the NBA. Yeah, sure, it could happen… But straight away? Not likely.
Many are basically calling the Nets a lock to make the Playoffs this year & be a contender for the Atlantic Division title. In all honesty, I don’t believe the hype surrounding them.
The Nets may have a new home in Brooklyn, a new arena in the Barclays Center & new black & white jerseys. But if you have a look at the most important part of an NBA team, the roster, it isn’t as shiny, new & chic as the franchises other major changes.
Gone are role players & pine-riders Anthony Morrow, Johan Petro, Jordan Farmar, Jordan Williams & DeShawn Stevenson via trade & Gerald Green, Shelden Williams, Sundiata Gaines & Damion James via free agency & added are Joe Johnson, Tyshawn Taylor, Tornike Shengelia & Reggie Evans via trade & Josh Childress, Andray Blatche, Keith Bogans, CJ Watson, Jerry Stackhouse & Mirza Teletovic via free agency along with 2nd Round draft pick Tornike Shengelia.
That massive rotation of bit-players hasn’t really helped improve the Nets bench too much. You could almost say that with the exception of Joe Johnson, the roster has basically replaced 2nd rate role players & pine riders with equal value role players & pine riders.
Over his last two seasons in Chicago, CJ Watson has proven himself to be a valuable back-up point guard to Derrick Rose. However, moving into Brooklyn where Avery Johnson has alluded that Deron Williams will be playing more minutes this season means that there will certainly be less court-time for CJ Watson & the Nets could have really used that $2m over 2 seasons on bolstering their front-court which off the bench, consists of the unpredictable Blatche, Evans & two European rookies Teletovic & Shengelia.
Sure, Joe Johnson was a great addition to the team, but his salary of over $19m doesn’t equate to the level of play that we’ve seen out of him over the last few years in Atlanta. Many thought that his contract, which still has $89m & 4 years left on it, was going to be basically un-moveable by the Hawks, however Brooklyn decided to make a gamble & take him on.
Johnson will definitely add to the team on the offensive end, he’s a lock for around 18ppg since he signed his $120m contract two seasons ago & he’s a solid perimeter defender, something that the Nets didn’t have last season.
If you dissect the roster, they’ve only really improved by adding Johnson… last season, the Nets finished with 22 wins from 66 games & in 12th Place in the East & dead last in their Division.
If we sit back & think about it, people are basically saying that a 33% win team last season, has added Joe Johnson & now we’re saying that they are going to contend for their Division? Or at worst, be a lock for the Playoffs? It’s crazy! It’s almost as if ever since the Nets have gone through their “Jay-Zafied” (new word, claiming it) re-branding this summer it’s like everyone’s forgotten the past, even the immediate past ever since Deron Williams has joined the franchise.
Brook Lopez has been injury prone throughout his career & hasn’t really lived up to the expectations that people have put on him. Being in the same Division as 3 of the 5 best Centres in the NBA right now – Andrew Bynum, Tyson Chandler & Kevin Garnett, will make his job even tougher this season. Lopez will struggle to match up against each of these players.
Kris Humpheries played the most minutes for the team last season… Kris Humphries probably wouldn’t start on 26 of the other 29 teams in the League.
Gerald Wallace is a good scorer, versatile player & a one of the elite defenders for his position, but he’s now in his thirties & we’ve seen his productivity decline over the last two season.
The Nets main Divisional rivals in the New York Knicks, Boston Celtics & Philadelphia 76ers have all made moves this off-season to keep them in the Eastern Elite & should all be considered Playoff locks this season with the 76ers potentially being the big improver with the addition of Bynum.
Whilst it should be expected that the Nets will improve this season & I expect them to potentially challenge for the 8th seed in the East, lets just try & not get caught up in the marketing hype surrounding the team at the moment & remember what they really are right now… An NBA Cellar Dweller that has added an overpaid all-star & has replaced bit-players with similar bit-players & not an elite team.
New City… New Uniforms… New Arena… Pretty much the same Nets.