NBA Season Wrap Up: Brooklyn Nets
They brought professional sports back to Brooklyn, opened a fancy new arena, have big name players and an owner with deep pockets who is wants to win, and had home court in the first round. Yet this season still seemed like a disappointment. Only in New York.
Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov's insistence on immediate success really put the team in a hole. Trading a top-3 protected draft pick, that eventually became Damian Lillard, for Gerald Wallace, taking on Joe Johnson's monstrous six year deal and paying Kris Humphries $12 Million a year aren't looking like such great moves anymore. The team has talent, however, and the core of Brook Lopez and Deron Williams will keep them in the hunt for years to come. But they have so little financial flexibility that it's hard to imagine they could really improve the team that much in the offseason.
The best thing they can do, and the first thing they need to do, is find a coach that can get talented veterans to play together. Unfortunately Phil Jackson, who has won 11 titles doing that exact thing, claims he has no interest in the Nets job. But Prokhorov is worth around $13 Billion, so maybe they'll find the right price to get the Zen master back into the game. If they can't land Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy is an option for an organization that clearly loves to have big names.
The 2012-13 Nets finished with a 49-33 record, including a 35-19 mark under PJ Carlesimo, who took over after Avery Johnson was booted 28 games in. They had the third slowest pace in the league and were the 17th highest scoring team despite having the 8th highest Offesive Rating. Their offense was just fine but heir defense, however, needs improvement. Marshon Brooks, for example, was a defensive liability so they were not able to play him much even though he is one of their better offensive players.
Gerald Wallace was a big problem in 2012-13. He isn't the same defender he used to be an opposing teams hardly need to think about him on the other end of the floor. He averaged 7.7 points and 4.6 rebounds in 30 minutes a game. He shot 39% from the field and 28% from beyond the arc. Those are his worst numbers since his Sacramento days when he was buried deep on the bench. It's one thing for a defensive stopper to be an offensive non-factor, but this Wallace was a non-factor in every respect.
Andre Iguodala is a big name who could be that defensive stopper and energy guy that the Nets really needed this year. He could be available in free agency but the Nets are way over the cap so they'd have to do a sign and trade or find some other way to get creative.
Still, priority #1 is finding the right coach. This team has enough pieces that the right coach may just do the trick.
Andre Blatche, Keith Bogans, and Jerry Stackhouse and unrestricted free agents and C.J. Watson has a player option.