Flatbush Hoops Snap Three Game Skid
Friday Night Final
BROOKLYN NETS: Coach Hollins Deftly Points Out All The Cracks In Billy King's Castle.
The Nets previous two seasons in Brooklyn have taught us it takes roughly 2 months in order for this team to right itself.
Twenty games into the Lionel Hollins era, the trend is holding true. The question remains however, can they play themselves out of this funk once January arrives?
They entered Friday's action having lost three straight, all by at least 20-point margins.
If you've listened to Lionel Hollins lately (who seemingly took a cue from Phil Jackson), he flatly states the Nets are not a good team (for the moment at least) despite Greg Popovich's recent words of encouragement.
Hollins has been brutally honest when it comes to discussing the team and their shortcomings. While I find it somewhat refreshing, it is at the same time worrisome because that tact quickly wears thin - just ask Avery Johnson.
The man also certainly knows the game, which, combined with his frankness, makes his post-game analysis a fascinating listen.
If anyone should be taking his words to heart, it should be the general manager.
While the Nets were busy Wednesday night losing to the Bulls, their general manager traded Andrei Kirilenko to the Philadelphia 76ers.
Was that the first bottle rocket in what could become a greater fireworks show over Flatbush? Recent scuttlebutt says Billy King is ready to blow up this core group of players, or, is open to the idea.
As Billy King put it before Friday's game against the Sixers, his job is to work the phones.
My question is, when does it become time to protect this team from Billy King himself?
Despite the huge sums of money spent on salary and luxury taxes, for a third consecutive regular season the Nets are failing to distinguish themselves as one of the NBA's top teams, or even within the Eastern Conference, or even within a pathetically weak Atlantic Division.
In what is now a trend, Wednesday's loss to the Bulls made the Nets just 1-8 against teams with a winning record. That's right in line with their previous two seasons. As one series victory in two playoff appearances might also suggest, the Nets have merely been among the best of the rest.
If rumors hold true, then Joe Johnson, Deron Williams, and Brook Lopez, the most expensive trio in the NBA, are on the block.
Joe Johnson perhaps has provided Billy King the most bang for his buck. Deron Williams battled injuries and has largely underachieved since coming to the Nets, while Brook Lopez just can't manage to stay on the floor. Good luck moving those contracts.
In their defense, the much maligned core-3 has been forced to adapt to a continually revolving cast of supporting players and four head coaches in just over two year's time.
Overall, the slow and plodding (and old) teams Billy King has assembled clearly struggle against younger, more athletic teams. They continually get victimized by fast-breaks; they fail to defend the paint; and routinely get outworked on the glass.
Even should Billy Kind ratchet up the trade mill, there's little he can do to replenish all the draft picks he traded away for years to come. So, if the present seems dark, the future doesn't appear much brighter.
If any of this seems in conflict with Friday night's victory over the Sixers, I respectfully remind you, it was the Sixers. Next Wednesday they face the Toronto Raptors; a far greater measure.
To date, however, what's done is done.
In order to endorse Billy King's continuance, we must ignore:
- a severely compromised draft for several years to some.
- salary cap and luxury tax hell.
- per Joe Johnson (paraphrasing), a group of individuals playing selfish ball.
- per Deron Williams (paraphrasing), unlike the Nets, the Bulls have benefited from consistency and continuity with regards to their roster and coaching.
- on that note, four Nets head coaches in less than three seasons.
- two unimpressive playoff appearances.
January is soon coming, maybe then Old Acquaintance be forgot.