Last offseason, the Nets were preparing for a move to a new state and a new city. Before they officially made the move, the Nets brought some of the same and new people for the move. They re-signed Brook Lopez, Deron Williams, Gerald Wallace, and acquired Joe Johnson. As the season came, the Nets had their share of pros and cons. They won the first game against cross-town rival, the New York Knicks. After this victory, the Nets started to struggle and it looked like they would start to fall back into their old habits. After going 3-10 in the month of December, the Nets fired Avery Johnson and turned to P.J. Carlesimo to run things. Posting a 49-33 record, the Nets were the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference and faced the 5th seed Chicago Bulls. The Nets had a short playoff run as they lost in the first round to the Bulls in seven games. Going into the offseason, the Nets had issues to solve: the head coach situation and how to get better as a team.
From Green & White to Black & White
After a productive season, the Nets looked to get better as a team. With Joe Johnson struggling at times, and Deron Williams playing like he hated the system, the Nets would need some more help. On June 28th the Nets solved their problems. They acquired Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry from the Celtics. In return, the Celtics received Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, and Marshon Brooks, to name a few. With Garnett, Pierce, and Terry joining the team, the Nets have that championship experience they lacked the season before. The Nets have also upgraded in their talent level as Pierce and Garnett are better forwards than Wallace and Humphries. Even though Marshon Brooks has potential, Jason Terry (if he performs like he is in Dallas) can score prolifically off the bench and play solid defense if needed. There is only one problem with this star-studded Net team; can they coexist? Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Brook Lopez have all led their respective teams in scoring for many years. The only player mentioned that is pass-first is Deron Williams, on occasion. Another question that can be asked is who does the ball go to at the end of games? Paul Pierce is one of the most respected players in the clutch in NBA history. However, Joe Johnson is not afraid to have the ball in his hands with 10 seconds left in the fourth quarter. It will be interesting to see what the Nets are going to do this season with their new team. For finding some help in the offseason, the Brooklyn Nets get an A.
Developing a Supporting Cast
Last season, one of the Nets’ main problems was the bench production. The bench, that consisted of C.J. Watson, Marshon Brooks, Andray Blatche, Kris Humphries, Reggie Evans, and Jerry Stackhouse, was not enough to help the Nets. Since the Nets now have a star-studded starting lineup, they had to address the issue of the bench. To solve this issue, the Nets signed Andrei Kirilenko who is a versatile forward who can play defense at a high level. AK-47 (as he is called) can also provide the Nets with some scoring off the bench when either Garnett or Pierce needs a rest. The Nets also acquired swingman Alan Anderson who is a streaky shooter that plays decent defense. Then you have “The JET” who is well-known for his prolific scoring off the bench and the amount of energy he displays. If the Nets get the production that Jason Terry displayed last season, then the Nets could have issues. The Nets have really upgraded their bench, but they could use some more pieces just in case of injuries. Also, they need these players to consistently produce (which means night in and night out). For developing a nice supporting cast, the Nets get an A-.
Old Faces. New Roles.
Going into the offseason, the Nets’ main issue was the coaching situation. After an early playoff exit, P.J. Carlesimo lost his job as head coach of the Brooklyn Nets. After many coaches were available, such as former Nets’ head coaches Byron Scott and Lawrence Frank, they chose to go with a familiar face who turned the Nets into a force from 2002 until 2008. The Nets decided to go with Jason Kidd as the new head coach of the Nets. As a player, he was known to have a high basketball I.Q. and displayed qualities of being an exceptional coach. In the 2012-2013 season, in certain situations Jason Kidd knew when to slow the offense down, or when to take a meaningful timeout. He could also be seen on the bench actually coaching or helping out the coaching staff with plays. With the Nets bringing Jason Kidd in as head coach, they have someone who obviously is new to coaching, but can talk to his players from experience. The same situation happened in Golden State and it proved to help a lot for the team. Jason Kidd will not be alone, as the Nets hired one of his former coaches in Lawrence Frank; he can serve as a great assistant coach and guide for Jason Kidd. This move is great for the Nets because a) Jason Kidd can speak from experience and b) Jason Kidd has great chemistry with Williams, Pierce, Garnett, and Terry. However, the Nets could have brought in a coach like Brian Shaw, George Karl, Byron Scott, Jerry Sloan, or even Scott Skiles for the experience factor when it comes to coaching. For getting a rookie coach in Jason Kidd, the Nets get a B+
Going into this offseason, the Nets just needed to do something to better themselves as a team; one can honestly say they did this. By improving the starting lineup through a blockbuster trade and almost fully developing a bench, the Nets could be serious contenders really soon. However, the question now is: what is their window for success looking like? Due to Garnett being 37, AK-47 being 33, and Pierce and Terry being 35, the window for the Nets to achieve a title is very small. From the moves this offseason, the Nets
could should win a little more than 50 games. 64-18 is a huge stretch, but with Jason Kidd as coach, this Nets team could win 52-54 games if the they remain healthy and the bench consistently produces. For the second year in a row, the Nets did not disappoint their fans and when asked the question of who is the better New York team, the Nets have seriously made strides to dethroning the Knicks of that title.
Free Agency Grade: A