Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Brooklyn Nets Tip-Off Season In Beantown

From the desk of:  THE HOOPS OF FLATBUSH

Regular Season Opener

Brooklyn Nets
Boston Celtics

BROOKLYN NETS: Billy King Facing His Most Uncertain Season On Flatbush.

The Nets won 49 games during their first season in Brooklyn.  After a horrific start last season, the Nets still managed to post 44 victories.  They finished in 2nd place of the Atlantic Division each time.

So what does Billy King's ever changing roster, and the 2014-15 Brooklyn Nets have in store this time?

  • Key Losses: Shaun Livingston, Andray Blatche, Reggie Evans, Coach Jason Kidd.
  • Key Additions: Jarrett Jack, Bojan Bogdanovic, Sergey Karasev, Jerome Jordan, Coach Lionel Hollins.
  • 2014 Draft: Billy King has compromised the Nets draft for years to come.  Somehow, he managed to purchase the 44th overall pick (from Minnesota) guard Markel Brown, and 60th overall pick (from the 76ers) forward Cory Jefferson.
  • Returning: Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson, Kevin Garnett, Mason Plumlee, Alan Anderson, Mirza Teletovic, Andrei Kirilenko, and Jorge Gutierrez.

I'll start by saying this will perhaps be Billy King's most uncertain season.

His biggest worry is split between his two top players.  Deron Williams and Brook Lopez are both returning from off-season surgery, and the latter will miss the season opener Wednesday evening in Boston.

Lopez missed nearly all of 2 of the last 3 seasons with recurring foot injuries.  More so than even Deron Williams, Brook's presence on the court, or absence, factors most in Nets success, or lack thereof.  He also effectively dictates what style of play the Nets utilize (although Coach Hollins is trying to dispel that notion).  Nevertheless, the Nets open the 2014-15 campaign with front court issues.

Deron Williams had off-season surgery performed on both ankles.

The big trade with Boston didn't work out the way Billy King had hoped.  Paul Pierce is now with the Wizards, while at 38-years of age, Kevin Garnett returns for his 20th NBA season.

Andrei Kirilenko, Joe Johnson, and Alan Anderson, albeit all good players, are no spring chickens either.  Andrei will turn 34-years old in February, Joe-Jo turned 33-years old in June, and Anderson turned 32-years old this month.

There will be a huge spotlight shining upon 31-year old veteran Jarrett Jack - Billy King's big acquisition (via the Cavs) of the off-season.

Joining him will be a pair of European imports.  After a few years playing in Turkey, Bojan Bogdanovic is an NBA rookie, while Jerome Jordan is returning to the NBA after playing last season in Italy.  He was drafted in 2010 by the Bucks, and played one NBA season (2011-12) with the Knicks.

On the more familiar side of things, Mirza Teletovic and Mason Plumlee perhaps represent two of the Nets more promising players.

The grand plan ultimately circles back around Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, and Joe Johnson - the three main constants of the Brooklyn era.

Coaching on the other hand, has been far from settled.  The Nets are on their 4th coach since moving to Brooklyn.  Lionel Hollins is the new man in charge promising more team cohesion, and less isolation.  Defense remains to be seen, rebounding will pose a big problem, and forget about team speed.

The Nets competition across the river is in Phil Jackson's hands now.  They will also be contending with Toronto, Indiana, Cleveland, Miami, Washington, and Chicago makes 7 teams.

Include any other team you like, but the 2014-15 Nets season looks like it will be a battle for the 6th to 8th seed in the conference....again.

Ending the regular season between 44 and 49 victories will be quite a challenge.


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