BROOKLYN NETS: Veni, Vidi, Fugheddaboudit...
They paid respects to Kobe Bryant with cheers of MVP! one last time, and got to see Byron Scott again, whom once led the (New Jersey) Nets to back-to-back Eastern Conference titles;
Then they filed out of the building just as disinterested in their own local product as when they entered.
Brooklyn fans, that is...
To say fans exited Barclays Center discouraged would be to imply they cared in the first place. Most of them were there to see Kobe. But actual Nets fans gave their team a silent, chilly glance on their way out the door - as if to say it's time for you to hit the road, Jack (every pun intended), and we'll deal with you when you get back.
The Nets did just that, opening a four game trip with a loss in Milwaukee to Jason Kidd's young Bucks. They're presently off till Wednesday, when they'll visit Houston.
I can't speak for others, plus, I might be overstating the issue. But I doubt it. Very early in this relocation process, I warned just how apathetic this Borough can be when it comes to certain things - their moving into the neighborhood among them.
With every aspect of this organization now seemingly conspiring against him, I say with great confidence as a life-long resident of Kings County, Nets CEO Bret Yormark should be worried.
After a strong initial push into Knicks territory (Bernard King's turf), the Nets invasion efforts are losing ground on all fronts. In truth, the product is bad, getting worse, and has no hope of improving (through the draft for several more years to come), and as a result, the whole campaign is teetering on ruin.
Like any sports franchise or company, most major issues usually start at the top.
Outside of spending money well wasted, ownership has done little else towards convincing the fan base he/they are in this for the long haul. The team generally lacked a greater presence, and perhaps more involvement on Mikhail Prokhorov's part. He has in fact previously entertained thoughts of selling, even if only fleetingly, despite public, yet coded reassurances to the contrary.
It's difficult arguing, however, how he left the door strategically ajar for just such a move. We saw his political aspirations put this franchise on hold once before. Who's to say his next eclectic endeavor won't place the same neglectful distance between him and the team again?
Enter Billy King.
The man has made a complete and utter mess of Brooklyn's first professional sports franchise since the old Dodgers left town.
The man took Mikhail Prokhorov's vision, and money, and effectively recreated the Washington Generals (while simultaneously helping build Boston's next potential title).
The Nets have now lost seven straight to open the 2015-2016 regular season; Brooklyn's fourth season, and sure to be their worst.
There's something to be said for trending...
- 1st year in BK; 49-33
- 2nd year in BK; 44-38
- 3rd year in BK; 38-44
- 4th year in BK; 0-7 to date.
So far, opponents are outscoring the Nets by an average 103-90 margin, and I fear we have not yet begun to witness the full extent of futility which awaits us.
The Big Three is officially no more. Deron Williams' time here expired with little to show. Meanwhile, we're just seven games into this and Brook Lopez already had his first pedal setback (this, on the heels of new three-year contract). That leaves Joe Johnson as the lone member that provided a representative contribution. But, that's more an indictment than supportive.
But here's the main reason why Billy King no longer deserves serving as general manager of the Nets.
The Flatbush Avenue cagers are in the bottom tier in NBA attendance this season. Of course, we're dealing with a small sample size this early on, but the Nets should nevertheless recognize a foreboding trend.
- 1st season in Brooklyn - 16th in attendance; 94% capacity.
- 2nd season (2013-2014) - 17th in attendance; 95% capacity.
- 3rd season (2014-2015) - 20th in attendance; 94% capacity.
- 4th season (2015-2016) - 25th in attendance; 88% capacity to date.
If anything, Kobe's final appearance in Brooklyn helped inflate Brooklyn's numbers to some extent.
Kobe is not coming back though. So, clearly then, we have a problem.
Ownership better rethink this thing before too many people stop caring.