Nets Good On Paper And In The Flesh?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Pin the rosters of every team in the Eastern Conference to a wall and arrange them in order, based strictly on the star-power names you see, and the Brooklyn Nets rank among the elite.

That’s the way the Nets’ master plan was designed, for the team to make the transition from New Jersey to Brooklyn with a group that could compete with the likes of the Heat, Celtics, Pacers and other East top-tier members.

As we get closer to the start of training camp, no one is more anxious to see these new-look Nets in action together than the man whose job it is to bring it all together. That’s why coach Avery Johnson‘s impressions of his crew are worth noting right now. During a trip to his old stomping grounds in Dallas, an appearance connected with “Just Say Yes,’’ an organization dedicated to empowering students, parents and educators, Johnson explained to reporters exactly what the Nets had going on the past couple of years.

The extreme franchise makeover started with retaining the services of All-Star point guard Deron Williams, Johnson told Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News, a move that had to happen:

“We’ve been planning this for two years,’’ he said. “We’ve always had our eyes on Brooklyn. We pretty much played the last two years all road games because we didn’t have any type of home court advantage because we were in a temporary building. Now to be at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn with sellouts every night, and our roster has been significantly upgraded, it’s exciting.’’

In addition to keeping Williams, Kris Humphries, Brook Lopez and Gerald Wallace, the Nets also traded for Atlanta’s Joe Johnson in July.

“Deron was a big key to the whole puzzle,’’ Johnson said. “To be able to acquire some other talent through free agency or trades or re-signing some of our own guys, it’s pretty exciting for us. We’re not there yet. We’re not a championship team. We got a lot of work to do. But at the same time, we have a much better talent pool than we’ve had the last two years.

“We’re much more versatile than we’ve ever been. Right now, we look good on paper. Now we got to take it from looking good on paper and apply the work to go (forward).’’

Avery Johnson’s perspective on his team is sobering in this day and age of overnight contenders and super teams. There doesn’t seem to be a hint of overconfidence in his words, an uncommon-but-wise thing with such a risky, high-dollar play.

The Nets should be a contender in the East on the basis of that All-Star backcourt of Williams and Joe Johnson alone. Having a solid first five should put them in the picture with the Celtics and Pacers just behind the Heat in the pecking order.

But again, that’s all on paper. Seeing the Nets operate in the flesh, though, is the only way we’ll get concrete answers to any of the lingering questions about this team.


  1. Heatfan09 says:

    I, as u can see, am a heat fan and even though i think new jersey is up and comin, boston has the best chance to beat my heat. I think maybe after joe, deron, and Gerald mesh they might have a shot at competing with the heat. Although if Derrick rose makes a remarkable recovery in a short amount of time they r the heats only competion. But until then the old clerics r gonna be the only team good enough to make the eastern conference finals and then get STEAMROLLED by Wade and HIS heat. Knicks= waste of time,pacers= soft, Orlando=lost Dwight, Phili= GOOD LUCK WITH BYNUM, Boston= retirement home, Miami = CHAMPIONS

  2. steppx says:

    I see Nets as second. Miami is defending, but the Nets are deep, with the best backcourt in the east. Indiana is soft….Boston OLD, and Knicks I dont buy at all….felton is going to lead you anywhere??? Toronto is much improved and if Rose is healthy mid season then chicago is a threat. Sixers forget it….Bynum is your star? lol. But nets are serious…….i love Shengelia by the way…….but its a big team, its got a great point guard, a terrific wing scorer and enough interior D to really be considered.

    • fanofafan says:

      How is boston OLD???? Kevin Garnett, Pierce and Terry are they only 3 aboves 30 in a roster with 16 people smfh please keep up or shut up

  3. steppx says:

    Id say the Nets have as big an upside as anyone in the east. Obviously Miami is defending champ…Indiana remains top five…..then questions. I have nets third. But i wont be surprised if they win it all. Boston is old, Sixers are banking on a sulky childish big man, and Knicks are a mess. I dont buy NY at all……..ray felton is going to lead you ANYWHERE?? I think toronto is much improved, and a sleeper is out there somewhere……..the bucks, the cavs, and maybe even Atlanta and chicago. But odds are…this is Heat, Pacers and Nets.

  4. Moca says:

    Nets is a very promising team this season.
    They have a good line up, they have a big chance to be in the playoffs this coming season.
    I’m excited to see them play, Deron running the offense, Joe hitting the clutch, Lopez perimeter and inside play, Wallace extreme defense (Blocks and Rebounding), Humpries power play and awkward plays,
    There young guys (bench) should really step up to make this a contender team.
    It’s not impossible for them to beat Heat or Celctics, if they have to execute perfectly the offense and be agressive on defense.
    Thats what makes this team exciting , the possibilities for them to be in the “Finals”.
    Goodluck Brooklyn Nets. Beat the Heat!

  5. vick says:

    @jc is not that j terry is sopuse to take rays plays but remember they had jeff green this year an wilcox an they have couple of rookies they wont beat the heat but they are lock at second best team in the east

  6. King k says:

    Why are people saying that the pacers is an elite team in the east? The 76ers are more likely to have a better playoff spot, but they won’t be contenders this year. They have done nothing to make their team better this offseason. They only thing they managed to do was resign roy hibbert. The nets? They’ll be like the clippers were last year, good team but not a contender this year. Heat will 3peat!

  7. JC says:

    i read the whole thread. It is interesting that the celtics are still #2 for most fans even if they have lost ray allen already. I guess j.terry is expected to perform as good as ray ray.

  8. vern says:

    The Nets will be better but they will still be the Nets everyone knows. The new personnel will make them a little better but I’ll save my judgement until I actually see them play together. Lots of teams have stars on the payroll but they just can’t seem to play together.

  9. ism says:

    Heat, OKC, Lakers = The only teams I’d bet on getting to The Finals right now (with the Lakers still having to prove a lot with their new lineup, but also boasting enough power to win it all).

    I’d love to see Dallas in the picture, too, but it would be a surprise.

    Nets: much promise, but as the writer said I see them in a mix of teams like New York, Boston and Indiana where I can’t really pick any favorites. All I can say is that I am REALLY excited about how this season plays out!

  10. Lady B says:

    I am very excited for the Nets. Avery Johnson is a Great coach with an awesome personality. His work ethic and loyalty is top-notch. The Dallas mavs championship team was his hard work that another coach acquired. God Bless you Coach Johnson

  11. RKSUPDRGNG says:


    1. Heat
    2. Celtics
    3. Nets
    4. Knicks
    5. Sixers
    6. Pacers
    7. Bulls
    8. Bucks
    9. Hawks
    10. Wizards
    11. Cavs
    12. Raptors
    13. Pistons
    14. Bobcats
    15. Magic


    1. Thunder
    2. Lakers
    3. Nuggets
    4. Clippers
    5. Grizzlies
    6. Spurs
    7. Mavs
    8. Timberwolves
    9. Warriors
    10. Jazz
    11. Blazers
    12. Hornets
    13. Kings
    14. Rockets
    15. Suns

  12. Alex says:

    hmm, suddenly lots more nets fans around haha

  13. saveparker says:

    Nets got better and should be a playoff team for sure if they don’t get a ton of injuries, but I don’t see them in the top 4 just yet. Heat/Pacers/Celtics are def top three in whatever order, and I’d say the Sixers have a better shot at the fourth seed, Bynum is a huge upgrade and they have that young core. Bulls are still a toss up because of Rose, but I’d say the Nets should be right there with them, at least til he comes back.

  14. LA-Lakers@Manila says:

    It is definite that LA will win the West and ultimately the 2012-13 Championships and the next 1 to 2 years after.. OKC what? Let us see how LA will crush your OKC man..

  15. Ukyo says:

    As Avery Johnson said, they look good on paper. The thing is plenty of star talent doesn’t win championships by itself, it’s how they play together that makes the difference.

    Also it amazes me how many people are writing The Bulls off for this season. They still have a rock solid team with one of the best coaches in the NBA. (not saying he’s better that Pop or Doc Rivers, but he’s in the top five for sure) Last year they were without Derek Rose for the majority of the season and still ended up the number one seed. With a healthy Rose come playoff time they are an east finals contender for sure.

  16. Nando says:

    The Nets or NYK are gonna upset the Heat… No back to back rings for lbj.. Maybe another mvp,maybe….

  17. Z-Man says:

    My opinnion is that Mirza Teletovic is just to underated. He has awesome fizical abbilitys, and in NBA hes going to pump him self, more.

  18. seito sato says:

    i dont think they are solid as what the writer is thinking about.maybe jay-z is the one who wrote it.
    theyre still the same as last yr.1% improvement.

  19. The Nets starting 5 is as solid on court as it is on paper. I saw them last year when Lopez was healthy, they could have done damage in the playoff, but unfortunately it was not meant to be.

    This year is a totally different story. With the addition of J Johnson and G Wallace, this team can really go deep into the playoffs. If they can get their act together, they might battle the Heat for the East Conference title. They are athletic and they are a tough bruising team.

  20. IJB says:

    I got the East like this;
    1 Heat – 62 W
    2 Celtics – 57 W
    3 Pacers – 54 W
    4 Knicks – 53 W
    5 Sixers – 52 W
    6 Nets – 50 W
    7 Hawks – 44 W
    8 Cavs/Wizards – 41 W

    The Nets finally got firepower, but it’ll take time to mesh. By April, that will happen, and the Nets starting 5 have more offensive talent than Indy, who has no star/go-to player, so they are able to beat the Pacers in 6 or 7. They’ll lose to the Celtics in 5 in the Semis though. If the Nets can keep Williams and Lopez around for years since they’re 28 and 23, they’ll be in a nice team for a long time.

  21. Kamote says:

    I don’t really see Joe Johnson as that type of an elite player you can compare with the likes of Kobe and Wade, probably why the ceiling atlanta had isnt that high. But as a prolific scorer, he’d be one of the best in the league. An all-star, yes, but an elite player who can shape the league, no. That’s why I thought he would be the perfect complement to James while he’s still in Cleveland.

    If the Nets would play along Avery’s system, they really have a shot to become one of the East’s top teams (better than NYK). I just hope Deron wouldnt pull-off something like what he did to Sloan. A reliable big man, a 3pt marksman, and a versatile SG-SF on the bench would definitely be great additions to the team.

  22. TheReal says:

    I wish they would change their logo back or to something else?

  23. D Lion says:

    Expecting the Nets to play at the level of the Heat, Pacers, or Celtics is nothing less than delusional. Remember how big the gap was between the Heat and Pacers was last year? Well, the Heat are not going to get worse and the Pacers are going to get better. As for the Celtics, their combination of proven veterans and energetic young guys will be good enough to hang with the elite teams this season. Is it at all realistic to expect the defensively atrocious Nets to attain THAT level of play in their FIRST year together?

    The last team to get a major overhaul and go from a bottom-feeder to a playoff team was the Clippers. They saw dramatic results in their first year with CP3, but they also acquired Chauncey Billups and Nick Young that season, and they had just acquired Mo Williams the season before. But did the Clippers attain true “contender” status in CP3’s debut season in LA? I think not. As good as they were, they had obvious flaws and they came well short of the Thunder and Spurs in preformance and in the standings. Yes, they held their own in the rugged West and outshone the mid-range teams like Memphis and Denver, but they did not achieve truly elite status.

    There is no reason the Nets will do better. Sure, they may somehow be able to sneak into the 4 seed if they can get past the 76ers and Bulls, but that would most likely be a testament to the lack of tough competition rather than the Nets’ overwhelming talent. After Miami, Boston, and Indiana, the talent in the East drops considerably. The 76ers, Bulls, Nets, Knicks, maybe Bucks, and maybe Hawks will all be scrambling for playoff seeding, and whoever comes out on top will snag the 4 seed. But that only means they were able to beat the teams below them; it doesn’t automatically place them among the elite teams in the East.

    If the Nets did soar above the other afore-mentioned teams and start crossing paths with the Celtics and Pacers, it would be a different story. But those teams have had several years together to polish, if not perfect, their team chemistry. the nets were basically thrown together this summer. The Nets are going to need some time to get a feel for themselves before they become dangerous. Sure, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson is a great combo, but saying that “The Nets should be a contender in the East on the basis of that All-Star backcourt of Williams and Joe Johnson alone” is a stretch. By that reasoning, the Knicks should be a contender in the East on the basis of their dynamic frontcourt of Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Tyson Chandler. But the Knicks are nothing close to a contender, even though they are loaded with talent. Talent is no good if it can’t be utilized, as the Heat showed the Knicks this year in the playoffs. This is not to say that the Nets will not form team chemistry, and it is safe to say that the Nets will be good enough to make the playoffs. But to put the new-look Nets in contention for top dog in the East before having even seen them step onto their shiny new court is a real reach.

    Will the Nets improve over last year? Definitely.

    Will the Nets be the most improved team in the East? Most Likely.

    Are the Nets true contenders yet? Not by a long shot. Unless a team acquires LBJ and Bosh in the offseason, trying to become a contender in one leap is setting the bar a little too high.

    Nets in the 6 seed in 2013.

    • Bruce says:

      I liked your post up until this point: ” Are the Nets true contenders yet? Not by a long shot. Unless a team acquires LBJ and Bosh in the offseason, trying to become a contender in one leap is setting the bar a little too high.”

      When LBJ and Bosh joined the Heat, they weren’t instant contenders…

      But I suppose you can’t write a piece without letting your own bias geting mixed in it.

  24. elmo20 says:

    before any team can be called elite, they should have at least a chance to go even in a 7 game series against miami heat

  25. tyrone says:

    Here’s my prediction for the East seedings: 1. Miami 2.Boston 3.Indiana 4.Sixers 5.Knicks 6. Nets 7. Chicago 8.Wizards or Raptors? The East’s 4-6
    The West seedings: 1.OKC or LA 2. LA or OKC 3. SA 4. LAC 5. DEN 6. DAL 7.UTA 8. MIN
    Please do not criticize me cause I’m not too sure about the 4-6 seedings for both conf. But these teams I guess will be in playoffs most likely.

    • Milz says:

      I agree mostly but for some reason I’m really not sold on IND…they did all that hype ish for 66 games…i wanna see it in a full season

  26. tyrone says:

    They’re going to take a while to build up the chemistry since there’s been a lot of new faces for the nets. They would probably take the 4-6 seed by playoff time. I would see them most likely losing in semi maybe first round depending on how season goes for the other east teams. But the big question is Brook Lopez, can he stay healthy for a whole 82 game season. But of course that’s why wallace and Humphries is there for and there rookie T.

  27. Kuljo says:

    We got Blatche! Try to stop the frontcourt and backcourt offense of the 1st unit and 2nd unit!

  28. PUkingINAmoGagO says:

    MIAMI HEAT will be the champion for the next 10 years

  29. danito says:

    i dont see the nets an elite team, maybe a playoff team at the most, u got heat,boston , chicago, indiana, sixers,newyork.they come behind all these teams. and i dont see d williams as a super star or a franchise players that get u a championship. but they can get to the playoff now. if they added howard they would made them a contender

    • larry oconnor says:

      absolutely right!

    • Nick says:

      Do you consider Carmelo Anthony as a super star or franchise player? Because I guarantee you swap Deron Williams for Melo and the Knicks are ALOT better whilst the nets become alot worse.

    • Mark. NYC says:

      Please take Bulls out the mix. Bulls lost so many players,coupled with the fact Rose wont be back till March. Then he needs about a month or two to get right. Brewer, Asik,Korver and watson GONE=Lottery. Bucks or maybe even Cavs taking their spot

    • MarkpatrickMcad says:

      You don’t know anything about basketball if you don’t consider Deron Wiiliams to be a franchise player.

  30. Belizeboy says:

    Well they may not be title contenders, but they are going to make the playoffs without a doubt (barring any injury to the stars). Also I just want to see Joe Johnson play to his full potential because he seems like he’s just kind of trying whenever I watch him play.

  31. SYDALE says:

    Damn… I forgot about the Knicks… that changes things… If the Knicks can get THEIR act together… they should finish 2nd or 3rd… which will make the Nets fall to 5th… Boston won’t give up that 4th seed…

  32. SYDALE says:

    They’ll finish 3rd in the East… behind the Pacers and ahead of the Celtics… The Celtics aren’t as strong as their fans believe they are… but they are good enough to stay within the top 4 seeding…

  33. Amused says:

    Love how this article tries to nudge the Nets into “contender status” with the Heat, Celtics, and Pacers, when the main team the Nets will have to get through first will most likely be the Knicks.

  34. Mopi says:

    The Nets aren’t “just adding” JJ. Lopez is back too. Teletovic is lighting it up. Wallace will be given a chance to gel. Marshon showed some nice things in year 1 that he can build on.
    All of those were not factors last season. Add that to the fact that Deron is better suited to be distributor than lead scorer, and there is a lot to talk about for Net fans.

  35. Joe Johnson Fan says:

    I have missed very few J.J. games over the last several years and this man can flat out BALL. He is a VERY good defensive player. Two years ago he guarded D. Rose to end the games and took the ball from him to win one of the games. He has put the team on his back and taken OVER. It IS a revamped team. Lopez played only 5 games, and Wallace came over mid season on a shorted season at that. So that’s three new starters basically.

    I have them number 2 in the east.

    • larry oconnor says:

      Thay are goind to take a while to gel. They will probably make the playoffs barely.

      • chigchig says:

        how barely? magic sure to drop out and ATL are going to take a tumble dow nthe ladder (im an ATL fan, i still hoping they can make the 8) but the bulls arent going to be that great until rose gets back.. but they wont be top 4 this year.. the Cs are the 2nd best but they wont show that in the season so there only gonna be around the 4-5 mark.

        I have the heat, pacers, nets, boston, sixers, knicks, bulls, hawks (maybe swap with bucks or wiz)

  36. Rafael Mijolary says:

    We gonna make a splash!! #HELLOBROOKLYN

  37. nba fan says:

    Nets are good no doubt about it but can they compete against the east top 2 teams Miami and Boston we shall see

  38. Dean says:

    Huge Nets fan myself, the biggest factor to them being successful this year is whether or not Brook Lopez can stay healthy. I’d like to see another big guy added to the roster though, they could use some more strength down low.

  39. M-MAN says:

    I think they could be better then the pacers

  40. Manu says:

    Who exactly are these ‘stars’? Writers have been falling over themselves trying to portray Williams, Johnson, Wallace and Lopez and a ‘big four’ but in reality only Williams and Johnson are stars by any stretch of the imagination.

    • larry oconnor says:

      AGREED! Heat – Celtics – Pacers – Bulls – top 4. Then Knicks -Sixers -Nets – Bucks make the playoffs.
      Hawks are alternate. Round out the east with Raptors – Pistons – Cavs. The bottom feeders are:
      Wizards – Bobcats – Magic.

      • j- smooth says:

        the bulls wont make it without rose.

      • Bruce says:

        Rose is back halfway into the 2012-2013 season… You need to keep up, man…

  41. john says:

    The Nets have a good team and this will be the first regular season with new players along with everybody being healthy, to test how good this team really is. The combo on Brook Lopez and Kris Humpheries is much strong than having Dwight Howard offensivley and Defensively. Nets have a solid “5” with young guys and have a much explosive team than the Lakers. The Lakers will get swept by the Nets in the regular season!!!!!

  42. Poponodeau says:

    I stopped reading at “extreme franchise MAKEOVER”. You serious? It’s just the same team with one significant addition in the name of Johnson. Though you might be right that this team might make it behind those teams mentioned as how weak the other East teams are.

  43. G.Dragon says:

    I see Nets as first round exit vs Sixers.

  44. DG88 says:

    The thing with the Nets is how well will they play defensively. They were for the majority of last season the worst defensive team. They retained their starting lineup with the addition of Joe Johnson. Lopez is not a good defender or rebounder, Johnson is average at best and Williams is that great either. Wallace and Humphries are the best defenders they have in the starting 5 and that won’t be enough to overcome the challenges this team will face defensively. Offensively they should be fine with Lopez, Williams and Johnson doing most of the scoring. This team still needs time to mesh and they should get a better feel for each other by December. I don’t see them being a top 4 team in the East but should be in the mix from 6-8 if things work out for them this year.

    • NBEATZ says:

      Lopez is not a good defender, your right, but he has shown that he can rebound,in his first two NBA seasons, he went out for 8.1 and 8.6, he has and can put up 20PPG,so if he gets his rebounds up, with Humpries bringing down his usual 10-11RPG, they should be fin, not to mention Wallace is one of the best SF rebounders out there Behind LB and Durant. He is also one of the best SF defenders in the leaque, one year he averaged 2 BPG! Also they have Reggie Evans, a very good defender who can play C or PF, not to mention he is also one of the best PER MIN rebounders in the game. They are set up front. As for the back court you have Williams taking up around 35MIN with his 17-20PPG and 8-10 APG all watson has to do as his back up is play solid witch he did playing behind Derek Rose, so were good at the 1. Now the two, yes he is paid crazy amounts, BUT he does hit thoes shots when needed, and he can go off and score in bunches, he is a good defender and should hit thoes open 3’s, he can play againts smaller 3’s aswell, Johnson shouls not dissapoint,I could see 14-17PPG he should get easier shots at the 3 and he should fit in just fine as he does not demand the ball
      The Bench is OK at best. With Reggie taking most of the back up C and PF minutes, the other Backup, who ever they choose should have to do much but defend and hit an open J. Watson can scoreif needed, Marshon Brooks should compete for the 6th man this year averaging minutes behind both Wallace and Johnson, Dont sleep on Stackhouseas he can still hit thoes open jumers. 1 – 8
      1) Heat
      3)Phili (Bynum should be a beast, 25+PPG 12+RPG 2+BPG 2+APG 1+SPG)
      7)Atlanta (They do have one of the best starting Centers and PF’s in the leaque)

      • kb24 says:

        Do you really think that Atlanta is going to be in the playoffs???u r funny man…..Horford one of the best Center in the NBA??hahahaha…u r funny man…..Howard,Bynum,Hibbert,Noah,Chandler….Are u serious???haha…..And Smith is an all-star and he is great…but not better than love,amare,Bosh, not even better than Duncan,Notwiski or Granett…and those 3 mention before are pretty old.. Do not get me wrong Horford is good and Smith is great and They are really agressive but none of them can take a team to a playoff….Chicago has a better team even without Drose…and actually he should be back by the half of the season…and you Atlanta in Number 7 and chicago number 8…You are crazy man.

      • Bodi says:

        I stopped reading after you said Brook Lopez is a good rebounder. This is the Brook loepz that averaged 6 boards a game 2 seasons ago, and although he only played 5 games, just shy of 4 a game last season. His best was his rookie year at 8.6 which is decent but not “good” for a starting center that averages 36 mins per game. This is the same Brook Lopez that had his coach repeatedly scream at him (according to news reports) about being more aggressive on the boards.

        No, he is not a “good” rebounder. At his best he was average for a 7 footer.

      • dontworryaboutmyname says:

        Do you really have the Celtics at #5? Sure they’re old but they got what it takes to be in the top 3 if not 2nd in the east. Also wanted to point out that point guards these days run the show and Williams is supposedly in the top 5. A good point guard would have his team winning more than just a third of their games but now he finally has a team that will get him in the playoffs again. Call me a hater but I just think he is too overhyped

  45. dust says:

    Nets are probably gonna be 4th and will probably be knocked out in the semis to the Heat, even though I am a HUGE NETS FAN!