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Coming into this season, the Brooklyn Nets were one of the most highly anticipated teams. On paper, Brooklyn had composed a team of all-stars that had the potential to contend for an NBA Championship.
The Nets have one of the most talented point guards in the NBA in Deron Williams. They had the blockbuster trade of the offseason, gaining offensive great Paul Pierce and the great Kevin Garnett. They brought in defensive stopper Andre Kirilenko to join Joe Johnson and the budding Brook Lopez. It was a team with a powerful starting line-up and plenty of choices coming off the bench.
However, what looks good on paper is very different than what makes a successful team in reality.
Brooklyn is currently 12-21, not currently in a playoff spot, and on a scale of one to 10, is a negative five in reaching expectations for this season.
Sure, you could blame injuries. Williams and Pierce have missed about 10 games. Kirilenko has only played in seven games this season. The most key player, Lopez, is out for the rest of the season after missing significant time with ankle injuries.
Yet, Brooklyn knew it was bringing in many older players. The city knew the time to win a championship had to be now and that they were willing to pay whatever the price to make it happen.
And let’s face it, it’s been a season full of injuries and there are a lot of teams dealing with injuries that are doing better than the Nets. The Lakers, for example, are 14-19. They’ve played the majority of the season without superstar Kobe Bryant due to injury and are going on like their sixth point guard due to injury. They’ve got three starters from their D-League team and the Lakers are doing better than the Nets?
You could blame rookie Head Coach Jason Kidd, but I’ve never been a supporter of blaming a coach when the players aren’t stepping up. He may not be helping the situation still learning on the job, but he was a great basketball player with a great knowledge for the game. Clearly the franchise chose him for a reason, even if that was to hype an already star-studded squad.
It’s possible to blame the fact that sometimes, a bunch of all-stars don’t make a good team and we should take this opportunity to give even greater respect to the Big Three in Boston that won a championship its first year together or the current Miami team that’s gone all the way to the finals its first three seasons together as team full of stars.
You could even blame the fact that the entire eastern conference (with the exception of two teams) is having a dreadful season and say the West is just plain better. But then again, arguably the two best teams in the league are in the East (see Indiana and Miami).
No excuses. The pieces are still there. It’s just about the players putting their pride aside and coming together as one team, not a bunch of all-stars, which is essentially what basketball is all about.
The Nets are a veteran team with many respected players. It’s time to show why.