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Brooklyn Nets

A Lakers fan’s guide to rooting in the 2014 playoffs

For the first time in nearly a decade, it’s late April and Lakers fans everywhere have nowhere to be. It’s a strange feeling for a fanbase that hasn’t seen a television set bereft of purple and gold more than a half dozen times in fifty years. Even as I sit and watch these incredible playoffs unfold, with titanic matchups like this spectacular Memphis Grizzlies/Oklahoma City Thunder series or the “no holds barred” battle between the Clippers and Golden State Warriors, I know there’s still a very foreign feeling of basketball emptiness in the hearts of the Lakers fans everywhere.
 
I feel you, brothers and sister. I really do. So what is there to root for? Is there anything to root for? Why should we care after the worst season in Los Angeles Lakers history?
 
Well, that’s why we’re here, kids. After a couple of weeks reconstituting myself from too many minutes of Wesley Johnson throughout the year, I finally recollected all of my hoophead passion and redirected it towards all the hate and bile in my heart. No, there are no Lakers to cheer on this spring. However, that doesn’t mean that Lakers fans don’t have anything to root for.
 
Going through the playoff bracket, I found ways for us to be collectively emotionally involved with hate binding us together. Is this the most positive exercise in the world? No, it’s not. This is pretty much the worst thing we can do karmically. But my friends, the hate will sustain us through the long summer. Let’s hit it: who can Lakers fans root for in these playoffs?
 
(Read on at Silver Screen & Roll)

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The NBA’s biggest surprises, halfway through the season–Part 1

There are only three teams over .500 in the Eastern Conference. Lance Stephenson is somehow not just a rotation player, but a…great one? I still barely know who Lance Stephenson is. The casualty list of serious injury to franchise cornerstones is higher than usual: Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose, Russell Wesetbrook, Chris Paul, Marc Gasol, Brook Lopez and Al Horford, amongst others. Derek Fisher is still getting major minutes for one of the best teams in the league.

It’s been a weird NBA season. Very weird.

Somehow, we’re almost at the halfway mark of the year and I’ve been astounded at every turn. Just to round up how we’ve gotten to where we are, here are some thoughts on some of the biggest surprises of the year:

The Brooklyn Nets are getting better, but have generally been pretty horrible

Pretty easy to summarize: a ton of injuries + a bad coach = a bad team.

However, what’s most surprising is how none of us saw this coming. Even this prestigious blog predicted the Nets would finish third in the Eastern Conference. I would have locked that in knowing just how completely barren they are of competent teams east of the Mississippi. Most of us figured that adding the defensive monstrosity of Kevin Garnett, the late game shot making of Paul Pierce and adding pieces like Jason Terry and Andre Kirilenko to the bench would make this one of the toughest, most physical teams in the league.… Read more...

The Final Countdown: Brooklyn Nets Season Preview

Starting Five: PG Deron Williams, SG Paul Pierce, SF Joe Johnson, PF Kevin Garnett, C Brook Lopez
 
Key Bench Players: SG Jason Terry, SF Andrei Kirilenko, PF Reggie Evans, C Andray Blatche
 
Notable offseason additions: C/PF Kevin Garnett, SG Paul Pierce, SG Jason Terry, SF Andrei Kirilenko, Head Coach Jason Kidd
 
Notable offseason subtractions:  SF Gerald Wallace, SG Keith Bogans, SG MarShon Brooks, PF Kris Humphries
 
FACT OR FICTION: The Nets will be legitimate title contenders to challenge the Miami Heat
 
FACT. Their starting five and sixth man are All-Stars. ‘Nuff said.
 
Last year, the Brooklyn Nets were the new, cool kid on the block. They moved into the neighborhood, took your lunch money, stole your girlfriend, beat you up, and did it all while Empire State of Mind blasts forth from the hulking Barclays Center in the heart of Brooklyn. Coming off the closeout year at the Prudential Center and New Jersey Nets as we knew them, riddled with injuries and trade rumors, the Nets staked their claim in New York and even saw a playoff berth. They were fresh, fun and exciting to watch, but underneath all of the glitz and the glamour the true nature of the Nets reared its ugly mug causing even the most diehard Brooklynette’s fan to look away.… Read more...

(Not So Instant) Trade Analysis: Kevin Martin to the Minnesota Timberwolves, Andrei Kirilenko to the Brooklyn Nets

Minnesota Timberwolves get: SG Kevin Martin (four years, $30 million), re-signed SF Chase Budinger (three years, $16 million), re-signed Corey Brewer (three years, $15 million)
 
Milwaukee Bucks get: PG Luke Ridnour, Minnesota second round draft pick
 
Oklahoma City Thunder get: The draft rights to second round PF Szymon Szewczyk. Szeriously.
 
Brooklyn Nets get: F Andrei Kirilenko (three years, $9 million)
 
In a series of transactions that slapped each other like dominoes, five major league basketball players switched squads as if a group of GMs played a round of high stakes musical chairs.
 
The Timberwolves were at the center here, first passing on the opportunity to re-sign Kirilenko after the Russian forward opted out of a Minnesota contract that would have paid him $10 million this year. Vastly overestimating the market of contending teams that would offer him the same money over multiple years, AK47 signed a cut rate deal with the Brooklyn Nets for three years and $9 million, with the third year being a player option. With that extra money coming off the books, the Wolves re-signed forward Chase Budinger, brought back their 2007 number 7 draft pick Corey Brewer and dumped Luke Ridnour onto the Bucks in order to sign-and-trade for Kevin Martin. For their participation in facilitating Martin’s end of the transaction, the Oklahoma City Thunder got the rights to 2009 second round draft pick and Polish sensation Szymon Szewczyk, who may never play in the NBA. Even amidst all these signings, the Timberwolves still have enough cap room to retain free agent center Nikola Pekovic and possibly still be under the luxury tax threshold (depending on how nuts they decide to go with his contract).… Read more...

Instant Trade Analysis: Garnett and Pierce to the Brooklyn Nets

Brooklyn Nets get: F/C Kevin Garnett, SF Paul Pierce, SG Jason Terry
 
Boston Celtics get: F Kris Humphries, SF Gerald Wallace, SG Keith Bogans, SF Kris Joseph, SG MarShon Brooks, 1st round picks in 2014, 2016, 2018 and rights to swap picks in 2017
 
First and foremost, let’s take a minute to memorialize The Big Three Era in Boston: you broke my spirit and I hated you with every part of my being. You played beautiful basketball to the detriment of any opponent without enough toughness to deal with it. You will be remembered as champions, though your longest lasting contribution might be bullying LeBron James for long enough that you helped him blossom into potentially the best basketball player ever. Rest in peace, or not. You assholes.
 
That felt good.
 
Let’s get this out of the way: the Celtics made the right move here. Doc is gone, Rondo is recovering from ACL surgery and their offseason moves last year didn’t completely pan out. Jeff Green is a much nicer player than most of us could have ever predicted, Jason Terry doesn’t have as much left in the tank as we all thought and both Courtney Lee and Avery Bradley didn’t develop exactly as planned. Pierce is no doubt a Celtics legend, but there’s no room for sympathy compared with delaying a rebuilding period. It’s obvious that GM Danny Ainge still bears the scars of the 1993-2007 C’s, who stunk for 15 years because the team never dealt guys like Larry Bird, Robert Parish, Kevin McHale and company in order to plan for the future. I would spend more time talking about the impact of Pierce’s departure in Boston, but my wheelchair of sympathy is being carted out of the arena. … Read more...

To play Game 7 or not? Defending Derrick Rose…sort of

(The news for weeks is that Derrick Rose, All-Star and 2011 NBA MVP of the Chicago Bulls, has been playing full throttle after a year-long recovery from a torn ACL. However, his return for the 2012-2013 season has all been squashed; he told Turner Sports this week that his “muscle memory” isn’t getting his body to respond correctly. This all might be a moot point–the Bulls might be competing in their last game of the year tonight, a Game 7 against the Nets in Brooklyn.
 
To say that Chicago is banged up is an understatement. In addition to Rose, the team won’t have Luol Deng tonight, whose flu infection got him hospitalized not just once, but twice this past week. Rose fill-in PG Kirk Hinrich is questionable with a badly bruised calf, while his fill-in Nate Robinson was reportedly throwing up on the sidelines from illness during Game 6. Center Joakim Noah is suffering from a case of plantar fascitiis that has him playing at around 60-70%. His bench counterpart Taj Gibson is the third Bull to fall to the flu, and barely made the call for Game 6.
 
With his team almost paralyzed with injury, many have asked that if Derrick Rose is going all-out in practice, shouldn’t he be playing in his team’s most crucial game of the year?
 
Not having any practical experience in competitive basketball, we went straight to our man El Mariachi, whose teenage years were wrought with knee injuries of every kind. Take it away, bru–should Derrick Rose be playing tonight?)
 
Every injury a basketball player sustains throughout their career forever affects and changes the way they play the game. Basketball, like most other sports, is about millions of different micro-calculations made by your body every nanosecond. Hand eye coordination, vision, strength, balance, and awareness all while under physical and sometimes psychological distress, take their toll on a player’s body and mind from the jump ball to the final buzzer. Add on top of that an aching heel, weak knee, sore shoulder, or even illness, the body will adapt like the amazing creation it is. And whether it’s subconsciously or deliberate, the body of a player will always over compensate even in the smallest sense of the word.
 
In my young basketball career I was diagnosed with osteochondritis dissecans, a degenerative bone condition that took me out of the game for two years. Four surgeries, 10 months on crutches and countless hours of physical therapy later, I was back on the court. But it never was the same.… Read more...

NBA Playoffs: Eastern Conference First Round Predictions

It’s Christmas kids. Except instead of Jesus being born, we’re celebrating a bunch of overpaid athletes play a game we’d all happily do for a fraction of the money. It’s pretty much the same thing, right?
 
Let’s get right to it–MAMBINO official predictions and commentary from the whole team:
 
1) Miami Heat vs. 8) Milwaukee Bucks
 
Why is this a clean sweep for the Heat?

 
El Mariachi: LeBron James.  … Read more...

MAMBINO’s NBA Preview Series: Most Improved, Disappointing and Regressed Teams

The MAMBINO crew came together and threw down their predictions for not just the formal NBA awards, but also for the most improved, disappointing and regressed teams for the 2012-2013 season. Our choices for MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Eastern and Western Conference winners and of course, NBA Champion will come next week.  For now, check out some work from El Mariachi and KOBEsh on the most improved, disappointing and regressed teams:

Who will be the most improved team this season?
El Mariachi: The Brooklyn Nets

The end of the 2010-2011 season was an exciting albeit disappointing one for Nets fans. The surprise trade for All-Star point guard Deron Williams was a huge move that many thought would be the major piece in bringing three-time Defensive Player of the Year and six-time All-Star center Dwight Howard to Brooklyn. But when they lost Williams’ first three games and then proceeded to lose him to injury for most of the end of the season, most Nets fans would call it a wash or quite frankly a disappointing end. But next year it could only get better. Right? No. It got worse. No matter how you look at it, the 2011-2012 season for the Nets was rougher than the year before. With the preseason stress fracture to Brook Lopez’s foot – which caused him to miss all but five games – the Nets found themselves with a 22-44 record and that they would blow everyone out in one category; total games missed due to injury totaling in 248. And with trade rumors hovering over the franchise and talks of Deron leaving after this year, it looked like the Nets were going to have to rent out their new home at the Barclays Center to the New York Wizards.

The Nets couldn’t have hit any lower than they were for the last two years which is why the 2012-2013 season is the year they have no choice but to improve and actually make it into the playoffs. 

Once Dwight was off the table, this season was quite honestly looking mighty bleak for the Nets. But the acquisition of six-time All-Star Joe Johnson and the re-signing of Williams breathed life back into the franchise and brought a sense of relief to Jay-Z that he wouldn’t have to do a show every weekend until he’s dead. The pairing of Johnson and Williams threatens to be one of the best backcourts in the league. Now that Brook Lopez is back in the fold, this is the first time in a long time that we will be seeing a healthy starting five for Brooklyn, instead of the 25 different starting lineups we saw last year.

If the Nets won (which happened…sometimes), it was because Williams put the team on his back. Now with the Brook and Johnson as his weapons, we can expect to see him spreading the ball around and being the facilitator we know he can be which should get him more looks than last yea
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THE GREAT PODBINO – Episode #2, Part 2: NBA Eastern Conference Preview

Not only that, but about 20 minutes of Knicks chatter from two NY faithful, El Miz and Bockerknocker. Truly a series of can’t-miss rants and hopelessly hopeful musings. Ah, Knicks fans. You endlessly fascinate me.

Also, the PODBINO is now downloadable, so if for some reason you have the strange desire to take our voices on the road with you, you’re free to do so!

Check it!

 

Also, peep Part 1 if you missed it!… Read more...

Out of the Swamp and Into the BK – Brooklyn Nets Preview

Starting Five: PG Deron Williams, SG Joe Johnson, SF Gerald Wallace, PF Kris Humphries, C Brook Lopez

Key Bench Players:
PG CJ Watson, SG MarShon Brooks, F Mirza Teletovic, PF Reggie Evans, PF/C Andray Blatche, G Tyshawn Taylor


Notable offseason additions: SG Joe Johnson, F Mirza Teletovic, PF Reggie Evans, PF/C Andray Blatche, G Tyshawn Taylor


Notable offseason subtractions: PG Jordan Farmar, SG DeShawn Stevenson, G/F Gerald Green, G/F Anthony Morrow, PF Johan Petro

It was a huge factor,” Williams told us about the Nets moving to Brooklyn. “I don’t think I would have even thought about staying if it (the Nets franchise) was staying in New Jersey.Yahoo!

I had never been to Brooklyn until the press conference, and that was something like I’ve never experienced before. It was unbelievable — all the fans coming out to welcome us. It was something I’ve never been a part of.  I had a great time.“–Joe Johnson from SI.com

The one thing Brook [Lopez] always said was he wanted to play in the building [the $1 billion Barclays Center] when it opens“–Nets GM Billy King from ESPN

Whether or not you believe that the wholesale changes to the Nets franchise will make them into a title contender, there’s no doubt that the Nets are made better this year merely by moving out of the New Jersey wasteland and into a civilized country. 

The team recently made their debut on the Barclays Center hardwood, a sparkling, state of the art arena located right on top of one of the busiest public transportation hubs in all of New York City. The Nets were the ugly, toothless, red-headed, lice-ridden step-sister of metro area sports; from their location in the decrepit IZOD Center (formerly Continental Airlines Arena) and later the Prudential Center in Newark, both located well out of city limits to tepid fan support even at the team’s early decade zenith. The former New Jersey franchise had the least cache out of any professional sports team attached to the back page of the Post, including the anonymous New York Islanders

(All of that was very politically correct–the summary is that no one gave a shit about the Nets. Last year, BockerKnocker and I went to a Houston Rockets/Nets game for $2.50 a seat. That wasn’t a typo. Two dollars and fifty cents. Needless to say, I happily footed the entire bill)

Ever since the team‘s move to Brooklyn was made official with the ribbon cutting ceremony at Barclays, the striking black and white BK Nets gear has been ubiquitous around town. With their ownership attached to the greatest rapper alive and their location in the hippest part of town, the Nets somehow became a source of…credibility, a noun that has rarely been associated with a franchise that ranks amongst the country’s most disgraceful. So far, fan support has followed, as evidenced by full arenas in preseason games and general excitement throughout the five boroughs. 

However, like any major market with several competing teams vying for front page attention, the Nets have to actually put it on the floor and churn out consistent victories to matter. To do so, they’ve fortified a team that’s won 58 games in the last three years combined. This past summer, the Nets managed to re-sign four of their starters, including Deron Williams, Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries and the Shaquille O’Neal-endorsed “best big man in the NBA” Brook Lopez, as well as traded for six-time All-Star shooting guard Joe JRead more...