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.
They didn’t have the heart to succeed.
With all the talent of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and the now All-Star center Brook Lopez, one would think winning would be a no brainer for the Nets to win, but starting from the top all the way down to the bottom, the Nets didn’t believe in themselves. They didn’t have Chicago’s aggressiveness, Miami’s confidence, Indiana’s persistence, or the Celtics toughness.
Enter KG and Paul Pierce stage right.
Kevin “Loves-A-Good-Bar-Fight” Garnett is a nuclear bomb of NBA mentality and tenacity. He not only brings the physical and mental toughness to Brooklyn that the Nets were sorely lacking, but he also bring the intangibles in the locker room that newly retired/newly hired Head Coach Jason “Coaching-Chronicles-Of-Riddick” Kidd will most definitely benefit from. Add Paul “All-Time-Clutcher-of-Clutchness” Pierce to the equation, the Nets are once again stacked with an All-Star laden roster with championship or bust in mind.
Now that Mikhail Prokhorov has assembled the Avengers, the Nets can take control of the Atlantic Division knocking off the Knicks and challenge the Miami Heat for Eastern Conference supremacy. They certainly have the veteran leadership and the depth to go the distance. And now with AK-47 coming off the bench alongside Jason Terry and Reggie Evans, they will surely have the reserve firepower that they were lacking in 2012-2103. And re-signing Andray Blatche for pennies on the dollar, they will have the bodies to cover the now 37 year old Garnett. As long as this team can stay healthy, something that their aging bodies have struggled with, and have enough in the tank, they will have a solid chance at one last run at a championship.
Let’s face it, the Nets mortgaged their future in the blockbuster trade of the offseason. They traded three first round draft picks to get Pierce and KG and with one year left on Pierce’s contract and KG contemplating retirement, the window is very small for the star studded cast. Because not only are the Bulls getting their MVP back with Rose which will surely have them in title contention, the Pacers continue to knock on the Heat’s door with their ever improving stars.
On paper, this team is championship bound. Plain and simple. But in reality, the question still remains whether or not they can muster enough health to make the final push. In any case, it’s a very exciting time to be not only a Nets fan, but a fan of the NBA in general. The Eastern Conference is loaded with title contenders. I can’t wait to see what happens.
Best Case Scenario: The team can stay healthy long enough to make a strong push in the playoffs and dethrone the Heat and win a title against the depleted Western Conference, thus facilitating Pokhorov’s promise to make Paul Pierce All-Czar of Soviet Russia.
Absolute Apocalypse: The Nets can’t stay healthy enough to gel, leading to only an Eastern Conference finals appearance thus facilitating the promise that Jason Kidd will pay the $70 million luxury tax bill.
Expected Outcome: 1st in the Atlantic, 3rd in the Eastern Conference
Do you smell what MAMBINO is cooking? Check out the rest (so far) of our 2013-2014 NBA Season Preview series: