2012/13 NBA season previews: Brooklyn Nets
There is a lot of buzz around the newest team in the NBA, the Brooklyn Nets. However, the word ‘new’ is a little misleading. ‘Relocated’ would be a more accurate term, as one of the NBA’s perennial disappointments, the New Jersey Nets, attempts to shed itself of the stench of the Meadowland swamps.
These are the three biggest questions for the Nets in 2012/13:
Why all the hype?
There is always a lot of excitement around a new team in the NBA, even if technically it’s more of a re-brand for the Nets.
They were able to re-sign All Star point guard Deron Williams to a lucrative contract, and got him some long overdue help by trading for fellow All Star Joe Johnson. That potentially gives the Nets the best backcourt in the NBA.
Up front, there is a lot of potential with the athletic Gerald Wallace joining Kim Kardashian’s ex, Kris Humphries. Together they will try to offset the poor rebounding of centre Brook Lopez, who at least is a proven low post scorer.
So things will be better on the court with an improved roster.
There is also a new logo, new uniforms, an excited fan-base, a state-of-the-art stadium, the deep pockets of Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov, the star power of part-owner Jay Z, the coolness of Brooklyn, and overall, the optimism of a fresh start.
So, at this stage, there are more than enough factors to warrant the hype. It’s now up to the team to deliver where it counts: on the court.
Is Deron Williams an elite level point guard?
It’s funny what playing on a terrible team for a couple of years will do to a player’s reputation.
Through no fault of his own, Williams has slipped from the conversation about the very best point guards in the NBA. Chris Paul, Rajon Rondo, Russell Westbrook, Derrick Rose and Tony Parker have dominated the discussions about the league’s best over the last couple of years, yet you could easily make a case for Williams being better than all of them.
But when you do compare all these players, the one glaring weakness in Williams resume is that he hasn’t made the playoffs for the last two years. And rightly or wrongly, point guards are judged on their team’s success.
Yet it’s hard to blame Williams, as he has been surrounded by stiffs for teammates. His own game certainly hasn’t deteriorated. He’s strong, fast, a dangerous outside shooter, a great passer, very tough defensively, and a good leader.
With an improved supporting cast this year, expect the Nets to make the playoffs, and for the kudos and respect to flow back Williams way.
So, are the Nets serious title contenders?
The team will improve this year, and should challenge for a top-four spot in the East. However, the gulf between Miami, Boston and the rest of the conference is quite large.
The Nets will be exciting and win a lot of games. But at the end of the day, they’ll just be a speed bump for Miami or Boston on the way to the NBA finals.
However, that’s still an upgrade from whipping boys, and the ballclub is certainly headed in the right direction.
Brooklyn Nets Snapshot:
Last season (as New Jersey):
- 22 wins, 44 losses
- Finished 12th in the Eastern Conference, and fifth in the Atlantic Division
- Did not qualify
Statistical leaders in 2011/12:
Points: Deron Williams (21.0 ppg)
Rebounds: Kris Humphries (11.0 rpg)
Assists: Deron Williams (8.7 apg)
Joe Johnson, CJ Watson, Andray Blatche, Josh Childress
Anthony Morrow, Jordan Farmar, DeShawn Stevenson, Gerald Green
Career Record: 240 wins, 172 losses
Predicted finish in 2012/13:
- 4th in the Eastern Conference
- 2nd in Atlantic Division
- Lose in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs
Ryan is an ex-representative basketballer who shot too much, and a (very) medium pace bowler. He's been with The Roar as an expert since February 2011, has written for the Seven Network and NBA Down Under, and been a regular on ABC radio. Ryan tweets from @RyanOak.
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