The Brooklyn Nets 2013-2014 season has been a debacle in every sense of the word. The Nets are 10-20, 2nd to last in the Atlantic Division, and the teams best player Brook Lopez is out for the rest of the season with a broken foot.
Despite every bad thing that has happened in Brooklyn, the Nets are still very much in the playoff conversation. Brooklyn sits just 3 games behind the Boston Celtics for the 8th spot in the East, and 4 games behind the Raptors for the Atlantic Division lead.
If the Nets keep this level of play up, there won’t be any playoffs.
There are clearly a wide range of problems with this Nets team that include Brook Lopez breaking his foot for the 3rd time since December of 2011, the teams inability to rebound the basketball, and a roster that resembles more of something one would see at an NBA retirement home.
Brook Lopez has a knack for getting hurt at the most inconvenient times. He broke his foot right in the middle of the Nets pursuit of Dwight Howard in 2011 and into 2012.
If Lopez doesn’t get hurt in 2011, Magic GM Rob Hennigan may have had a greater desire to pull the trigger on a deal that would have sent Howard to Brooklyn.
Brook Lopez was also the Nets biggest advantage over the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat. He had the ability to contain Indiana’s most dangerous weapon in Roy Hibbert, and there is no one on the Heat that can guard Lopez. That advantage is now gone.
The Nets could certainly use Howard right about now. Howard is currently 2nd in the NBA averaging 13.4 rebounds per game, and it’s rebounding that has been the achilles heel for Brooklyn this season.
The Nets rank 28th in rebounding, and have been out-rebounded in 18 of the teams 30 games. In those games, the Nets are 2-16. During those rare occasions when the Nets win the rebounding battle, they’re 8-4. Aside from wins and losses, the fact the Nets can’t rebound has led to the team ranking 31st in field goal attempts per game. If you take more shots, you’re going to score more points, and the Nets take the 2nd fewest shots per game in the NBA.
The Nets are the 2nd oldest team in the NBA, and are also one of the slowest. Brooklyn ranks 31st scoring 8.8 fast break points per game. That has forced the Nets to run a half-court offense leading to a heavy reliance on low percentage jump shots. No basket comes easy for this Nets team.
With Lopez out, that’s meant the 37-year-old Kevin Garnett moves from the power forward, to the center spot, and Mirza Teletovic is now in the starting rotation at the four. Garnett is on a minutes limit and can’t be relied upon to pick up the slack. Teletovic can shoot, but can’t rebound or play defense.
Onto Paul Pierce who has done more complaining that anything else this year, and Joe Johnson who is probably the best hide and seek player in the league. Johnson hides for large portions of games, and only comes out at certain times.
Then there’s Deron Williams, and even he can’t pull a Houdini act with this team. Williams is averaging just 12.7 points per game and is really going to have to elevate his play significantly if the Nets want to remain competitive.
Assuming the Nets continue losing, someone’s going to have to pay the price, and that person is looking like General Manager Billy King, not Jason Kidd. Owner Mikhail Prokorhov has poured millions upon millions of dollars into this team, and Billy King traded away the future of the team to win THIS year, and the roster King has put together is not getting the job done.
There are two ways the Nets can go with this team. They can either ride it out with the current roster and hope this thing gets turned around, or give up by trading Pierce and Garnett to contenders in return for valuable pieces.
No matter what happens, the Nets gambled by going all in on the 2013-2014 season, and so far, they’ve lost.